Posts tagged reading

Champion reads – the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Are you looking for a great read? Try the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – what a bunch of brilliant books.

Vasanti Unka’s The Boring Book wins the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year is all about the award-winners.

The full list of winners of the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is:

Cover of The Boring Book Cover of The Beginner's guide to hunting and fishing Dunger Joy Cowley (Winner) Cover of Mortal fire Cover of A necklace of souls Cover of The Three Bears Cover of Bugs

New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of Best Picture Book category: Prizes: $7,500 for the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and $7,500 for Best Picture Book The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Group (NZ), Puffin)

Best Non-Fiction: Prize $7,500: The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson (Random House New Zealand)

Junior Fiction: Prize $7,500: Dunger by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)

Best Young Adult Fiction: Prize $7,500: Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (Gecko Press)

Best First Book: Prize $2,000: A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman (Harper Collins Publishers (NZ), HarperVoyager)

Children’s Choice: Prize $2,000: The Three Bears…Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley (Scholastic New Zealand)

Honour award: Prize $500: Bugs by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)

Māori Language award: Prize $1,000 (announced on 8 April) Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page (Tania&Martin)


Our own wonderful librarian Zac Harding – you might know him from this very blog – was a judge, along with Ant Sang and Barbara Else.

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Getting Dark Earlier = More Time To Read!

Happy end of daylight savings everyone!  Colder weather is coming, which is the perfect excuse to sneak into bed a little earlier and snuggle up with a good book.  There’s nothing I like better!

I’d love to get some book tips from you, so please tell me in the comments what you’re reading and whether you’re enjoying it. Or what your favourite book is.

Here’s what’s on my bedside table right now:



by R.J. Palacio

“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

Because of the way he looks, Auggie Pullman’s never been to school. He just wants to be treated like everyone else, but how can that happen when he looks so different?

This is a story that will both make you laugh and break your heart. It’s unusual in that different chapters are in the point of view of different characters. The reader not only gets to know Auggie, but the people around him as well.

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it.

My favourite quote from Wonder:

“Hey, if they want to give me a medal for being me, that’s okay. I’ll take it. I didn’t destroy a Death Star or anything like that, but I did just get through the fifth grade. And that’s not easy, even if you’re not me.”


Looking For Alaska

By John Green

John Green is one of my favourite writers.  I can’t wait for The Fault In Our Stars to come out as a movie, and I really hope it’s even half as awesome as the book.

Looking For Alaska is not your typical boy-meets-girl story. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s off to boarding school and in search of the ‘Great Perhaps’. He finds Alaska Young, a human hurricane who swirls him into her world, snatches his heart, then tears him apart. It’s a wild ride of a book that made me giggle uncontrollably and wipe away tears.

This one’s for older readers. If you’re a teenager looking for a book that pulls no punches, give it a try.

My favourite quote from Looking For Alaska:

“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”



By Louis Sachar

Sentenced to Camp Green Lake for a crime he didn’t commit, Stanley Yelnats is forced to spend all day digging holes in a dry lake under a punishing sun. Stanley blames the family curse for his bad luck and tries to make the best of things. But he soon discovers that there’s a reason the cruel warden has them digging holes.  

This is a very clever book, and I loved the way all the connections were slowly revealed. How is a centuries-old curse connected to a pair of shoes falling from the sky, connected to Kissing Kate Barlow, an outlaw of the Wild West?  Read Holes to find out!

My favourite quote from Holes:

“It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather!”


Daughter of Smoke and Bone

By Laini Taylor

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

This is the first book of a series of three. I read and enjoyed the first two, and the third one (Dreams of Gods and Monsters) has just come out and I can’t wait to read it!

If you’re a teenager looking for an exceptional fantasy series and great characters to sigh over, get into this one and you won’t be sorry.  Now I’ve got to run, I’ve got a book to read…

My favourite quotes from Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

“Loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve—like the soul’s version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.”

“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him.”

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Tell us what you’re reading and WIN

The Summertime Reading Club is on now and throughout the Summer holidays you have lots of chances to win on the Christchurch Kids Blog.  Each week we’ll have a competition that you can enter to win book vouchers from PaperPlus, one of our fantastic sponsors.  Did you know that you get a $5 PaperPlus voucher when you’ve completed your reading log?

Our first competition is super easy to enter.  Just leave a comment on this post telling us about a book that you’re reading for the Summertime Reading Club.  Make sure you put your name and your email address or phone number so that we can contact you if you win.  We’ll draw one lucky kid who will win a $40 PaperPlus voucher.   So get commenting and you’ll be in to win.  Competition closes Thursday 2 January 2014.

