Posts tagged childrens fiction

Author of the Week – Cornelia Funke

Author of the Week is a new feature on the Christchurch Kids Blog.  It’s where we’ll introduce you to some great authors whose books you’ll find in our libraries.  If you love the featured author and have read some of the books, we’d love to hear what you think.

Each of the author profiles comes from one of our really cool databases, called Novelist.  If you’re looking for some new books or authors you should really check it out.  This week’s author is Cornelia Funke.

Cornelia Funke’s books for older kids often pit brave heroes, whether dragon or human, against menacing villains and overwhelming problems in fast-moving, adventure-filled fantasies lightened with touches of humor. Her specific detailing leads to strong settings that let readers escape into intricate worlds inhabited by unique, complex characters where magic and mystery mingle. Funke’s storytelling excels, with twists and surprises, elegant turns of phrase, elaborate plots and emotion-driven, precarious situations that propel readers through lengthy fantasy novels.

Inkheart (and the sequels Inkspell and Inkdeath)

Mo, a gentle bookbinder with an extraordinary secret, and his daughter Meggie love books, yet he has not read aloud to her since her mother disappeared years ago. After a mysterious stranger visits them, Mo tells Meggie they must go into hiding. But why? – and from whom?

Ghost Knight

Eleven-year-old Jon Whitcroft and new friend Ella summon the ghost of Sir William Longspee, who may be able to protect Jon from a group of ghosts that threatens him harm from the day he arrives at Salisbury Cathedral’s boarding school. Includes historical notes.

Igraine the Brave

Igraine, who turns twelve tomorrow, dreams of becoming a famous knight. But today, like most days, life at the family castle remains . . . rather boring. Until the nefarious nephew of the baroness-next-door shows up. Greedy Osmund’s got a dastardly plan to capture Pimpernel Castle and steal the singing.

The Thief Lord

Prosper and Bo are orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle. The brothers decide to hide out in Venice, where they meet a mysterious thirteen-year-old who calls himself the “Thief Lord.” Brilliant and charismatic, the Thief Lord leads a ring of street children who dabble in petty crimes. Prosper and Bo delight in being part of this colorful new family. But the Thief Lord has secrets of his own. Soon the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion.

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House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

Chris Coloumbus is the writer and director of some of my favourite movies, including Gremlins, The Goonies and Home Alone.  He’s a gifted storyteller for the screen who has now delved into the world of children’s books.  His first children’s book is House of Secrets, co-written by Ned Vizzini, and I was interested to see if his books were just as good as his movies.

A secret history… A mysterious family legacy… Dark magic of untold power… And three kids who will risk everything to bring a family back together. The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games … But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family’s secret history and save their parents … and maybe even the world.

House of Secrets is an action-packed blockbuster of a book about three children who are transported into the world of fiction.  There’s something in this story to appeal to all kids – adventure, mystery, magic, witches, giants, warriors, pirates, and fictional characters coming to life. Most readers have wanted to actually be in the world of a story at some stage, and this is exactly what happens to Cordelia, Brendan and Eleanor (even if it was the last thing they wanted).

Chris and Ned have said that the story was originally going to be a screenplay for a movie, but they thought it would be too expensive to make so they adapted it into a book.  I thought this came through quite clearly as the story really reads like it should be a movie.  It’s quite fast-paced and there is lots of action so it will definitely keep kids’ attention.  I can see why it would have cost so much to make this story into a movie, because it’s quite epic and there would be huge special effects involved.  The house that the children find themselves transported in is much like the Tardis (‘it’s bigger on the inside’), with lots of hidden passageways, and it gets battered about by witches, giants and pirates.  There are many different fictional worlds, filled with different creatures and characters.

The plot races along right to the end and leaves the story hanging for the next book in the series.  I’ll be looking forward to discovering what comes next for the Walker children.

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Congratulations to the 2013 Caldecott and Newbery Medal winners!

It was an exciting time earlier this morning in the US when the winners of the 2013 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced.  The Youth Media Awards include the prestigious Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal and the Printz Award.

