Celebrate our Olympians with Golden Kiwis

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are now only a few weeks away. They start on 5 August and run until 21 August. There are around 350 athletes and support staff that make up this year’s New Zealand Olympic team. I wonder how many medals we will win this time?

New Zealand author David Riley has just written a great book all about the amazing athletes who have won gold medals at the Olympic Games over the years. The book is called Golden Kiwis and David takes us on a journey through ‘100 years of Kiwi excellence in the Olympic Games.’

David gives us some background information on the Olympic Games, from the very first Olympics in Greece in 8BC through to the modern Olympics of today that started in 1896. You then learn about the outstanding sporting feats of all of our gold medal winners, from our very first with Malcolm Champion (great name for an athlete!) in 1912, through to Valerie Adams and Lisa Carrington. It’s great to see that Golden Paralympians like Sophie Pascoe are also included in the book.

There are some really great features of this book that I like. There are heaps of photos of the athletes, especially the action shots of them competing in their sports. One of the coolest features of the book is that David has included QR codes with each athlete so that you can scan the code and watch a video of them competing and winning.

Golden Kiwis is an inspiring book that just goes to prove you can achieve your goals if you set your mind to it.

We have an author interview with David Riley and here is a video of him talking about his book, Golden Kiwis:

If you want to find out more about the Olympics and New Zealand sportspeople try these:

We also have a great page about the Olympics for kids on our website so check that out for more information and links to other great websites.

Science Snippets – Breathe Easy

Each week during term time (except the first and last week) the team from Science Alive bring their Science Snippets sessions into our libraries. Excellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week!

There is a different theme for each session and this coming week from Monday 27 June it’s Breathe Easy. 

You are sure to learn all about breathing, your lungs and asthma.

Here are some great nonfiction books that we have in the library if you want to learn more about breathing:

I couldn’t find any stories about breathing and asthma in our catalogue.  There is this Into Reading book for beginner readers about a boy with asthma:

We also have some fantastic eResources with heaps of information about light. Check these out:

  • Britannica Library Kids – a search for ‘breathing,’ ‘lungs’ and ‘asthma’ gives you information about the respiratory system and asthma, with different levels of information for different ages.
  • World Book Kids – a search for ‘breathing,’ ‘lungs’ and ‘asthma’ gives you information about the respiratory system and asthma, along with some suggestions for other topics you might like to look at for more information.

For more information about Science Alive’s Science Snippets check out Science Alive on our website.

Science Snippets – Turtle or Tortoise?

Each week during term time (except the first and last week) the team from Science Alive bring their Science Snippets sessions into our libraries. Excellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week! There is a different theme for each session and this coming week from Monday 13 June it’s Turtle or Tortoise?
You are sure to learn all about the difference between turtles and tortoises. Here are some great nonfiction books that we have in the library if you want to learn more about turtles and tortoises:

Here are some stories about turtles and tortoises to read too:

We also have some fantastic eResources with heaps of information about turtles and tortoises. Check these out:

  • National Geographic Kids – searches for ‘turtle’ and ‘tortoise’ gives you some great information from the National Geographic Kids magazine as well as access to several eBooks about turtles and tortoises.
  • Britannica Library Kids – searches for ‘turtle’ and ‘tortoise’ gives you information about each of these topics, with different levels of information for different ages.
  • World Book Kids – a search for ‘turtle’ and ‘tortoise’ gives you some basic information about each of the topics, along with some suggestions for other topics you might like to look at for more information.

For more information about Science Alive’s Science Snippets check out Science Alive on our website.

Zac’s Favourite Kids Books – June 2016

I have one of the coolest jobs in the world! As an Outreach Librarian I visit primary, intermediate and secondary schools all over Christchurch to promote the library and spread a love of books.  It’s my job to get kids enthusiastic about books and reading, and I take a heap of books out to schools to share with kids.