See below for terms and conditions   Read the rest of this entry »

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Author of the Week – Neil Gaiman

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 Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman has written in a wide range of genres and formats.  His characters are memorable and complex, and find themselves in surreal, often supernatural, settings. Gaiman evokes a creepy, sometimes horrifying, atmosphere, but balances this with whimsical interludes and comic relief.

Fortunately, the Milk

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is Don’t forget the milk. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back. Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.


Just as the mice did not get Coraline’s name wrong their warning message was also not wrong. She finds a secret corridor behind a locked door, a corridor that takes her into a house very similar to her own, but with counterfeit parents and a terrible quest on which her survival, and more, depends.

The Graveyard Book

When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him – after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod’s life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

Odd and the Frost Giants

An unlucky twelve-year-old Norwegian boy named Odd leads the Norse gods Loki, Thor, and Odin in an attempt to outwit evil Frost Giants who have taken over Asgard.

For more books by Neil Gaiman or to find books and authors similar to her, check out Novelist.

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Gathering Ideas for writing

How does an author gather ideas?

How does a poet gather ideas?

My answer:

We look and observe, capture a tiny detail, embroider it

look at it from a different angle, then surprise the reader and ourselves.

I use exercise books like this to keep all my ideas together:


I always write the date in, I jot down a thought, a sight, a little treasure of a word, or a sudden idea.

(or even the complete poem)

If I don’t write it down straight away it goes away never to return.

Here is a suggestion for you to begin your own ‘ideas’ book.

Try keeping an ideas book each day for a week.

  1. Just write down a conversation that was funny or unusual you were a part of or overheard.

Here’s an example:

While on a walk recently  I overheard these comments:

‘I bet a thousand dollars…’


‘It’ll make you dizzy.’


‘But then you would never…

These fragments could become part of a story, or a poem or lead to more ideas.

2.  Just write down a few words about what was happening in your world, even the weather.

3.  Even a quick sketch of your pet and a few words about what they like to do best.  Sketching and writing is a great idea.

For my latest collection of poetry ‘Guinea Pig town and other poems about animals’ Walker books, I was able to observe animals and then write from this.  Taking a photograph to look back later was great also.

Here are two photos of two animals.  Both were in London and both are the subjects of poems in my book.



If you are able to look in a copy of ‘Guinea Pig town and other Animal poems’ then look up:

‘A big bathroom’


Then you can see the finished poems.

What do you like to write about?  I’d love to hear from you.

Lorraine M

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Summertime Reading Club Challenge – Week 2

This is the second of our weekly Summertime Reading Club challenges.  Each week we’ll set you a challenge and you have to comment on the challenge post to go in the draw for the weekly prize, a $50 PaperPlus voucher and a Hoyts movie pass.  We’ll draw the winner on Thursday and announce the winner on Friday when the next challenge is posted.

Congratulations to last week’s winner – Ben.

Week 2 Challenge

Leave a comment telling us: 

Which author would you most like to meet? 

If you could ask them one question what would it be?

Make sure you leave your name and email address as well so that we can contact you if you win. 

See below for terms and conditions  Read the rest of this entry »

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Join the Summertime Reading Club

Join the Summertime Reading Club in 2012. This very popular summer activity starts again on 21 December and runs to 18 January 2013. Complete the Summertime Reading Club challenge and you’ll be in to win some awesome prizes including Paper Plus vouchers, an iPod, a digital camera and an iPad!

Simply take a challenge card, complete four of the challenges and then return the card to the library to be in to win.
There are two levels to choose from:

  • Easy (for 5 – 8 year olds)
  • Hard (for 9 – 12 year olds)

Each week on the Christchurch Kids Blog we’ll also have a Sumertime Reading Club Challenge.  You can enter each week for your chance to win Paper Plus vouchers and Hoyts movie vouchers.

Keep your eyes peeled next week for the Summertime Reading Club challenge card that you can download from the Kids page of the library website.

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Hi from your July Star Author

Hi there folks (waves). I am feeling very honoured to be this month’s Star Author here at the Christchurch Kids Blog. I’m going to be around all July talking about books, reading and writing. If you have any questions at all about me, about writing or about my books please ask.  I write for children of all ages, from picture books through short stories to novels. I love to write even though it can be brain twistingly difficult at times, but I also love to read and I think one of the reasons I became a writer was because of how reading books made me feel.