Congratulations to all the winners!  I think it’s the first time that I’ve read and loved the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medal so I’m very pleased that they won.  Here are the winners and honour books:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

There were three Newbery Honour Books announced too:

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

This Is Not My Hat
  
There were five Caldecott Newbery Honour Books announced too:
  • Creepy Carrots! illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds
  • Extra Yarn illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
  • Green illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • One Cool Friend illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo
  • Sleep Like a Tiger illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue
 

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan is a really great book.  

It’s about a gorilla called Ivan who lives in a shopping mall with an elephant called Stella, a stray dog called Bob and a man called Mack.  They are a circus.

Ivan used to be a famous attraction, but after a few years he was forgotten and only the new people in town are interested in him.

Ivan doesn’t think very much about his old life in the jungle and he has accepted he will spend the rest of his life in his cage.  But then a new elephant comes to live with the animals and helps Ivan realise that there is a better life out there.  It is up to Ivan to find a way out for all of them.

I don’t want to give too much away, the book does have some sad bits in it, but ends happily.  I’m sure you will love it just like I did!

By Amy, 10.

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Love the Olympics? Try these sporty reads

If you’re a sporty person you’re probably in heaven right now with all the Olympic Games coverage on TV.  There are heaps of different types of sport to watch, from swimming and rowing, to gymnastics and athletics. 

We have heaps of sporty books in the library for you to enjoy.  Why not try these:

We also have a great page all about the Olympics, where you can find out about Canterbury Olympic Athletes and visit some interesting websites with information about the Olympic Games.

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Skellig by David Almond

PictureAbout

Michael was looking forward to moving house. It was all going to be wonderful. But now his baby sister is ill. His parents are frantic and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage…

What is this thing beneath the spiders webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never seen before? The only person Michael can confinde in is Mina. Together they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael’s world changes forever…

My Review

My favourite part was when Mina took Michael into the old house she inherited from her grandfather, up to the attic to show him the family of Tawny Owls living there. I thought this part was awesome because I think it’s amazing to see such graceful and wise creatures flying. I look up at birds and I envy them. To see Tawny Owls flying over a darkened city would be amazing. My favourite character would probably be Mina. She is smart and has a real sense of the world that I think no one else has.

I liked the way David Almond writes. His style is different from other authors and that shows clearly in his books. That is what makes Skelling so good. I enjoyed it how when you started the book, it seemed pretty regluar, until the unique twist came along soon after you started, which envolves **cough, cough** Skellig.

I LOVED absolutely everything! This book is awesome. The way David Almond wrote this puts a new perspective on the world. And that’s what I love about the book – this book is for anyone who wants a new perspective of the world.

The age-level would probably be 10+, seeing as younger kids might not understand. I would give this book a 9/10. But, BEFORE you read it, read the first book, My Name Is Mina.

By Ginnie from the Queenspark School Noses in Books group

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The 13th Horseman Launch Party

On Friday at Shirley Library we hosted the New Zealand launch of Barry Hutchison’s The 13th Horseman.  We had some giveaways, a feast fit for a Horseman of the Apocalypse, and some special launch videos from Barry in Scotland.

If you weren’t able to get to the launch on Friday you can still join in the fun here and find out about this awesome book.  Barry made 3 videos especially for his readers in NZ, in which he introduces The 13th Horseman, reads from the book, and answers some questions.  Come on in and join the party!

Barry introduces The 13th Horseman

Barry reads an excerpt from The 13th Horseman

Barry answers some questions about The 13th Horseman

Thanks so much for the great videos Barry!

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The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison

Drake is surprised to find three Horsemen of the Apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed.  Even more surprisingly, they’re missing a Horseman and think that Drake is the boy for the job.  Drake is reluctant to join them, but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

From the wastelands of oblivion to the desolate plains of Limbo – join the Horsemen of the Apocalypse on a wild and hilarious ride…

The 13th Horseman is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  The laughs don’t come from toilet humour, but from the actions (or inaction) of the three long serving Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  There’s Pestilence who’s dressed like a doctor with a white coat and rubber gloves (to protect the humans, not himself), the red-haired giant, War, with a temper to match his stature, and my favourite, Famine, who is absolutely huge, with massive rolls of fat all over his body (which provide great places to store food for later).  When Drake first meets them, they’ve been playing board games for thousands of years and are completely bored.  They all seem to be totally incompetent and can’t even organise themselves to do the job they’re there for – usher in the Apocalypse.  They all have a horse to ride across the sky, apart from Famine who has a mobility scooter (so that he doesn’t squash a horse).  Each of the Horsemen has their own quirks but my favourite is definitely Famine, because no matter when you look at him, he’s always eating something.