Here are just a few of the books that I’ll be raving about in June:

Gorilla Loves Vanilla by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne

Little Sam Sundae runs the best icecream shop around. People come from all over to have one of his icecreams. One day he gets some different customers who want some very strange icecream creations. Mouse wants a blue cheese sundae and Hen wants a worm cone, but then Gorilla comes in wanting just vanilla icecream. This is a very funny story that bounces along and the illustrations are bursting with colour and icecream of all sorts.

Fuzzy Doodle by Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Fuzzy Doodle follows a scribble on a page as it starts to eat the ink, then nibbles letters and words, until it moves on to gobbling pictures full of colour.  When it is full to bursting it makes a cocoon and unfolds and emerges as a dazzling book. This is a stunning book from two very talented local creators of books for young people. It’s the sort of book that will be enjoyed by young and old alike.

Flying Furballs: Dogfight by Donovan Bixley

Flying Furballs is the hilarious, action-packed new series from Donovan Bixley, the illustrator behind the Dinosaur Rescue series and Dragon Knight series. This is World War One like you’ve never seen it before. It’s the CATs vs. the DOGZ, with the CATs trying to stop the DOGZ from taking over Europe.  In the first book, Dogfight, Major Ginger Tom gets taken prisoner and it’s up to young Claude D’Bonair to fly in and rescue him from the DOGZ castle headquarters. Packed full of cat and dog puns, great characters and fun illustrations this is the perfect series for young readers.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Pax is a beautiful, heart-breaking story about the bond between a boy and his pet fox. The story starts with Peter having to leave his fox Pax in the woods at the side of a road and driving off. Peter’s father is going off to war and so Peter has to go and stay with his grandfather and can’t take Pax with him. Peter found Pax clinging to life as a kit, not long after his own mother had died, so Pax became his friend when he needed one the most. Peter and Pax have a very strong bond and so, even though they are hundreds of miles apart, they set out to find each other. The story tugs at your heart right from the start and you have to keep reading to find out if they will both survive to see each other again. Pax is a truly memorable story.

The Turners by Mick Elliott

Leo gets the worst present ever for his 13th birthday. One minute he’s just standing around in the school library and the next minute he’s growing a tail and turning into a komodo dragon.  When he goes home that night his sister and father tell him that he is a Turner just like them, someone who can turn into different animals. Usually a turn happens at night but for some strange reason Leo can turn in the daytime. Leo’s dad sets off in search of answers and tells them that he’ll be back the next day. When their dad doesn’t arrive home and they are attacked in their home by lizard men, Leo and Abbie go off in search of answers. The Turners is a very funny read, with lots of action and a dash of magic.

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

I love a good time travel story and this is one of the best for kids. It has one of the best opening paragraphs too: ‘My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty-nine, and again four years later when he was twelve. (He’s going to die a third time as well, which seems a bit rough on him, but I can’t help that.).’ When Al’s dad dies he gets a letter from him explaining that it is possible to travel in time and that he has built a time machine.  When his dad was a kid he had an accident that left a small piece of metal lodged in his brain which, over time, killed him. He asks Al to go back in time to stop the accident from happening and save him. Al doesn’t hesitate. He takes his hamster, Alan Shearer, jumps in the time machine and goes off to save his dad. As with all time travel stories, nothing goes entirely to plan. A funny story about a boy who just wants to get his dad back.

For more of my favourite kids books for June check out my booklist – Zac’s June 2016 Hot Picks

Beetle Boy – A mystery that will really bug you

Cover of Beetle boyOne of the best books I’ve read recently is all about beetles. Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard is about a boy called Darkus, whose dad has mysteriously disappeared from a locked room in a museum.  Darkus has been sent to stay with his Uncle Max while the police look into his dad’s disappearance. While staying with his uncle, Darkus finds out some things about his dad that he never knew, which all add to the mystery. With the help of his new friends Bertolt and Virginia, and a rhinoceros beetle called Baxter, Darkus sets out to uncover the truth of his father’s disappearance.

