Thursday, 27 October 2016

New Zealand Bookshop Day 2016

This Saturday, October 29th 2016,
 is New Zealand Bookshop Day

Image: Matt Bialostocki

Please Google to find  the positive wealth of activities (for children AND adults) that will be mounted.

From South to North here is a very very small sample. Each place seems to have nearly all their bookshops involved (sourced from Booksellers NZ):

DUNEDIN - in the University Bookshop

Love letters, fairies and red velvet cupcakes

CHRISTCHURCH  - Scorpio Bookshop Riccarton

Children’s illustration workshop (booking essential)

BLENHEIM– Paper Plus

Author Brett Avison will be in store for a book signing/chat - his books include Bigger Digger, Stuck in the Muck

WELLINGTON- Unity Books  

Terra Incognita  A handful of savvy explorers will strike gold on Saturday!

The Children's Bookshop Kilbirnie
WELLINGTON- The Children’s Bookshop Kilbirnie

Tiger Who Came to Tea party from 2pm until 3pm for age 8 and under, with stories first. Juliette MacIver will read some of her new books including Gwendolyn! and That’s Not a Hippopotamus

WELLINGTON– Marsden Books, Karori

Local  authors Ned  Barraud and Gillian Candler ( In the Bush, At the Beach )will run a quiz, talk bout their books and give out goody-bags. Adults will receive a blind-date book!

LOWER HUTT-  Paper Plus

Local children’s  authors Juliette MacIver and Robyn Cooper will read from their books and Dr Seuss will be celebrated in a BIG way

PALMERSTON NORTH – Bruce McKenzie Booksellers

All day printing demonstrations from Printmaker Heather Partell backgrounded by folk music and a classical trio.

NAPIER– Wardini Books

Book coconut shy/ self recording videos/ Hook a Book

TAURANGA – Books-a-Plenty

Stacey Gregg will talk and sign books

HAMILTON– Penny’s Bookstore

A pirate treasure hunt through the store and mall collecting golden letters.

AUCKLAND–The Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop

Non-stop Stories. Local authors including Melinda Syzmanik, Paula Green and Joy Davidson reading books and telling stories all morning.

But this is only a small selection and for the full progamme go to:

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Mal Peet's last book

UK Writers
Mal Peet (deceased) with Meg Rosoff
Walker Books 2016  $24.99hb 267pp
ISBN 978 1 4063 3112 7                                                   Themes: Black teenagers/ Canada 1900s/ Catholic church/ Depression USA 1900s/ Sexual abuse of children 
Beck was born as the result of a brief encounter between an African American soldier and a young woman from Liverpool in the early 1900s and spends his life trying to find his real place in the world. This takes him to Canada and to conditions even tougher than those he has left behind – including a spell in a Catholic boys’ boarding school and a trip across the whole Canadian continent. This is a painful (and graphic) story to read but the conclusion is something not to be missed. Meg Rosoff, a close friend of Mal’s, worked on his unfinished novel after his death at his request and the seamless result is a tribute to both of these amazing writers for young adults. In my opinion it would be very wise to be really sure of the maturity of the reader to whom I was recommending the book.
Mature readers only

Watch for Susan Price's first children's book - coming next week:


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Goodbye Timmy Failure?

USA Writer & Illustrator Stephan Pastis Timmy Failure- the Book You’re Not Supposed to Have Walker Books 2016  $19.99hb 274pp ISBN 978 1 4063 6976 2                                Themes: Detective work/ Funny stories/ Series  

Although Timmy was meant to be focusing on his school work (a very hard ask for him) he was forced to work from his family garden shed and continue with his detective memoirs amongst the compost and seedlings. Then the memoirs are stolen. The plot? Hard to say really but I am convinced this is the sort of OTT humour that children of around 8 to 10 (and of course older adults like me) really enjoy. After four other Timmy Failure books, the first of which was listed as one of the 100 Children’s Modern Classics by the Sunday Star Times, it reads as though this may be the last in the series of five books but children will happily go back to the beginning again…  

Year 4 up/ Age 8 up  

Friday, 21 October 2016

Robyn Cooper's First Children's Book

NZ Writer  Robyn Cooper Snails, Spells and Snazzlepops Submarine (Makaro Press) 2016    $25.00pb 164pp ISBN 978 0 9941 3793 7 Themes: Bullying/ Cooking/ Family life/ Fantasy/ Funny stories/ Money (lack of)

Charlie has a lot to put up with - his mother’s boyfriend/ a house that seems to be falling around his ears and worst of all – a lack of money.  For Charlie (and his close friend Millie who lives next door) the solution may be through his skills in the culinary arts and serving up some really wild and unusual foods  - like the snails that live just outside the garden window. Then, while searching for a fail-safe recipe Charlie and Millie come upon a magical site on the net which may enhance their efforts even further. This is a truly funny story with characters with whom we can empathise and a storyline of which we believe every word.  A good story to read aloud to a class as a special treat!!

Excellent teachers’ notes are available for this book on the Makaro Press website. Go to:

Year 5 up/ Age 9 up  

The Makaro Press Team at the launch. Robyn is second from the left. Photo acknowledgments to Robyn Cooper

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A short gap!!

Don’t be surprised if there is a short gap of maybe a week before I post anything more here. I am going into hospital for an over nighter for some ‘keyhole’ surgery but I do intend to return!
Dressed casually for a night in the Botanic Garden

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Poverty in Victorian London

UK Writer & Illustrator
Jacqueline Wilson, decorations by Nick Sharratt
Clover Moon
Doubleday 2016   $35.00pb 386pp
ISBN 978 0 8575 3274 9                                                  Themes: Family life/ NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children UK)/ Stepmothers/ Runaways/ Victorian London
Life for poverty stricken families in the grim parts of Victorian London was a nightmare and for Clover, an artistic and bright 12(?) -year- old cast in the role of looking after her six siblings, it all became too much. She ran away and found shelter in a newly set up ‘boarding school’ based on the concepts being developed by National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Like all Jacqueline Wilson’s books (especially those about children in such horrible circumstances) the plot has many byways to explore and a heroine who engages all our attention and sympathy. It will be read with enthusiasm by a wide age range and could be part of a school ‘project’ on family poverty in Victorian London.  
Year 6 up/ Age 10 up

Monday, 10 October 2016

Magical London, 1800's

Australian Writer
Karen Foxlee
A Most Magical Girl
Piccadilly Press 2016   $22.99hb 296pp
ISBN 978 1 8481 2574 2                                                  Themes: Family/ Friendship/ London, 1800’s/ Magic/ Wizards and witches
Karen Foxlee - acknowledgements to Sonya Coe
London is under threat as a devastating spell starts to creep over the city and threatens to destroy it completely.  And. It is over to Annabel Grey, a most unlikely saviour (a very PROPER young lady) to pull out all her newly found powers of witchcraft and save the city. Sounds rather far fetched?? Not when it is told by a master story teller like Karen Foxlee whose writing compels you to read late into the night to see how it all works out. All is encased in an equally magical jacket- you can't see the silver stars in the image above.... 
Year 6 up/ Age 10 up