Hillmorton High: Hunters & Gatherers’ Book Reviews

Here is a list of Hillmorton High: Hunters & Gatherers’ Book Reviews, as assembled by Kate into a booklist.

CoverJanuary Gabrielle Lord

This book is about a 15 year old boy called Callum that has to stay alive for 365 days. Someone is trying to kill him, and this same guy may have killed his father. This is the first book in a series, January. Each book represents each month. If you are interested in action books, you should start reading this series. The great thing about this book is that when the exciting parts come (which is almost the whole book), you get such a clear picture in your head of what’s happening.

Reviewed by Dylan

CoverBatman: Battle for the Cowl Tony S. Daniel

This book starts with letting us know that Batman (Bruce Wayne) has died. Without Batman, Gotham City has gone completely insane. Nightwing, Robin and the rest of the Bat Family have been taking control, but every time they get to the crime scene there’s a note saying, “I am Batman.” They know that this person is not the real Batman.

People who enjoy DC Batman and a lot of takedowns (‘takedowns’ are ways of knocking people out quickly) – this is definitely the book for you! This book will seem interesting to those who enjoy epic fight scenes or like mysterious things happening in books. If you’re not interested in that stuff, then this will be boring.

Reviewed by Eustice

CoverCollins Easy Learning Spanish Conversation

Spanish is a fun language to learn. The Collins Easy Learning: Spanish Conversation is a guide to having a worthy conversation in Spanish. This book is for all people that want to start speaking Spanish. It has examples with the phrases just in case you don’t understand. For example: ¿Qué te parece si nos quedamos un día más? How about staying one more day? They have phrases for almost any situation and it has a pronunciation guide too.

Reviewed by Matthew H.

The Beginner’s Guide to Adventure Sport in New Zealand Steve Gurney

The book starts off about Steve Gurney when he was young. He was the last kid picked for bull rush, and was picked on and teased about being a slow runner. He proved them wrong when he won the Coast to Coast a record 9 times! He became an adventure sport legend! He wrote this book to help beginners with adventure sport in New Zealand. He talks about tramping, biking, climbing, paddling, snow sports, and triathlons. He recommends places to go mountain biking, and good techniques for kayaking. He even shows you how to change your tyre if it pops, and suggests good protein foods for energy.  I would definitely recommend this book for beginners and people who just want that little tip, or two.

This book would most definitely be open to boys and girls! I think it would be great if there was more girls getting out there and doing adventure sporting!

It is special because Steve Gurney is a New Zealand sporting legend! An adventure sport legend giving you tips on hobbies or sports that you like is pretty amazing! I would recommend to check it out at your local library! I like this book so much and find it so interesting I have read it about three or four times! There are more Steve Gurney books out there, like Lucky Legs & Eating Dirt.

Reviewed by Matthew L.

Guinness World Records

This book gives us facts about world records like parts of human bodies and fastest vehicles at the current time. If you are like me and like to look for facts, this is a book for you. The great thing about this book is that it gives you lots of different and interesting information.

Reviewed by Neihana.

CoverBunny Drop Series Unita Yumi

Bunny Drop (also known as ‘Usagi Drop’), is a series filled with a lot of drama, comedy, and a bit of romance thrown in. It is about a 16 year old girl, Rin, who lives a motherly life unlike other teenage girls. She is adopted by her uncle, Daikichi. So, you could say, he is kind of like an uncle, but mixed in with some father. Rin has a journey to find out who she is and why she’s here. Along her journey, there are always speed bumps for her, but she has great friends with great personalities that she can count on. People who would like to read this book are probably, the ones that are into drama because trust me, it has a lot of drama! And others that like these books might be people who are into the genre – romance! I think what’s special and unique about this is all the intensity and drama. There is also a lot of scenes that can make you laugh, cry, but mostly laugh!! This series, I think is one of a kind.

Reviewed by Bernadine

CoverCaptain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People Dav Pilkey

 This book is about how George and Harold are going to a school which is very bad, unhygienic and has terrible teachers. When George and Harold go into the Purple-Potty 3000 (a time machine they built), everything reverses so the school is very good, hygienic and has great teachers.

People who are into books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and other Younger Fiction will enjoy this book. The special thing about this book is that it has lots of drawings, lots of comics and little things that make it fun to read.