Thankfully, The 13th Horseman is only the first book in the Afterworlds series and the sequel, The Lost Book of Everything is due out in 2013.  If you haven’t read any of Barry Hutchison’s books yet, The 13th Horseman is a good place to start.

Recommended for 10+       5 out of 5 stars

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New Zealand’s ‘devils of the night’ – the giant weta

cristy burne and headsHi! I’m Cristy Burne, author of the Takeshita Demons books and Star Author for July.

July is nearly over, so don’t forget to enter our Make a Monster competition and win a copy of Takeshita Demons! We’ve had some awesome entries so far!

As some of you already know, I love writing about monsters and crazy, spooky things.

Well, some of the craziest, spookiest things are not imagined in books or stories. They’re real!

A great example — and a spooky creature I  love — is New Zealand’s giant weta.

What a weta!

Giant weta have been around for about 190 million years, and they look like it too. The giant weta on Little Barrier Island, off the coast of New Zealand, are known as ‘devils of the night’.

Their Maori name, ‘Wetapunga’, translates to ‘god of ugly things’.

Here are some cool facts about weta:

– Giant weta are orthopteran insects of the family Anostostomatidae. They look like wingless, leggy grasshoppers, and their bodies alone can reach around 8cm in length.

– They can weigh more than 70 grams, or about three times the weight of a house mouse.

– Many giant weta are not really so giant, and smaller species such as the Nelson Alpine Weta tip the scales at a not-very-scary average of 7 grams.

– Wetas are more likely to dine on treetop leaves than small children. They’re too heavy to jump, have no wings, and are slow to get around, making vegetarian cuisine the more affordable menu option.

– In a fight, wetas are sadly ill equipped, with only their spiky back legs and devastating bad looks for defence. Some will even roll over and play dead in an attempt to trick would-be predators.

– New Zealand’s new predators — the rats, cats, stoats and hedgehogs — often find that giant wetas make a decent-sized snack. This means giant weta populations are dwindling, and where Wetapunga were once common in the north of the North Island, they are now found only on Little Barrier Island, off the coast of Auckland.

– One weta species, the Mahoenui, returned from mainland extinction when it was discovered in 1962 hiding out in some gorse bushes in the North Island; the spikes of the introduced gorse had kept hungry hunters at bay. This weta weed patch has since been declared a protected area, and more than 200 endangered weta have been relocated to Mahurangi Island, in the hope of baby wetas on the way.



Aren’t weta awesome?

I find when I am having trouble thinking of something to write about, I can find inspiration in real life and amazing science. There are always strange things happening in the real world.

Where do you get your writing inspiration?

Anyone ever written a story about a giant weta?

If you want extra weta inspiration, you can get more weta-riffic facts from NZ’s Department of Conservation.

Happy writing and reading!

Cristy


Cristy Burne
Author of the Takeshita Demons series

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BEWARE: 8 spooky Japanese proverbs – Cristy Burne

A great place to find superstition is in proverbs. Here are a few you may recognise:

Step on a crack, marry a rat
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Cross my heart and hope to die
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight

Let’s check out some awesome Japanese proverbs.
(and don’t forget to enter our Make-a-monster Competition: invent a demon and win a prize!)

1) If you give a boy’s name to a girl, or a girl’s name to a boy, they will grow up healthy and strong
You may wonder why your parents gave you such a weird name. Well, maybe this is the reason? Switching boys’ and girls’ names is a way to confuse (and hopefully avoid) the demons who bring disease and bad luck.

Lined sole fish

Do you want to look like this?

2) If you scowl at your parents, you will turn into a sole.
You know the old saying “If you make a face, the wind will change and you’ll be stuck that way”? Well, this is the Japanese equivalent. Basically, it’s a warning to be nice to your mum and dad. Because if you don’t, you’ll turn into a flat fish with both eyes on one side of your face. (Don’t worry: you will still taste good served with chips!)

