Tag Archives: children’s nonfiction

I Can’t Wait For…The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

I’m a huge Shaun Tan fan.  I love his stories and his artwork is always stunning.  The Arrival is one of my absolute favourite books because of the way that Shaun tells his incredible story using just illustrations.  I was excited to hear that Allen and Unwin were going to be publishing a very special Shaun Tan book in October, The Singing Bones.  It is a collection of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and it’s unlike any of Shaun’s previous books as he has created sculptures to illustrate each fairy tale.  I’ll be reviewing it soon and I hope to be able to show you some of the spreads from inside the book.

In this beautifully presented volume, the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm is wonderfully evoked by Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures.

Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.

The Singing Bones is published by Allen and Unwin in October.  You won’t want to miss this incredible book!

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Thunderbirds Are Go!

Are you a Thunderbirds fan?  Whether you love the original TV show or the reboot you’ll love these fantastic new books from Hachette New Zealand.

Official Guide Book

This official guide to Thunderbirds Are Go has all the information a new recruit needs.  Learn all about the history, vehicles and daring rescues in this definitive guide to International Rescue.

Sticker Activity Book

Are you ready to test your knowledge in this Thunderbirds Are Go Sticker Activity Book? From Sudoku and logic puzzles to a giant wordsearch and poster spread, this activity book is perfect for any International Rescue recruit.  Intelligence and reasoning are at the centre of every rescue and this book will test yours with these brain-bending activities.  So, if you think you have the skills to join the Tracy brothers then get your pens ready!

Crosscut Book

High radiation levels have been detected over Southern Africa – and are rising dangerously fast.  Can International Rescue find a way to stop the radiation leak and not get trapped in the treacherous mine? Find out in Crosscut, the first thrilling adventure – with free removable pop-up Thunderbird 1.

I love both the original series and the new CGI reboot so I was very excited to see these books.  They’re perfect for kids of all ages who enjoy the show.  The Official Guide Book is my favourite of these new books and it’s chock full of information about the characters and the vehicles.  There are profiles of each of the Tracy brothers, including info about their personalities and their responsibilities, and there are also profiles of new characters and vehicles.  I gave this book to my 11 year old sons and they were occupied for ages, poring over all the details and imagining their own adventures as the Tracy brothers. The sticker book is full of fun activities to keep kids entertained.  It contains over 50 awesome stickers (that I’m going to stick all over my notebook).  The Crosscut book is a great storybook for young Thunderbirds fans. It’s one of the stories from the TV series, but in book form.  The thing I love most about this book is the free 3D model of Thunderbird 1 that comes with the book and is super easy to assemble.

I hope there are plenty more Thunderbirds books to come (with other 3D models to collect).  Grab these fantastic books for the Thunderbirds fans in your life.

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Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman

You know sometimes when you see a book and instantly fall in love?  I had one of those moments recently when I laid my eyes on Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman.  I first saw this book on one of my favourite book websites, Love Reading 4 Kids and the cover really caught my eye.  When I finally got my hands on a copy of the book from my library I fell in love.  Excuse me while I gush over this book.

Creaturepedia is a visually stunning book about creatures from all over the world.  The book’s by-line is ‘Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth,’ and it’s not wrong.  Adrienne Barman introduces us to creatures great and small, huge and miniscule. Adrienne has split the book up into different sections, with names like ‘The Champion Breath-Holders,’ ‘The Masters of Camoflage,’ and The Show-Offs.’  The beauty of this book though is that it is perfect for dipping in and out of.  You could pick any page at random and it would make you go ‘Wow!’  Curious children could flick to ‘The Lilliputians’ and discover that the Bee Hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird at 5.7cm long or that the Dwarf Gecko is the world’s smallest reptile at 1.6cm long.

The text in the book is sparse, letting the reader focus on the gorgeous illustrations that portray these creatures.  Children will discover creatures that they never knew existed and will want to find out more about them.  Adrienne’s illustrations are vibrant, quirky and fun.  Each of the creatures has its own unique personality.  Take a look at just a couple of the page spreads from the book:

Artwork credit: This is an excerpt from Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman, published by Wide Eyed Editions.

Artwork credit: This is an excerpt from Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman, published by Wide Eyed Editions.

Before you even open the book you can tell you’re holding a work of art in your hands.  The publisher of Creaturepedia, Wide Eyed Editions, clearly knows what makes a great book.  The love that went into producing this book is evident, from the hardcover to the binding and the vibrant colours to the high-quality paper.

Get your hands on a copy of Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman and fall in love with this stunning book!

Creaturepedia is just one of the gorgeous books published by Wide Eyed Editions (distributed in Aus/NZ by Allen and Unwin).  Check out their website now.

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Winners of the 2015 Carnegie and Greenaway Medals

The winners of the 2015 Carnegie and Greenaway Medals were announced on Monday in the UK.  Tanya Landman was awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Buffalo Soldier and William Grill was awarded the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his debut picture book, Shackleton’s Journey.  They each received a medal and £500 of books to donate to their local library and William Grill also received the Colin Mears Award of £5,000.

xxxxxCharley, a young African-American slave from the Deep South, is freed at the end of the American Civil War. However her freedom is met with tragedy after her adopted mother is raped and lynched at the hands of a mob, and Charley finds herself alone with no protection. In a terrifyingly lawless land, where the colour of a person’s skin can bring violent death, Charley disguises herself as a man and joins the army. Trapped in a world of injustice and inequality, it’s only when Charley is posted to Apache territory to fight “savage Indians” that she begins to learn about who she is and what it is to be truly free.

