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New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Judge Announcement

I’m thrilled to finally be able to announce that I’ll be joining Barbara Else and Ant Sang as a judge for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards next year.  I’m incredibly honoured to be a part of the awards and it’s very exciting.

I’ve been a part of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival for the last 3 years, as the coordinator for the Canterbury Festival.  This is a role that I have loved as it has given me the chance to take the finalist books out to my region and share them with children of all ages.  The roadshow that our Canterbury committee did this year for the Festival was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a librarian, as we got to talk about the finalist books and read them to so many children in our region.  Having the opportunity to actually be one of the three people choosing which books are the best books in New Zealand over the past year feels absolutely incredible.  We have so many talented authors and illustrators in New Zealand who create some magical, captivating, adventure-filled and even heart-breaking books, so it is going to be a huge task to choose the best.

I’m going to have lots of reading ahead of me – approximately 120 books!  I’m certainly looking forward to receiving my first box of books and starting my reading.  There will be books that I’ve already read and loved, but there are sure to be some treasures that I’m yet to discover.  I hope to share some thoughts on my life as a judge here on the blog and talk about some of the books I’m reading.

How exciting is it to be a judge? Let Kermit show you:

To find out more about the 2014 judges check out the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards website.

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Winners of the 2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards

The winners of the 2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards were announced in Wellington last night.  The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards are awarded by librarians for outstanding children’s books by New Zealand authors and illustrators.  There were some wonderful books on the shortlist again this year, including some of my favourite books of 2012.

I was really glad to see two of my favourites in the shortlist.  Rachael King’s Red Rocks and Mandy Hager’s The Nature of Ash were the winners in their categories.  They are both amazing books and it’s so good to see them get the recognition and awards that they deserve.  Check out the full list of winners below.

LIANZA Junior Fiction Award – Esther Glen Medal
For the most distinguished contribution to literature for children aged 0-15.

Red Rocks by Rachael King, (Random House New Zealand)

LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award
For the distinguished contribution to literature for children and young adults aged 13 years and above.

The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager, (Random House New Zealand)

LIANZA Illustration Award – Russell Clark Award
For the most distinguished illustrations in a children’s book.

A Great Cake by Tina Matthews, (Walker Books Australia)

LIANZA Non Fiction Award – Elsie Locke Medal
For a work that is considered to be a distinguished contribution to non-fiction for young people.

At the Beach: Explore & Discover the New Zealand Seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Candler, (Craig Potton Publishing)

LIANZA Librarians’ Choice Award 2013
Awarded to the most popular finalist across all awards, as judged by professional librarians of LIANZA.

My Brother’s War by David Hill, (Penguin NZ)

Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori)
Awarded to the author of a work, written in Te Reo Māori, which makes a distinguished contribution to literature for children or young people.

Ko Meru by Kyle Mewburn, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly (Scholastic)

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The 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards winners

The finalists in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards gathered in Christchurch last night for the awards ceremony. The awards night is always themed and this year the organisers went for a ‘Witch in the Cherry Tree’ theme in honour of Margaret Mahy.  The book of the year was also renamed the ‘New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year’ this year.  I was  nervous myself, hoping that my favourites would take out the award, so I’m sure the authors and illustrators themselves were incredibly nervous.  Overall, I was pleased to see a couple of my favourites win awards, but I was disappointed that others missed out.  I think that Red Rocks and The Nature of Ash are amazing books and if I could give Rachael and Mandy an award I would.

Read below to find out who won each category, as well as the Honour Book and Children’s Choice Award.

Best Young Adult Fiction and New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

Into the River by Ted Dawe

Best Non-Fiction

100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton & Riria Hotere

Best Junior Fiction

My Brother’s War by David Hill

Honour award, Junior Fiction

The Queen and the Nobody Boy: A Tale of Fontania series by Barbara Else

Best Picture Book

Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy & Gavin Bishop

Best First Book

Reach by Hugh Brown

Children’s Choice

Melu by Kyle Mewburn, Ali Teo & John O’Reilly, Scholastic NZ

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On the road with the Canterbury NZ Post Children’s Book Festival Roadshow

Last week I spent the week out on the road with two awesome librarians, Saskia Hill and Susan Dodd, as part of the Canterbury NZ Post Children’s Book Festival Roadshow.  We decided that this year, we wanted to talk about and read the finalist books to as many children as we possibly could over the course of the Festival week.  We battled heavy rain, flooding, horrible traffic and a flat tyre to deliver our Roadshow to the kids of Canterbury.  We visited 11 schools, 13 preschools, presented 2 Books Before Bedtime Pyjama Parties and read to over 6000 children over the course of the week.