Reviewed by Matthew C.

CoverDemon Dentist David Walliams

Alfie HATES the dentist, you could tell with his yellow rotting teeth. He hides all his dentist letters from his dad who is in a wheelchair. But ever since a new dentist came to town, the teeth under the pillows have been taken; but what was left was something unbelievable.

Who is doing this? Why would they need so many teeth?
Anyone who likes a scary book will love this book (it isn’t too scary, just a little bit).

This book is special because it isn’t like our world – in this world you might wanna hold onto those teeth!

Reviewed by Bella

CoverThe Sorcerer in the North John Flanagan

The most important characters in this book are Will and Halt. Will and Halt are two rangers that go on a long journey to kill the evil sorcerer, because people have gone missing and been getting killed in the north.

This is an amazing book to read because in some parts it’s really funny, but it has lots of action too. The Sorcerer in the North is a great book for young adults because this particular book has some swearing in it.

Reviewed by Ryan

Matilda Roald Dahl

This story is about a little girl called Matilda. She could read before she went to school. She read all the books in the children’s library. Her family doesn’t like her because Matilda reads books and her family doesn’t like to read books, they like watching TV. Matilda wants to go to school. Then finally, her Dad takes her to school. Her teacher Miss Honey tells her class to be nice to Matilda. At school the principal Miss Trunchbull, throws a boy and Matilda helps the boy to fly away with her secret, superpowers. This book made me laugh out loud, you will like this book if you are into funny books.

Reviewed by Hellen

CoverTwilight Stephenie Meyer

This book is about vampires.

Bella Swan moved to Forks after living with her mother in Arizona, now she is living with her father Charlie.

Bella is endangered after falling in love with Edward Cullen, the Vampire.

I recommend this book to a person who likes vampires and romantic stories.

This book is special because it became a movie. Also, it was the #1 New York Times bestseller.

Reviewed by Pharot

CoverExtra Special Treats (…Not)  Liz Pichon

This book is about one boy named Tom who has a cousin called Marcus.He doesn’t like Marcus because Tom throws snowballs at Marcus.

I think people who like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, people who like action and adventure, and also people who have annoying sisters would like this book. Liz Pichon is very creative and you can easily see this picture in your head.

Reviewed by Joshua

CoverLiteracy My Prize: How I learnt to Read and Write Michael Marquet

This book is about a guy who did not know how to speak or communicate with people when he was a child. Also, he did not know how to read or write, not even his name. I think this is a great book for kids with the same learning problems because the kids would not read it but their parents can read it to them. This book is very inspirational for those who are having trouble learning in and out of school.

Reviewed by Tanja-Marie

Class ACover Robert Muchamore

This book is about children infiltrating a drug dealing company. The children have to somehow make friends with the drug dealer’s children. What’s unique about this book is that there are multiple spies instead of just one kid. If you have read the Alex Rider books and liked the action in there then you would probably like the action in this as well. I would highly suggest you read The Recruit before you read this book because that way you would know more about James Adams.

Reviewed by Talal

CoverHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J.K. Rowling

This book is about a young boy named ‘Harry Potter. One day he gets a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He had no idea what this was about.

He had never heard about this place or knew that his parents were magic either! It didn’t take long for him to make some new friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

I think that this book would appeal to people that like fantasy, magic and action-packed stories with lots of suspense. It’s also the beginning of seven book series with lots more adventures. If you liked the Harry Potter movies then you will probably really enjoy this book!

This book is unique because it was something different for this age group, and I really liked it! It wasn’t really a type of book that I was used to or had really read before.

Reviewed by Reuben

Spiders Barbara Taylor

This book is nonfiction and is about Spiders which are arachnids. They can be in any shape and any colour but always have eight legs. They eat insects and some even eat big things like centipedes. Some spider species are different because they don’t make webs to catch prey instead they hunt their prey. To do this some spiders have big eyes, great jumping skills and have good camouflage.

This book has detailed pictures of spiders. It is fun to read and it has good facts. People who likes arachnids/spiders should read this.

Reviewed by Simon

Girl Online On TourCover Zoe Sugg

Girl Online on Tour is about a girl (Penny) that has anxiety. Her boyfriend Noah is a pop star, so she travels around Europe with Noah and his band and ends up in Brighton. In Brighton Noah performs in a show, watching from the crowd she loses her phone. Penny falls and hurts herself and leaves the stadium because she can’t cope with the crowd and Penny may have a panic attack.