3) When a weasel cuts across your path, he will bewitch you if you don’t throw a stone at him.
In Japanese culture, animals like weasels, foxes and badgers are known to have magical powers over humans, including the ability to shape-change, and they love to trick you out of your money. Throwing a stone is a quick, easy way to make sure you stay safe.

4) If you put spit in your eyebrows, the fox will not bewitch you.
Here’s another simple way to stay safe from demon foxes: simply spit into your own eyebrows and mix well. (This belief comes from the idea that saliva is powerful and can help your eyes to see the truth behind magical  spells)

5) If you kill a cat, it will haunt you and your family for seven generations.
Yikes! Better be nice to your cat! In Japan, cats who grow very fat and very old are also thought to turn into giant, man-eating cat demons. So your only hope for survival is to own a dog instead. 🙂

6) If your sandal strap breaks, evil is heading your way
This is a great reason to check your shoes and shoelaces before you head out on a dangerous mission. (If you’ve read The Filth Licker, you now know the secret double meaning behind Cait’s broken shoelace…)

7) If you pick up a comb, you will pick up suffering.
This superstition comes about because the Japanese word for comb is “kushi”, which is made up of two sounds: “ku” (the Japanese word for “suffering”), and “shi” (the Japanese word for “death”). So, instead of bending straight down to pick up your dropped comb, it’s better to stand on it first. Standing on the dropped comb drives out any evil spirits that are in it, making it safe to pick up. Phew!

8 ) A person who uses red things will only suffer a light case of smallpox

Takeshita Demons cover

Carry this lovely RED book at all times, if you want to stay safe!

This proverb was around before the smallpox disease was eradicated thanks to vaccination, but it shows clearly that red was a colour of protection in Japan. Why red? It’s the colour of flushed, healthy cheeks. It’s the colour of warmth and cheerfulness. And it’s also the colour that many sick people wore in old Japan, to protect themselves from disease. (Red is also the colour of the first Takeshita Demons book…no coincidence there! Miku needs all the help she can get!)

What do you think?
Do you know any spooky or strange proverbs or superstitions?
Would you walk under a ladder?
Go out on Friday 13?

What would you do with a 4-leaf clover?
Do you believe in superstitions?

Let me know in the comments (and watch out for shape-changing foxes and cats!)
And….don’t forget to enter our Make-a-monster Competition: invent a demon and win a prize!

Happy writing and reading!

Cristy


Cristy Burne
Author of the Takeshita Demons series

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Check out my blog
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Introducing Cristy Burne: Star Author for July

cristy burne and headsHi! I’m Cristy Burne, author of the Takeshita Demons books and Star Author for July. Nice to eat you!

I was born in Tauranga, but now I live in Australia (my dad is from New Zealand and my mum is from Australia so we moved to Australia when I was 13).

Below I’ve answered my Top 5 questions to myself. Since it’s a bit sad to interview yourself, please ask me your own questions by commenting at the bottom of this post: I’d love to answer them for you.

But for now…

My Top 5 interview questions for me : Cristy Burne

1) Why did you become a writer?
Because I love making stuff up. When I’m writing, I can do whatever I like. I can introduce new characters, kill off old characters, make something really terrible happen to my favourite characters and then rescue them again. It’s like having a videogame inside your head. It’s like being the director of your own movie. There is seriously nothing cooler than inventing a whole pile of stuff and seeing it come to life.

2) Do you like reading?
Yes! When I’m reading, I can do anything. I can slay dragons, fight aliens, climb mountains, win races, explore new countries, fall in love… I can get inside someone else’s head and have an idea of what it feels like to be them. So yes, I love love love reading, especially in bed at night, when everything else is quiet and it’s just me and my book and the adventure.

3) How many books have you written?
Takeshita Demons and The Filth LickerTakeshita Demons was my first published. Before Takeshita Demons I wrote heaps of other things: articles, short stories, diaries, poems, riddles…plus three other books that have never been published because they’re hidden in my bottom drawer.

There are at least three books in the Takeshita Demons series: Takeshita Demons, The Filth Licker (out now!) and Monster Matsuri (out next year!). I’m writing the next Takeshita Demons book right now!….