Part of our programme was performing Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop’s wonderful picture book, Mister Whistler.  I danced around as Mister Whistler, while Saskia read the book and got the kids interacting with the story.  Here’s a couple of photos of my performance.

It was an awesome experience and something that we hope to repeat again next year.  These were my highlights of the week:

  • Dressing up as Mister Whistler and dancing around while taking my clothes on and off.
  • Giving away heaps of copies of Kyle Mewburn’s Melu and Rachael King’s Red Rocks to kids all around Canterbury and seeing their faces light up.
  • Seeing kids so eager to answer questions about the finalist books so they can win a bookmark.
  • Meeting lots of enthusiastic teachers and librarians who love books.
  • Reading and talking about books with kids of all ages and doing it all with one of the coolest people around, Saskia Hill.

Here is a small selection of our photos from the week:

Best of luck to all the authors and illustrators on the shortlist for the awards.  I’m really looking forward to going to the awards ceremony here in Christchurch tonight.  I’ll be live Tweeting from the event so if you want to know the winners first, follow me – @zackids.

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Can you guess the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards finalists?

nzpcba_new_logoThe New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival starts on Monday 17 June (that’s next week) and our committee here in Christchurch can’t wait to bring the Festival to the children of Canterbury.  The main part of the Canterbury Festival this year is our Roadshow.  We’re taking the finalist books on the road and visiting schools and preschools throughout Canterbury, from Ashburton up to Rangiora.  We’ll be reading and talking about the finalists and I’ll be stepping in to Mister Whistler’s shoes each day.

We wanted to have a cool way to promote the books to the kids in each of our sessions so we came up with the idea of reading an extract from some of the books.  The kids will then have to guess which book the extract comes from.  It’s an easy idea that you could use in your classroom or library too.  See if you can figure out which 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards finalist book these extracts come from.

  • ‘Then came the long metal howl.  In the canyon mouth, Hodie saw a bright blur.  Next moment a wind-train shot out of the canyon and snaked above the valley floor towards the Depot. Lamps shone at the front.  Four large swivelling wings on the engine made it shift this way and that to catch the currents of wind.  Larger wings were spaced along three carriages, one of which looked like a dining car, and a van that must be for luggage.  Concertina metal cages linked the carriages.’
  • ‘All the time, the song raced round and round his head, and his feet tried to dance him round and round the platform.’
  • ‘Gorging grubber, larvae-lover, snail-scratcher, beetle-battler.’
  • ‘He looked out to sea.  He had never been down here at night and he took a moment to enjoy the strangeness of it.  In the patches of light, he thought he made out seaweed in the surging water, and something else, floating out there, waiting.  Seals!  He stood up and shivered in the wind.  He heard it again: ‘The skin. Jake.’ A row of seals, their wet heads dark against the sea, watched him, like a row of sentries guarding the sea.  Or the beach.’
  • ‘The creatures here have to watch out for other hungry animals looking for a meal.  Some dig into the sand to escape.  Some hide under rocks.  Others have clever ways of protecting themselves.’
  • ‘We’re safe where we are, but we don’t wait around to speculate, just run like hell until we’re through the gardens and back in town.  It’s chaos there.  People packing out of offices.  Shops boarding up their windows.  Lucinda takes her leave of us, promising she’ll keep in touch.  All the frantic activity underlines how stuffed I feel, not helped when Mikey whines about being hungry and tired the rest of the way home.’

I hope you all have a great festival week, whatever you may be doing.  I certainly can’t wait until the awards ceremony in Christchurch on Monday 24 June to find out who takes out the awards!

 

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The 2013 Inky Awards Longlist

One of the coolest things about being at Reading Matters was hearing the live announcement of the 2013 Inky Awards longlist (especially when many of the authors on the list were in the audience).  The Inky Awards are the Australian teen choice book awards for teen literature, voted for online by the readers of insideadog.com.au, and named after the site’s wonder-dog, Inky. There are two awards: the Gold Inky for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky for an international book.  Check out the visual longlist below and go to insideadog.com.au  for more information about each of the books.

Gold Inky Longlist

 

Silver Inky Longlist

What are your favourites?  I’m actually glad I can’t vote because I’d have a real problem trying to chose my favourite, especially the for Gold Inky.  So many great books!

We seriously need to set up a teen choice book award in New Zealand.  I may need to start a petition and send it to Storylines.