I like that this book has different settings, from all over Europe and more stories from real life. Zoe is actually a famous Youtuber. For age 11-13. If you like her very first book would really enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Holly

Page by PaigeCover Laura Lee Gulledge

Page by Paige is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel about sixteen year old Paige who has just moved from Virginia to New York. Paige decides to try out her Grandmother’s drawing lessons and keep a sketchbook. Soon she is happy again.

I would recommend this book for any keen artist or as a teenage read. It is ideal for both girls and boys as it has strong characters.

The illustrations really tie the story together, which is what helps make it so special. I loved this book because it is a deep, moving story that is bound to capture your heart as well as your artistic self!

Reviewed by Katie

HatchetCover Gary Paulsen

This book is about a kid called Brian that goes to his Dad’s house to see him because his Mum and Dad have split up. On the way the plane pilot dies from a heart attack but Brian survives the crash and the only thing he has got is a Hatchet!

You will like this book if you like the woods and adventure stories. It is a really good descriptive book because you can see it clearly in your mind.

Reviewed by Andrew

Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia NicolsonCover Louise Rennison

This book is about a young teenage girl who is about to turn 15 and struggles to handle her first crush and her stone-age parents. I recommend this book for young teenage girls because this book gives good advice on how to handle being a teenager and how not to handle being a teenager. In this book there’s a lot of twists, bumps and funny moments that can also help a young girl during the teenage phase. I really like this book because it helps control my emotions, to me, it’s like a girl bible.

Reviewed by Destiny

Never Google HeartbreakCover Emma Garcia

This book by Emma Garcia has everything a really good romance story would need. It has love, great story, someone else falls in love with the boy, and pretty much anything a great romance story needs to hook people in. What’s special about this romance is that Vivienne (The main character) wants to start a website where people can give advice to heartbroken women. What’s also unique is that at the start of every chapter, there is something like a quote or something that relates to that chapter. I would recommend this to young adults as it does have a few swear words but I think that just adds to the story so the reader can feel the emotions better. Overall, this is a great story in my opinion and would be worth reading it if you enjoy romances and suspense.

Reviewed by Jerry

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog DaysCover Jeff Kinney

This book is about a boy named Greg who was always playing video games during the summer holidays. The rest of his family were outside playing and the weather was fine while Greg was playing games inside. I suggest this book for kids and maybe young adults. This is a really funny book and it even has a movie about it. I like the book better because it has lots of pictures in it and even though they look like stick people, it still has lots of features in the pictures. A great thing about this book is that it is part of a series and there are movies about it.

Reviewed by Maria

Double ActCover Jacqueline Wilson

The book is about identical twelve-year-old twins, named Ruby and Garnet. Ruby is the oldest and she is super hyper and she often gets in trouble. Garnet is the smart, intelligent, neat one. Ruby is mainly bossy and Garnet always does what either Ruby does or what Ruby tells her to. Everyone keeps telling Garnet she doesn’t have to be the same as Ruby, but if she doesn’t Ruby gets angry and won’t talk to Garnet. Their mother has sadly passed away, and their father is dating this woman called Rose and well Ruby absolutely hates her, but Garnet however is OK with her. Mainly the book is based on an empty old account book they found and the text in the book is their writing. The girls audition for a main twin part in ‘The Twins at St Claire’ but Garnet ruins everything. Then they both find a piece in the paper that will change their whole lives.

If you’re into drama and page turners, or books with a twist, this is the book for you. It has ups and downs. The unique thing about this book, is that there’s no other book like it. This book really is special.

Reviewed by Katy

MatildaCover Roald Dahl

This is a book about a girl called Matilda she had to take care of herself ever since she was born. She is a very different kid because when she was about 3 she started going to the library and reading lots of books.  She was 5 and a half she went to school because her Mum and Dad were not ready at all. Miss Honey is the nice teacher and Miss Trunchbull is the principal, and is really mean to the teachers and kids. Everyone is scared of her. But what Miss Trunchbull does not know is that Matilda has a secret power. If you love Roald Dahl, this is a must-read.