4) Has Takeshita Demons won any prizes?
Yes (and thank you for asking ;-)). Takeshita Demons won the 2009 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award. This prize is awarded to a story that features a character or a culture whose voice might not otherwise be heard. In the case of Takeshita Demons, that’s the voice of Miku Takeshita, the star of the story. Miku is a Japanese girl who has moved with her family to live in England. She and her best friend Cait end up having to break into their school in the middle of a snowstorm to fight a headless demon who’s pretending to be their supply teacher. Spooky!

5) Is it true that you’re incredibly good-looking and intelligent?
Well, I don’t like to comment on that (blush).  But thank you for asking. 😉

(So, as you can see, when you’re writing you can make up whatever you like! It’s fabulous fun.)

And don’t forget…if you have any other questions, put them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Happy writing and reading!
And…don’t forget to enter our Make-a-monster Competition: invent a demon and win a prize!

Cristy


Cristy Burne
Author of the Takeshita Demons series

Follow me on Twitter
Check out my blog
Like The Filth Licker on Facebook!

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The Floods by Colin Thompson

The Floods aren’t like other families.  For a start, they are all witches and wizards.

Mordonna and Nerlin are the mum and dad, and they have 7 children – 4 boys, 2 girls and another one they aren’t sure about – if it’s a boy or a girl.

I like these books because they are scary but not too scary, and they are funny.

These books would be good for people who like scary, funny tales with magic!

By Amy.

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Get your hands on Pocket Money Puffins

As part of their 70th Birthday celebrations, Puffin books have released 10 bite-sized books by your favourite authors, called Pocket Money Puffins.  There are some really funny, exciting, and action-packed stories by authors like Jeremy Strong, Cathy Cassidy and Charlie Higson.   Here’s just a few of the wonderful stories you could read:

  • Spotty Powder and other Splendiferous Secrets is chock full of fascinating facts about Roald Dahl as well as an original chapter from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 
  • In Charlie Higson’s Monstroso, Oscar gets more than he bargained for when he creates warrior on his dad’s computer that comes to life, ready to wreak havoc. 
  • Meg Rosoff’s Vamoose is the hilarious story of Jess who has just had a baby…a baby moose that is!  Moosie is a lovable wee guy but he’s a lot of trouble. He destroys their house and breaks several bones of their bones with his hooves and his toilet habits create some embarrassing situations.  With Moosie growing and aging faster than normal children, Jess must come up with a solution that will make everyone happy.

Also check out the other Pocket Money Puffin titles:

                                   

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What would you do with 20 billion dollars?

Cover imageWhat would you do if you inherited 20 billion dollars?  This is exactly what Gerald has to decide when he inherits a fortune from his great-aunt, in Richard Newsome’s exciting, roller-coaster ride of a book, The Billionaire’s Curse.  When Gerald’s great-aunt Geraldine dies suddenly, his family jumps on a private jet and races over to England for the funeral and the all-important reading of her will.  Gerald’s great-aunt leaves him her entire fortune, including houses, cars, her butler and lots and lots of cash.  As if he didn’t have enough to worry about with all that money, Gerald discovers Geraldine was murdered and a very valuable diamond has been stolen from the British Museum.  The two crimes are linked and it’s up to Gerald and his new friends to uncover the truth.  With villains around every corner, who can Gerald trust?

The Billionaire’s Curse is a fast-paced, mystery story with lots of action, creepy characters, booby traps, and close shaves with death.  It’s also the first book in The Billionaire Trilogy so watch out for book 2, The Emerald Casket, in the library soon. Perfect for 11+

9/10

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Deeper Than Blue

This book is about a girl named Amy. She’s a champion swimmer.  But can she survive in a world where the water is deeper than blue?

By Saskia

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Watch out for the Candle Man!

Search the catalogue for Candle Man by Glenn DakinImagine that you have been kept hidden away from the world for most of your young life, in a mansion with only three people for company.  There is your mysterious master Dr. Saint, your butler Mr. Nicely and your deaf maid Clarice, but these are the only people you have ever met.    The only times that you have been let outside have been your birthdays and even then someone is always watching you so that you can’t go far.  You can only read certain books, eat certain foods, and can only drink water, because anything else is too stimulating for you.  This is exactly how Theo has lived his life so far when we first meet him at the start of a mysterious new book called Candle Man by Glenn Dakin.

