For the science buffs

George’s Secret Key to the Universe
by Lucy & Stephen Hawking (HAW)
Genre: Science, Science fiction, Adventure
Interest level: Years 7/8

The co-author of this book, Stephen Hawking, has one of the best physics brains in the world. Lucy is his daughter. Together they have created a entertaining blend of scientific fact & fast paced adventure. The storyline is clever: a curious young boy (George) from a family who distrust technology & refuse to use it (eg no TV, no computer) meets a scientist who loves astronomy & science. Together they learn about the joys and pain of science & technology. The main characters are believable but the adventure story on its on (becoming lost in space) probably targeted at a Year 5/6 level; what lifts it above this, is the science that is explored in the process. The presentation is outstanding; facts are provided clearly, in a language that non-scientists can understand, and they are accompanied by amazing astronomical photos from NASA and other sources. Thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable and would be especially enjoyed by those who enjoy a mix of fact and fiction.

Highly recommended (dma). *****

A Great Graphic Novel

Artemis Fowl (Graphic Novel version) (COL)
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic novel, Adventure
Interest level: Years 8 and up

This is an excellent graphic novel adaptation of a much-loved novel. Great use of contrasting colours to highlight the two parts of the story; the Fairy world is blue/green whilst Artemis’ world is generally toned in browns. The basic story line remains the same as the original novel (by Eoin Colfer): a child genius, who happens to be a criminal, plots to get fairy gold by holding a fairy to ransom. There is an interesting mix of fairies & magic & modern gadgetry in the story which includes several clever twists and turns. Whilst Artemis’ home life is sad (his Dad is missing, assumed dead, and his Mum seems to have lost her mind) there is also plenty of sardonic humour to keep the reader entertained.

Recommended (dma) ****

A Dragon Book I Adored

The Dragon Companion by Carole Wilkinson (WIL)
Genre: Fantasy
Interest level: Years 7 and up

This book springs from Carole Wilkinson’s great love of dragons and displays an enormous wealth of research. Whilst much of the book is developed like an encyclopaedia with definitions and descriptions, there are also some delightful short stories & fables. A beautifully presented book; plenty of information is provided in an entertaining manner and the illustrations and overall layout is outstanding – it is indeed a joy to behold! This would provide great reading for anyone interested in dragons and fantasy creatures for it includes dragons from all cultures (East & West) – and we soon learn that the origin of these creatures are very different! You don’t have to have read any of the Wilkinson dragon trilogy to enjoy this book.

Highly recommended (dma). *****

Book Review

The Lady Grace Mysteries: Assassin by Patricia Finney (FIN)
Genre: Historical fiction, Murder-mystery
Interest level: Years 7/8

The narrator of this historical mystery is Lady Grace: a Lady in Waiting at the court of Queen Elizabeth 1, and an independent young woman. When the man who is her intended husband is accused of murder, Lady Grace tries to uncover the truth, with the help of her two friends (a maid & a juggler). Historical elements are woven in neatly eg clothes, makeup, food, habits of the day are described, without overwhelming the fast paced action. An entertaining story with a strong female character at the centre.

Recommended (dma). ***

Melbourne Writers Festival

On Tuesday August 26th we went to Melbourne for the Young Writers Festival.
We traveled by bus, when we got there the first person we saw speak was:
John Flanagan.
He told us about his new book coming out. About a new character in the new book thats named after a girl who emails him alot named Maddi. And other things.
After we saw him we saw Emily Rodda.
She told us about how she named her characters by their personality.
And how she got her ideas from normal everyday life like watching a wasp carry a parralised spider up her window gave her an idea for when Lief, Jasmine and Barda were stuck in mud and other creatures had put them there, in one Deltora Quest book.
She also told us about that a story can come from the easiest things such as:
Her twin sons when they were 3 heard someone say their friend’s grandma laughed so hard she nearly fell into the supermarket freezer. They changed the story to she did fall in and her head got stuck in the ice. So the supermarket man came with an axe and chopped her up into little pieces.

So as you can see, stories come from anything, commensense, what could happen and pure imagination.

We all thought the festival was fun and very interesting.

From Sonic and hogwarts_girl

John Flanagan

I thought it was interesting because John Flanagan explained things about his books more thoroughly than Emily Rodda. He was nice and had a bit of a laugh with us. I think his series (Rangers Apprentice) is good. I disagree with his theory about not reading books when you are writing your own.

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Welcome to the reading room

Hello fellow booklovers! Welcome to the reading room – the place where you can share your thoughts on new books, old books, authors you love (or not) and other reading related activities.

To get us started, I will share some news from our Junior Book Club. Term 3 has been a really busy time for us. We began the term with a Desert Island Reading project – sharing our list of books that we MUST have if we were stranded on a desert island. Meanwhile we were also busy reading the short-listed books for this year’s cbca “Book of the Year” awards. During Book Week we had lots of fun activities in our library – from treasure hunts to book quizzes to Guess the Author to a fun debate between staff and students (about books, of course)! The week culminated in a Book Banquet which has become a bit of a tradition here – on the last friday, at lunchtime the Book Clubbers have a fun lunch in the Library (which is closed to other users) – we talk about the cbca books… eat and drink… and play book related games.

The following week, the Book Clubbers took a bus to Melbourne to attend the Melbourne Writers Festival where we attended sessions with John Flanagan and Emily Rodda. But I will let our students share their stories about this event with you in our next post.