Reviewed by Anna

LegendCover Lu Marie

This book is about a 15 year old girl who tried to find out who murdered his brother Ian. She finds out that a boy named Day, was the one who killed his brother. Or did Day kill his brother? Find out for yourself if he is innocent, or if he is a murderer.

If you really like action, this book is for you. This book is really interesting, with lots of action and more. If you do really like it, there will be another book coming out named Prodigy. If you like The Stormbreaker, then you will LOVE this. I don’t want to spoil anymore, so have fun with this comic.

What’s special about this book you might ask, well, it has 3 categories or genres.

  1. Action                  2. Emotion                     3. Romance

When you read through this comic, you will find that action is harder than you think, emotion for you to feel and romance could be one of your talents with girls/boys, if you are very confident.

Reviewed by Conrad

Adventure Time: The Duke based on an episode by Merriwether Williams and Tim McKeown

This book is a book with lots of funny comedy scenes and a little bit of anger. It’s about a human boy called Finn and his best friend/brother Jake which is a dog. They accidently throw a boomerang potion into Princess Bubble gum’s window which makes her half bald and green!?! She thinks it is the Duke of Nuts because he eats all of her pudding, but actually it’s his obsession. So Finn and Jake help the Nut Duke avoid being put in the dungeon, and also saving themselves from trouble.

This book is a comedy book and it’s suitable for people who love cartoons. It has some twists in the book which is interesting. Also, this book is for both boys and girls which is good. It’s really interesting and cool in ways. It tells the story in a different format, which is really cool because it’s from a television episode.

Reviewed by Kaylene

One PieceCover Eiichiro Oda

This Manga is called One piece and it is about a boy named Monkey D. Luffy, that ate a Gum-Gum Devil fruit that turned him into a rubber man. His mission is to be the king of pirates by getting treasure called the ‘One Piece’ but it is in the most dangerous part of the sea called the Grand line. In the Grand Line there are monsters and other devil fruit users.

Will he get the One Piece?

If you like adventure and action you will like this book, which is what I like the most about this Manga series.

Reviewed by Shea

Death BringerCover Derek Landy

This book is about the adventures of Skulduggery Pleasant, the skeleton detective, and his young apprentice Valkyrie Cain. This is the sixth book in the nine book series. If you like lots of action, magic, a complex story, plot twists, mystery and lots of characters then this book is for you. In the sixth book in the Skulduggery series, Death Bringer builds on the story in the first five books. I would recommend reading the first five books in the series before you read this one otherwise this book won’t make any sense.

Reviewed by Riley

The 13-Storey TreehouseCover Andy Griffiths

This story is about Andy and Terry Denton. Andy is the story writer and Terry is the illustrator. They live in a treehouse with 13 storeys.

Terry turns a cat into a canary by painting the cat yellow! So I think people who like comedy and funny things will like it.

It was the first book in the series, and in every book the treehouse gets an extra 13 storeys, so if you like this one you have other books to read after this.

Reviewed by Alexander

Spontaneous!

CoverAs touted on the cover of Spontaneous, this is “A novel about growing up… and blowing up” – and it didn’t disappoint.  I love a good YA read and this one caught my attention from the outset as I pondered the outrageous thought of teenagers spontaneously blowing up in front of their classmates.

Initially I felt a bit like I was peeking into a world that wasn’t my own. It was something akin to looking at my daughter’s Facebook or Twitter account and reading things I either didn’t know – or didn’t want to know – about her life. So I take my hat off to Aaron Starmer for realistically getting inside a teenage girl’s head. I might also add that at this point I am fervently hoping that my 15 going on 16 year old daughter’s life bears little resemblance to Mara’s. Hey! – I can live in my happy naïve little world – it’s fun here!

Thankfully this feeling didn’t last and I was pulled in by my need to know ‘why’. Now I won’t say that why kids were blowing up was answered to my satisfaction as the ‘why’ became more of a side story to the ‘how we live with this and don’t let it define us’ one.

Spontaneous takes the reader on a quite personal journey with Mara Carlyle as her classmates start blowing up randomly and her life changes as they all become the centre of much speculation and trepidation from the community and country at large. But what happens when this anomaly doesn’t differentiate between friend or enemy? And how do you stay sane when you don’t know who is going to be next or if you will have to suffer the horror of witnessing yet another classmate spontaneously exploding? This is the challenge that Mara and her graduating class have to work through while trying to hang on to even the smallest amount of normality to keep them grounded.