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2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards Finalists

The finalists in the 2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards were announced last week.  The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards are awarded annually by librarians for excellence in junior fiction, young adult fiction, illustration, non-fiction and te reo Maori.

There are some wonderful books on the list this year and it’s good to see some of those that missed out on a New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards nomination.  There are a couple that I’m surprised to see on the list but a lot of my favourites are there.

Congratulations to all the finalists!

LIANZA Junior Fiction Award – Esther Glen Medal

  • The Queen and the Nobody Boy: A tale of Fontania by Barbara Else, (GECKO Press)
  • Drover’s Quest by Susan Brocker, (HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd)
  • When Empire Calls by Ken Catran, (Scholastic NZ Ltd)
  • Red Rocks by Rachael King, (Random House New Zealand)
  • The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate de Goldi, (Random House New Zealand)
  • Lightening Strikes: The Slice by Rose Quilter, (Walker Books Australia)

LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award

  • My Brother’s War by David Hill, (Penguin NZ)
  • The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager, (Random House New Zealand)
  • Marked by Denis Martin, (Walker Books Australia)
  • Earth Dragon, Fire Hare by Ken Catran, (HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd)
  • Snakes and Ladders by Mary-anne Scott, (Scholastic NZ Ltd)

LIANZA Illustration Award – Russell Clark Award

  • The Dragon Hunters by James Russell, illustrated by Link Choi, (Dragon Brothers Books Ltd)
  • Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Gavin Bishop, (Gecko Press)
  • Kiwi: The Real Story by Annemarie Florian, illustrated by Heather Hunt, (New Holland Publishers Ltd)
  • Blue Gnu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Daron Parton, (Scholastic NZ Ltd)
  • Melu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly, (Scholastic NZ Ltd)
  • A Great Cake by Tina Matthews, (Walker Books Australia)

LIANZA Non Fiction Award – Elsie Locke Medal

  • At the Beach: Explore & Discover the New Zealand Seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Candler, (Craig Potton Publishing)
  • Eruption! Discovering New Zealand Volcanoes by Maria Gill, (New Holland Publishers (NZ) Ltd)
  • 100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton and Riria Hotere, (Te Papa Press)

Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori)

  • Hautipua Rererangi story by Julian Arahanga, illustrated by Andrew Burdan, (Huia)
  • Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua by Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira, (Huia)
  • Arohanui by Huia Publishers, illustrated Andrew Burdan, (Huia)
  • Ko Meru by Kyle Mewburn, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly, (Scholastic)
  • Taea ngā whetū by Dawn McMillan, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Keinyo White, (Scholastic)

You can follow the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards:

Website: http://www.lianza.org.nz/awards/lianza-childrens-book-awards
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LianzaChildrensBookAwards
Twitter – #lianzacba

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Activity Ideas for the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Finalists

There are heaps of great activity ideas out there to help you celebrate the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.  These ideas are aimed at teachers but you could try them out at home too.

There are some general Schools Resources on the Booksellers NZ New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards pages – http://booksellers.co.nz/awards/new-zealand-post-childrens-book-awards/2013resources.

Check out these books and their activity ideas:

Picture Books

Junior Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

Non-fiction

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2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Finalist: My Brother’s War by David Hill

My Brother’s War by David Hill is a finalist in the Junior Fiction category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.  This was one of the books that I hadn’t read at the time it was released, but I read it recently as part of my challenge to read all of the 2013 finalists. 

I’ve been a huge fan of David Hill since I was a kid.  I remember See Ya Simon being read to me at school in Year 6, laughing out loud one minute then crying the next.  One of the things I love about David is that he hasn’t stuck to one type of story.  He’s written historical stories, hilarious school stories, thrilling adventure stories, and even some science fiction (Bodies and Soul is one of my favourites).  David is a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards with his novel, My Brother’s War, which offers a different perspective on the Great War and the New Zealanders who went to fight.

My Dear Mother,

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve joined the Army!

Don’t be angry at me, Mother dear. I know you were glad when I wasn’t chosen in the ballot. But some of my friends were, and since they will be fighting for King and Country, I want to do the same.

It’s New Zealand, 1914, and the biggest war the world has known has just broken out in Europe.

William eagerly enlists for the army but his younger brother, Edmund, is a conscientious objector and refuses to fight. While William trains to be a soldier, Edmund is arrested.

Both brothers will end up on the bloody battlefields of France, but their journeys there are very different. And what they experience at the front line will challenge the beliefs that led them there.