Theo’s life is turned upside down when a group of burglars break into his home, Empire Hall, one night and Theo discovers that he has a terrible power coursing through his body.  Thanks to a mysterious group of strangers who break Theo out of his imprisonment he learns of his ties to the legendary figure of the Candle Man and the destiny that awaits him.

If you like books with a bit of mystery, some superheroes and creepy villains, weird creatures, and people melting like wax then this book is for you.  The good news is that Candle Man is the start of a new series so we can expect to see more of Theo and his friends.  Have a look at Glenn Dakin’s awesome website here.  7/10

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Who is your favourite book character?

Is it Harry Potter, Willy WonkaHiccup Horrendous Haddock III, Percy Jackson or Zac Power?  There are so many fantastic characters that we remember from our favourite books.  Some of them make us laugh and some of them make us want to hide under the bed.  Some of them save the world, while others are set on destroying it.

One of my favourite characters is Despereaux the mouse from The Tale of Despereaux.  He’s tiny but brave and he has a big heart.

Who is your favourite book character?

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April Book Buzz

Want to know what great new books we’ve got in the library?  Every month we’ll tell you about some new and exciting books that we get so that you can catch up on the latest book in a series that you read or discover a new author.  You can click on any of the titles mentioned to see if we have copies in your library or to reserve them for when they come back in.

Cover imagePercy Jackson: The Ultimate Guide by Rick Riordan

This is the perfect book for all those Percy Jackson fans out there.  It looks like a secret journal and has heaps of interesting information inside.  There’s information on Percy Jackson himself, as well as facts about the Gods and Spirits, the beasts and monsters, and some of the settings from the books like the Labyrinth, the Underworld and the Storehouse of the Gods.  This book has everything you ever wanted to know about the world of Percy Jackson.

The Floods: Who wants to be a Billionaire? by Colin Thompson

That weird and wacky family, The Floods, are back again.  The world is in a recession and millions of people have lost millions of dollars. And just when things are about to get even worse, the Floods set up Summer School in New York and take control. Hooray, help is at hand – but as they say, charity begins at home. So millions of people will probably lose millions more dollars, but it will all work out fine in the end. Well, for the Floods anyway. Hey, come on. They”re witches and wizards, not some sort of charity.

Safe-cracking for Students by Terry Deary

This is the latest book in the Master Crook’s Crime Academy series by the author of the Horrible Histories books.  Wildpool’s filthy rich are delighted – with a new bank in town, at last their money will be safe from thieving hands. But they haven’t banked on the wit, skill and genius of the Crime Academy students, who are preparing for the greatest bank robbery of all time.  If you like books with a bit of history and a lot of laughs, this is for you.

The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon by David Almond

Paul believes that the moon is not the moon, but is a great hole in the sky. It’s one of many strange ideas that he’s never told anyone (at school he was told that he had no ideas at all), until he meets Molly, his irrepressible neighbour, who begins to convince him that his theory might just change the world. Helped by a very long ladder, some highly irregular characters, two rather worried parents and a great deal of community spirit, Paul takes to the sky. But his astonishing discovery there can’t keep him away for long – what is waiting for him back at home is turning out to be better than he’d ever imagined.

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Remember the fallen on ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day is celebrated on 25 April every year in New Zealand and Australia to remember all the members of the armed forces who served in the two World Wars and other major conflicts, such as the Vietnam and Korean Wars.  You can learn some interesting facts about ANZAC Day and some of the wars that our troops fought in by:

There are also lots of dawn parades and memorials around Christchurch and Canterbury that you could go along to to remember those that died fighting for their country.

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The magic of Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo has cast her spell on me once again with her magical new story, The Magician’s Elephant.   In her other books we’ve met Despereaux the little mouse with the big heart, Edward Tullane the china rabbit who learns what love is, and this time we meet Peter Augustus Duchene.

The story starts with Peter consulting a fortune-teller to find out what has happened to his sister who he was parted from many years ago.  The fortune-teller says to him that “You must follow the elephant. She will lead you there.”  Peter is confused but realises that his sister must still be alive.  It is on that same night in a theatre in the town that the magician conjures an enormous elephant, which crashes through the ceiling, crushing the legs of a noblewoman in the audience.  As the story progresses, the lives of each of the characters intersect and they all have important parts to play.  The Magician’s Elephant is a magical tale with lots of interesting characters, with an ending that will leave you smiling.

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