Now despite the obvious serious aspect of Spontaneous, it is written in quite a light-hearted way. My favourite bit of levity would have to be the ‘hang in there, we’re with you’ pep talk from the President of the United States – I’m still chuckling just thinking about it, so watch out for this one!

I did end up quite enjoying this book but I also think that any teenager will find it infinitely more relateable than I did. There’s plenty of swearing, raging hormones and a distinct lack of need for adult supervision. A teenager’s dream come true, really.

Spontaneous
by Aaron Starmer
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9781460753149

Teenage topics on Credo Reference and Gale Virtual Reference

Christchurch City Libraries offers an array of eResources for teens. One of our latest offerings is a variety of electronic reference books that address teen concerns. These books are different from eBooks – they are not downloadable but they are online for you to search on your phone or tablet any time of the day.

These concerns are of the personal type – maybe things you are not completely comfortable to discuss with others. Topics include mental health, teen pregnancy, diet, and suicide.  Anyone can post opinions to the internet or Facebook, but that does not mean they are true or helpful. If you are seeking valid information on these topics, these are a good place to start.

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Young Adult fiction and race relations

Lately my reading has seemed depressingly apropos, given the recent news from Baltimore, Ferguson and Charleston on PressDisplay. To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, and Harper Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, is being published next month, yet for some not a lot has changed during that time. Don’t believe me? Try the Young Adult books below, or have a look at my more extensive list on Bibliocommons.

How it Went Down, Kekla Magoon

The facts are these: Tariq Johnson, African American, was shot dead by white Jack Franklin, who then fled the scene. Everything else is in dispute. Told through the thoughts of eyewitnesses, family members, and a senatorial candidate cashing in on the publicity, How it Went Down details the struggles of a community trying to come to terms with and understand how, exactly, it went down.

This Side of Home, Renee Watson

As their historically ‘bad’ neighbourhood becomes trendy and increasingly filled with white families, twins Maya and Nikki find themselves growing apart. Maya is filled with indignation at the white businesses pushing poorer African American families out of their homes through increasing rents, whereas Nikki is happy that she can get good coffee from down the street. As they finish their last year of high school, Maya deals with her best friend moving across town, the possibility that she will go to college on her own, and a potential relationship with the white boy across the street.

Lies We Tell Ourselves, Robin Talley

Despite being set in 1959, the issues raised in Lies We Tell Ourselves are clearly not limited to that era. Set in a newly integrated school in Virginia, students are forced to work together regardless of race. When Sarah (African American) and Linda (white, integration opponent’s daughter) are assigned each other as partners on a school project, they both discover that some truths are not universal.

Cover of The Game of Love and DeathThe Game of Love and Death, Martha Brockenbrough

Love and Death select their players for their latest round of the Game. Love’s player, Henry: white, musical, orphaned but taken in by a friend’s wealthy family. Death’s player, Flora: African American, musical, orphaned and raised by her poor grandmother, and desperate to be a pilot. Set in Seattle during the Great Depression. If you like reading about unhappy people who play jazz, then this book is for you.

It’s the Children’s Choice in the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are trying something new this year with an expanded Children’s Choice Awards. Children in schools from around the country have been given the opportunity to select their own list of finalists for the 2015 Children’s Choice Award.  More than 6,500 children and young adults from 106 schools from throughout the country have selected their own finalists from the 149 books submitted for the Awards  It’s an awesome opportunity and something that I wish I had had the chance to do when I was at school. I think it’s a great list and it’s good to see the difference between the children’s finalists and those of the judges.

Voting for the Children’s Choice is open now and closes on Friday, 31 July. This year there will be a winner in each category. We’ll be reviewing some of finalist books and interviewing some of the finalist authors here on the blog. Go and vote for your favourite book now.

Check out the finalist list for the 2015 Children’s Choice Award:

Picture Books

Junior Fiction

Non-fiction

Young Adult Fiction

Librarians reading from the Young Adult collection

Tēnā koutou kātoa

Best picks, reader advisory, book recommendations, what’s hot, whatever you like to call it, sometimes the best reads come from someone else’s sharing.