My Brother’s War is a compelling story about two brothers who have very different opinions and experiences of the First World War.  William feels very strongly that he needs to play his part in the war and so he enlists in the army.  The people in his town commend him for being brave and doing his part.  He believes he is doing what is right to protect his country and the people he loves.  He can’t understand his brother and thinks that his refusal to enlist is ‘wrong and stupid.’  His brother, Edmund, is a conscientious objector who believes it is wrong to go to war and kill other people.  The story switches between their two points-of-view so you see the huge differences in their experience of war.  The story is mainly told in the third person, but each of the characters write letters to their mother which gives more of an insight into their thoughts and feelings.

You experience the build up to the fighting and the horrible conditions of the battlefield through William’s story, but it was Edmund’s story that shocked me.  I knew a little about conscientious objectors before reading this book but Edmund’s story really opened my eyes to how horribly they were treated.  Conscientious objectors like Edmund were labeled cowards and treated like second-class citizens.  Edmund constantly refuses to obey army orders, but in the end really has no choice.  He’s put on a boat and taken to France where he is forced on to the battlefields.  In the training camps he is locked away with little food and water, and he also faces excruciating punishment for not following orders.  Edmund is incredibly strong-willed though and stands by his principles.

A quote from Edmund towards the end of the book sums up war perfectly , ‘I never knew some men could do such dreadful things to one another, and I never knew some men could be so kind and brave.’

My Brother’s War presents a view point of war that hasn’t been dealt with before and it’s a story that all older children should read.  It would be a great book to share as a class text in Year 7/8 as it would create a lot of discussion.

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2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Finalist: The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi

The ACB with Honora Lee is a finalist in the Junior Fiction category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.  I reviewed it in October last year,  so if you want to hear all about it and find out what makes it such a worthy finalist, read on.

Kate De Goldi’s last book, The 10PM Question, was a wonderful story and won many awards.  It’s a story that’s loved by adults and children alike, and Kate’s latest book, The ACB with Honora Lee, is bound to have the same crossover appeal.  I first heard about it when Kate talked about it at the Schools Programme for the Christchurch Writer’s Festival and I’ve been dying to read it ever since.  I immediately fell in love with Perry and the residents of Santa Lucia.

Perry’s mother and father are busy people … they’re impatient, they’re tired, they get cross easily. And they think that only children, like Perry, should be kept busy. On Saturday mornings Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the Santa Lucia rest home, but Gran never remembers them. ‘Who is that man?’ Honora Lee asks when Perry’s father leaves the room. After movement class is abruptly cancelled, Perry is allowed to go to Santa Lucia on Thursday afternoons. She discovers her Gran has an unconventional interest in the alphabet, so Perry decides to make an alphabet book with the help of Honora and the others. Soon everyone is interested in Perry’s book project.

The ACB with Honora Lee is a quirky story about an unusual girl who finds friendship in an unlikely place.  The story is brimming with humour, joy, wisdom, and a cast of colourful characters.  It’s set in the Beckenham loop in Christchurch (where I live) and I only wish that I could go and meet Perry, Honora Lee, Dorris and the rest of Kate De Goldi’s characters.  Perry is a unusual girl, who acts and sounds older than her 9 years.  She seems quite lonely when we first meet her.  Her parents are wrapped up in their own problems and don’t seem to have time for her.  They don’t take much notice of her and enroll her in after school activities that she doesn’t really enjoy.  Even when she really enjoys going to visit her gran and the others at the rest home, her parents don’t understand.  Perry makes lots of new friends at Santa Lucia, including her gran’s friend, Doris, and Stephen and Audrey who work there.  The fact that her gran doesn’t remember her doesn’t seem to worry Perry, she just reminds her who she is each time she visits.  The thing that I like the most about Perry is her love of words.  If she hears a word she doesn’t understand she has to find out what it means.

Perry’s gran, Honora Lee, is a real character.  She may not remember who the people around her are, but she remembers songs and lines of Shakespeare.  As one of the characters describes her, she’s ‘crabby as an old apple,’ but she comes out with some hilarious lines.  I especially like it when her and Perry are playing I Spy, because she always gets it around the wrong way.  Here’s a great example, ‘I spy with my little eye,’ said Gran,’something beginning with fat.’

It’s Kate De Goldi’s whole cast of wonderful characters that make The ACB with Honora Lee such an enjoyable read.  Their interactions provide some funny, embarrassing and touching moments.  It’s a story that will be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart and it will leave you with a smile on your face.

4 out of 5 stars

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