Humble bookmark saves money, planet

Handy little things, bookmarks. Always popular.  You may think that all they do is save your place in a book – but the NZ Ecoexpo bookmark can help you do your bit to save the planet with two-for-one adult entry into this weekend’s event.

So get to a library before the weekend to get your bookmark – supplies will be limited. You can visit our sustainable living pages to help find some great reading too.

Along with all the stands and exhibitors at the Christchurch Convention Centre, there’s also a selection of films – including the visually stunning, totally non-verbal  Baraka.

Away with the Fairies

Cover of Rainbow FairiesThere is something about fairies, if you have a 6-year old daughter they are everywhere. Books about fairies are everywhere! To take just the the Rainbow Magic series – there are colour fairies, jewel fairies, animal fairies, dance fairies, ocean fairies,  sporty fairies, fairies for the days of the week, holidays (including 5 devoted solely to Christmas) and even the weather – one suspects that they must be running out of ideas soon – surely! Series for children are not all bad – previous blogs here have discussed their role in encouraging early readers. I remember  my first solo reading – Five go off in a Caravan.  I pulled this from my mother’s hands to try to read by myself as I was so frustrated by her rationing of one chapter a day.  Ignore the badly written prose, poor storyline and zero dimensional characters – getting kids hooked reading words is the goal that will lead them on to higher things.

However, at this stage – my daughter’s not reading the fairy stories – I am!  Since my daughter’s primary judgement for good reading  is based on how pink the cover is – sometimes I do get a reprieve.  In addition to fairies, there are princesses and also ponies, and sometimes I am truly lucky and I get all three – Princess Evie’s Ponies – Silver the Magic Snow Pony – fortunately due to the wise judgment of library selectors not available at Christchurch City Libraries.  I am afraid to say that I am not always the most patient of parents – some of these books I have found so truly dreadful, that despite protests and even  tears, I am physically incapable of reading more than one page.

So what series are good to read to your 6 year old girl? Well, we have found some that we both enjoy:

  • Cover of Grandpa ChatterjiGrandpa Chatterji – a delightful series about a strange and mysterious grandfather from India who comes to stay.
  • Ivy and Bean – Two friends who get up to mischievous pranks.
  • Just Grace – Imagine being in a class with 4 other Graces.
  • Tilly Beanie – Tilly has a great imagination and always wants to be someone she’s not.
  • Katie – The Revolting bridesmaid – the girl who hates pink and “exquisite beading” has to be her sister’s bridesmaid.
  • Daisy and the trouble with … – Daisy is a cheeky girl who is often a  bit naughty and things go wrong and she gets into all sorts of predicaments.

Silence – Undertaking Five Book Challenge

As someone who thinks mall foodcourts are the third circle of Hell (why do they play loud canned music when the echo chambers they build are already full of noisy people?), reading a book about silence appealed. But it has been a challenge. Novelist Sara Maitland writes about her personal journey into silence. That is pretty challenging in itself as she describes the transition from noisy family upbringing, vocal feminist campaigner, to vicar’s wife, to Catholic convert, to seeker of silence in the Sinai Desert and the isle of Skye. Fascinating but sometimes taking me well out of my depth in religion, philosophy and psychology – areas I don’t usually read.

And boy does she love her words – I had to reach for the dictionary –  “apophatic” “kenotic” “phylogenetically” and more.

The Book of Silence finishes with Sara living in a very underpopulated area of Scotland – I hesitate to call it remote as in Kiwi terms it is not. But her house sits alone on a moor, she practices a disciplined life of meditation, prayer, reading and writing with no radio or television and the phone unplugged on a certain number of days. It’s not hermit in a cave stuff but in modern terms it certainly is a challenging way to live.