Young adults' booksLuckily there are librarians with a passion for the Young Adult (YA) collections in our libraries. We spend our spare time engrossed in books that we love to share with our rangatahi and teenagers to encourage a lifelong love of reading. “Young Adult” in library speak defines collections aimed at around 13-19, BUT, I challenge you NOT to let that dissuade you from venturing forth.

Anyone who loves a great read and is open to alternatives, a change, and a specialised writing style should have a browse and see how often you go WOW!  I say ‘specialised’ because I would suggest that good YA writers have nailed the need to hook our young adults in with powerful writing skills, great story lines and immediate attention grabbing techniques.

Therefore, with all this in mind, at a recent meeting with colleagues who have this passion and carry some responsibility in their libraries around the YA collection, we all shared what we had been reading recently. This is a very diverse list and we hope you find something that will encourage you to give a YA title a go or will provide some help when you are being your teenager’s personal librarian.

The following titles are found in our Young Adults’ collections in your library; some are available as free downloadable e-books and audio-books as well.

As with life, books are difficult to put in specific boxes: these titles are from the ‘adult’ collections, but may well appeal to older teenagers.

Cover of Razorhurst Cover of The Boy's Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew Cover of The Facades Cover of Everybody Sees the Ants Cover of Only Ever Yours Cover of The Child Thief

So, whether you are up for a challenge or are tearing your hair out to get your offspring to read, there is something for everyone in the Young Adult collections in our libraries.

Let us know how many times you went WOW!

Dancing at the library: School holiday fun at Aranui Library

Aranui Library holiday activitiesAranui Library’s holiday activities started off with a couple of spontaneous bursts of creativity making Christmas cards using old book covers, and scrap paper.

Next on the agenda was Josh‟s big plan to hold stencil art workshops to coincide with the Rise Art Exhibition happening throughout the city. We held these every week which helped build enthusiasm and momentum for our trip to the museum at the end of the holidays.

Ebony created a quiz, the answers to which could be found all around the library. 1) It would be something to do while waiting in the computer queue and 2) it would require the participants to walk around and explore the library. Ebony challenged the kids to an Xbox Dance Central game and if she won, they’d do the quiz.

This segues quite neatly into the next phase of our holiday activity programme which was our Dance Central competition on the Xbox Kinect. The idea behind this was that we would give a prize to the person with the highest score at the end of the holidays. This particular activity required very little input from staff apart from when they felt we needed a challenge as well. Nicole and Ebony donated their dancing prowess to the cause.

Throughout all this we kept 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles going; two Wasgijs and two normal ones.

All our activities attracted roughly equal numbers of both boys and girls and gave us plenty of opportunities to spend quality time and bond with our youth customers.

Yay Aranui it was fun for all of us!!
Aranui Library holiday activitiesAranui Library holiday activitiesAranui Library holiday activitiesAranui Library holiday activities

TumbleBookCloud does not include a television

So I may or may not be in trouble with the spirit of Roald Dahl. You see he is quoted as saying:

So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

So the questions is would he have been as upset with computer screens – even if they are there to convey the content of a book?  Maybe if I had shown him TumbleBookCloud he would have been forgiving? TumbleBookCloud is aimed at young adults but may also be of help to ESOL students. It contains:

  •  E-books: the classics such as Macbeth and modern publications such as Victorio’s War;
  • Read-alongs: full-length professional narration and highlighted text so you can follow such titles as The Great Gatsby or Battle of the Bands;
  • Graphic novels: If you like comics then witness the exploits of  Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur in all its glory;
  • Audiobooks: Hear George Orwell’s 1984 or the award-winning Born Confused ;
  • Videos: see a Muhammad Ali biography, explore the Mystery Of The Crop Circles or find out what Snail Zombies are!

This resource can be found through the catalogue and at the Source. It can be used at home as long as you have your library card number and PIN, or in any community library.

If you seek the same sort of resource but for a younger audience try TumbleBooks.

Overbored!

CoverIt’s the school holidays and in library after library around the city the tug of war between harried adults and their bored offspring plays itself out.

Who is it that throws the switch on the cute kids who tumble into libraries with such joy, and turns them into bored youngsters – like overnight? Suddenly the only thing they want to do is Facebook and attempts to get them interested in any of the other wonderful Young Adult resources we have is greeted with disdain and the sing-song “Boring.” There is something passive aggressive about the bored, neatly summed up by Paul Tillich who said: “Boredom is rage spread thin.”