Reading a book is something I can do by myself but I never feel alone when I read. I can travel anywhere, meet new people from different countries, cultures or worlds and learn more about myself doing it. Some of my favourite books when I was younger include The Outsiders, The Little House on the Prairie Books, The Dark is Rising series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (I think I read that at least 12 times), Paddington Bear Books, Famous Five and Secret Seven Books, The Wizard of Earthsea, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Anne of Green Gables, Flambards, The Swing in the Summerhouse,  and many, many more. I loved I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sellew, The Cat in the Hat, and Where The Wild Things Are. I adored Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes. As you can see I liked books that blended magic with the real world. I still own many of my favourite books from my childhood. And I still read children’s books now. Recent favourites include Super Finn, Hill and Hole, The Hunger Games, White Cat, The Double Life of Cassiel RoadnightThe Chicken Thief, Olivia, There’s a Monster at the End of this Book, Love That Dog and The Changeover. What are some of your favourite books? And what is it you loved most about them?

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Join our Winter Reading Club

Winter Reading Club is a fun reading challenge that you can take part in throughout the June and July.  From Monday 18 June you can visit your local library and pick up your challenge card.  Just complete four challenges and you will get a mini prize pack.

Find out how to enter the Winter Reading Club – Read the rest of this entry »

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Hello, Christchurch Kids!

I’m very excited to be your Star Author for the month. (Well, who wouldn’t be? Doesn’t everyone want to be a star from time to time? And yes, I did get to be a star on a Hollywood Red Carpet once with my friend Nim, though I’ll tell you more about that later . For now, here’s the Red Carpet video of what a true Hollywood star and I think about reading: Wendy Orr and Jodie Foster MS Readathon CSA

Although I’ve never been to New Zealand, I have a dog-walking friend who’s from Christchurch, and every time we walk the dogs together I learn a bit more about it, and especially on how her family and friends are coping after the earthquake. I think that’s why I feel so proud and excited to be on your blog, and it’s making me even more determined to get across there one day!

Books,  reading and writing have always been a huge part of my life.

You know when people ask you where you read, or when you read? Anywhere and all the time, is my answer. At breakfast, when I’m brushing my teeth, when I’m waiting somewhere…  Sometimes upside down is the best way to read.

By the way, what’s the craziest place you’ve ever read a book?

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Where is your favourite place to read in Winter?

Vote for your favourite place to read in Winter.

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Celebrating The Big Read at Thorrington School

On Wednesday we celebrated The Big Read in Christchurch as part of the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.  Ms. Hill (the fabulous librarian at Queenspark School) and I  joined the children at Thorrington School to share some of the finalist books in this year’s awards.

With Year 5 and 6 Ms. Hill and I read some of the finalist picture books, including one of the most popular books, Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark and Rowan Sommerset.  If you haven’t read this hilarious (and gross) picture book, make sure you get a copy from the library.  We also tested how well the children at Thorrington knew their book characters by challenging them to a book quiz.

After lunch, the Year 1-4 children were in for a treat.  As well as listening to the librarians reading the finalist picture books, they were also lucky enough to have Margaret Mahy come and tell some stories.  She told her fantastic story, Down the Back of the Chair and read her latest book, The Moon and Farmer McPhee, which is also a finalist in the book awards this year.

How did you celebrate The Big Read?

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Join the 2011 Reading Crusade and win


If you love rugby and reading then you should join the 2011 Reading Crusade.  If you’ve never done the Reading Crusade before it’s a fun reading promotion run by Christchurch City Libraries and the Crusaders rugby team.

All you have to do is read six books, fill out a reading log and get a parent, teacher  or librarian to register your reading.  Once you’ve registered you’re in the draw for heaps of cool prizes.  Find out more on the Reading Crusade website.

Each week we have a Reading Crusade Challenge for you to try and we’ll be giving away some great new books each week to Christchurch kids who comment on the blog.

Get reading and join the Reading Crusade!

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Summertime Reading Club winning bloggers

Our last 4 prize winners of a $20 Borders voucher are:

– Ravy
– Tierney
– Eibhlin
– Nisa

Thanks to everyone who added their comments and book reviews throughout Summertime Reading Club.

Check out the rest of the blog for more great books to read and enjoy this Summer.

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What books are you reading in the holidays?

A fantastic book that I've been reading

The school holidays are the perfect time to lay around and read.  The warm, sunny weather we’ve had lately means that you can even go and sit out in the sun or under a tree and read.

What books are you reading in the holidays?  Are they really good stories with lots of interesting characters? Is it a book by one of your favourite authors?  Is it a non-fiction book or a graphic novel?  Add a comment and tell us all about the books you’re reading.

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