Beetle Boy is an action-packed mystery story, chock full of beetles of all kinds and some crazy characters. The villain of the story, Lucretia Cutter, is one of my favourite book villains because she is so evil and horrible. If you want a book that will really grab you read Beetle Boy. It’s the first book in a trilogy and I really can’t wait to read the next book!

You’ll discover all sorts of beetles in this story, from horned rhinoceros and stag beetles to the bombardier and blister beetles that shoot acid. Beetle Boy got me really interested in beetles and I wanted to find out more about them. What better place to find information about beetles than the library!

Here are some great books and resources about beetles that I found in the library:

  • Cover of Ultimate Bug-opediaThe Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins has some basic information about beetles alongside Steve Jenkins’ distinctive collage illustrations.  An interesting fact from this book – ‘Line up every kind of plant and animal on Earth and one of every four will be a beetle.’
  • Ultimate Bug-opedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever by Darlyne Murawski and Nancy Honovich is bursting with bugs of all shapes and kinds.  There is introductory information about bugs (What is a Bug?) and more detailed information about the different insect orders. There are heaps of amazing close-up photos of bugs in this book too. An interesting fact from this book – The scientific name for beetles is Coleoptera.
  • The Book of Beetles, edited by Patrice Bouchard is the go-to guide for anyone who is bug mad!  If you want detailed information about almost all the beetles on the earth, including where they live and what they eat, this book is for you. An interesting fact from this book – scientists study beetles to develop new products and materials like adhesive-free tape and domes to help clear fog from airport runways.
  • Our Britannica Library Kids eResource is a great place to find some more information on beetles. You can choose whether you want basic information or more advanced and they have some great photos and diagrams as well.
  • Search for more books about beetles for kids

 

A Life in Pictures – the work of Michael Foreman

I fell in love with Michael Foreman’s illustrations many years ago when I first discovered Michael Morpurgo’s books. I soon found out that he also wrote and illustrated his own stories, including War Boy and War Game which were stories about his experience of World War II. I found out a lot more about Michael Foreman and his huge body of work when I borrowed a fascinating new book from the library called A Life in Pictures.

Pages from A life in pictures
A glimpse inside A life in pictures by Michael Foreman

A Life in Pictures is written by Michael Foreman himself, and looks back over his long career in the creation of books for children. It is a beautiful book that is packed with Michael’s illustrations and stories about the books that he has worked on and the people he has worked with. You can read about Michael’s war childhood, the importance of location and landscape in his illustrations, the people that have influenced him and the people that he has collaborated with.

If you’ve read a Michael Morpurgo book you’ve probably seen Michael Foreman’s illustrations. The M-Team have been collaborating for over 20 years (their first book together being Arthur, High King of Britain, published in 1994).

I’ve always felt that Michael Foreman’s illustrations are the perfect match for Michael Morpurgo’s stories. Michael Foreman mentions in A Life in Pictures that ‘Michael Morpurgo not only writes good stories, he writes good pictures. His stories are full of them.’ His illustrations for Morpurgo’s stories are usually in black and white, but it’s the smaller, shorter stories, like Little Manfred, where his full-colour illustrations shine.

Over the years Michael Foreman has worked with many other authors, both living and dead.  He has brought the stories of Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens and Kenneth Grahame to life, bringing the ‘classics’ to a new generation of children.

My favourite edition of Michael Foreman’s classics is Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows.  The colours are so vibrant and the characters leap off the page. Michael also travelled to New Zealand in 1987 to visit Kiri Te Kanawa to research a book based on legends told to her by her grandmother. This book became The Land of the Long White Cloud.

A Life in Pictures is a fascinating read for anyone who loves books for children and would be a valuable resource for artists or those wanting to become illustrators.

2015 LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards Winners

Cover of Conrad Cooper's Last StandThe award ceremony for the 2015 LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards was held at the National Library in Wellington on Monday 15 June. The LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards are awarded annually by LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, for outstanding books for children and young people.

Congratulations to all the finalists and the winners!  Here are the winners:

Grab a copy of these award-winning books at your library. To find out more about the LIANZA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Awards check out our page on the awards.