More disturbing yet is that being bored has somehow captured the higher ground and is considered to be intellectually superior and cool. Pity the poor young people who are still interested in things and, in some really nerdy cases – heaven forbid – are actually enthusiastic.

It’s got me thinking about this whole boredom thing and from this you can deduce that I’m so uncool that even boredom doesn’t bore me. In fact, the library is full of fascinating books on the topic. A good starting point might be Peter Toohey’s book Boredom – A Lively History or  History without the Boring Bits by Ian Crofton and then there’s the intriguingly named My Boring-ass Life by Kevin Smith. My favourite book on this topic is How to Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson, but I am also tempted by the help on hand for bad-attitude pets in 150 Activities for Bored Dogs. And no, there were no books for bored cats – just as you would expect.

I’ve often said that I’m never bored. But, now that I delve into the topic, I wonder if it was boredom  that I was was feeling from 8-9 on cold winter’s nights at the issues desk in the old Central Library: a feeling of restless lassitude which even the entertainment afforded by my colleagues (let’s call them Dean, Colin and Richard) could not hold at bay. Now that I can no longer work there, I’ll never know for sure.

I’ll leave you with two quotes on boredom – you’ll probably agree with one or the other:

  • “Boredom is the highest mental state.” – Einstein
  • “In order to live free and happily you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.” – Richard Bach

Fleur Beale

Dirt Bomb by Fleur BealeAs a writer you need to be a bit of a magpie. Tuck things away you hear or see.

Fleur Beale is one of New Zealand’s favourite and most prolific Young Adult and Children’s authors. She’s written 40 books, is winner of the 2012 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and her most recent title, Dirt Bomb, has been shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

And now she has the dubious honour of being the first author I’ve heard speak at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2012.

Yes, I’ve made it to Auckland! It’s wonderful to be here.

The friendly taxi driver drove along evenly surfaced roads to our central city base right in the middle of – be prepared to read and weep – a fully functioning metropolis. I just had time to touch base with my colleagues before I realised I only had 20 minutes to get to Fleur Beale’s session.

“Turn right. You can’t miss it,” they called as I tried to exit through the fire doors. Funny how finding your way around tall buildings is confusing these days. Anyway, they were right. You can’t miss the beautifully designed and very central Aotea Centre. I made the session with five minutes to spare.

Fleur Beale spoke to a large audience of mainly young adults. She looked small on stage but her passion for her craft soon filled the space and the audience listened attentively.

She discussed her new novel, Dirt Bomb, the story of Jake who desperately wants to buy a car but has no money and is ‘allergic’ to the idea of getting a job.  The author explained how placing a challenge in front of your characters creates a story.

Fleur BealeShe stressed the need for accuracy in fiction to made a story believable. Not a car fanatic, she enlisted the help of her mechanic brother when she was unsure about the tricky technical bits. No motorhead would accept a story that confused a points differential with a points distributor. The publishers even got a designer who is a ‘real Holden expert’ to do the cover.

Fleur Beale then went on to talk about Heart of Danger which is the third part of her Juno of Taris series.

The story behind the invention of Taris, her dystopian vision, was fascinating. Fleur was due to meet a friend in New York in September 2001. Of course, events happened to prevent her travel but six weeks later she decided it was safe for her to go. She arrived in New York City on Halloween and the flight crew were all in fancy dress costumes but their underlying anxiety was palpable.

Ground Zero was still smouldering, flags and flowers were everywhere and there was a sense that New York was shut off from the outside world. This experience made the author imagine what it would be like to be in a place that really is isolated. The dome-covered island of Taris in the cold southern ocean was born.

I won’t give away too much about the fate of Juno in case you are yet to start the award winning series but if on completion you’re still curious to see how Juno’s romantic relationship ends, the author has published this extra tale online.

A lively question and answer session followed. Someone asked the Fleur Beale what advice she would give to young writers. She said to be an author you must read a lot and enter any competition you can to gain practice at writing to deadlines and word limits. She also recommended reading a book first for pleasure then again to examine passages that worked particularly well. It would certainly be worth examining Fleur Beale’s novels in depth. She’s doing it right, no doubt about it.

The strength of writing comes from nouns and verbs, not adjectives and adverbs.