The judges said: Engrossing from the very beginning, the strong narrative voice engages the reader in the world described; perfectly conveying raw emotions without the overuse of sentimentality. This is a beautiful, powerful piece of writing that will remain with readers long after the last page.

xxxxxIn the last days of the Heroic Age of Exploration, Ernest Shackleton dreamed of crossing the frozen heart of Antarctica, a place of ferocious seas, uncharted mountains and bone-chilling cold. But when his ship, the Endurance, became trapped in the deadly grip of the ice, Shackleton’s dreams of crossing Antarctica were shattered. Stranded in a cold, white world, and thousands of miles from home, the men of the expedition set out on a desperate trek across the ice in search of rescue.

The judges said: This beautiful non-fiction book seems to effortlessly bring a modern and fresh feel to the story of Ernest Shackleton, whilst remaining traditional and classic. This is an exciting, quality book which provides a true experience and reminds us that it is the people, not the journey, that truly matter.

I haven’t read either of these books but they both sound really interesting.  My picks were More Than This by Patrick Ness for the Carnegie and Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell for the Greenaway.  There were certainly some great books on the shortlist and I’m sure it would have been a tough decision.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. The shortlisted books this year were:

  • When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
  • Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossman
  • Tinder by Sally Gardner
  • Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
  • The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird
  • Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman
  • The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness

The Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people. The shortlisted books this year were:

  • The Promise, illustrated by Laura Carlin
  • Jim’s Lion, illustrated by Alexis Deacon
  • Shackleton’s Journey, written and illustrated by William Grill
  • Dark Satanic Mills, illustrated by John Higgins and Marc Olivent
  • Smelly Louie, written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner
  • Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse, written and illustrated by Chris Riddell
  • Tinder, illustrated by David Roberts
  • Rules of Summer, written and illustrated by Shaun Tan

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Filed under awards, book awards, books, Carnegie Medal, children, Greenaway Medal

2015 LIANZA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Awards Winners

The award ceremony for the 2015 LIANZA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Awards was held at the National Library in Wellington last night.  Congratulations to all the finalists and the winners!  Here are the winners:

  • Russell Clark Illustration Award Winner: Mrs Mo’s Monster by Paul Beavis– Gecko Press
  • Elsie Locke Nonfiction Winner: Maori Art for Kids by Julie Noanoa and Norm Heke– Potton and Burton Publishing
  • Te Kura Pounamu Winner: Kimihia by Te Mihinga Komene and Scott Pearson – Huia Publishers
  • Librarian’s Choice Award Winner: I am Rebecca by Fleur Beale – Penguin Random House
  • LIANZA YA Fiction Winner: Night Vision by Ella West – Allen and Unwin
  • Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award Winner: Conrad Cooper’s Last Stand by Leonie Agnew – Penguin

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Kids and YA new releases from Makaro Press

Peaceful Warriors by Raymond Huber (Children’s Nonfiction)

A war hero who refused to fight, students who stood up to Hitler, a ship that sailed into a nuclear test zone, a whole town which practiced non-violence. Peace Warriors tells the dramatic stories of people who chose non-violent resistance in times of conflict—stories of young men and women from New Zealand and around the world.

Young readers will discover that peaceful resistance can be as effective as military force, and that people power can change history.

Peace Warriors front cover

Nanotech by Denis Wright

High school students on a science field trip to Auckland are captured by white supremacist group NAB, whose target is American biologist Professor Meinhoff. He’s made a startling and dangerous breakthrough in molecular biology – a virus that could destroy entire ethnic groups if it falls into the wrong hands.

The kidnappers want it. The students and their teacher, Bernie, get in the way. Time is running out as they try to escape the kidnappers, save the Professor, and ensure that NAB’s shocking plan doesn’t succeed.

Nanotech front cover

You can purchase these books and more books from Makaro Press on their website – www.makaropress.co.nz/buy-online/

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D.E.S.I.G.N. by Ewa Solarz, illustrated by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski

Design of buildings and household objects are one of the last things that I would normally be interested in finding out about.  Thanks to H.O.U.S.E. and D.E.S.I.G.N. written by Ewa Solarz and illustrated by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski I know more about these two subjects than I thought I ever would.  One of the best publishers around, Gecko Press, have translated them into English and published them in New Zealand so we get to pore over these fantastic books and learn about some of the bizarre and fascinating objects and buildings that people have designed and brought to life.

One of the things  I really love about D.E.S.I.G.N. is that the illustrations are appealing to children, but the author hasn’t dumbed down the information.  There are 69 of the most innovative household items from the past 150 years in D.E.S.I.G.N. and I had no idea that most of them even existed. The illustrations are quirky, every page is full of bold colours, and there are diagrams showing you how each object works or is supposed to be used.  There is a handy key at the beginning of the book showing you what each of the symbols mean throughout the book.  These symbols on each page tell you what the object is made of, what it can be used for and which country the designer/inventor is from.  There’s also an index in the back to help you find your favourite objects.

D.E.S.I.G.N. is a book that you can come back to again and again, and discover something new each time.  It’s the perfect book for those inquisitive children, especially boys, who want to know how things work, and adults will love it just as much as children.  One of my top nonfiction books for children of 2011.

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