BOOK WEEK WINNERS 2013

OLDER READERS

Click on the covers to read reviews:

  WINNER

 

   SEAHEARTS by Margo Lanagan

    A bewitching  tale about selkies, love and family

 

 

 

 

           HONOUR BOOKS:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 YOUNGER READERS

 

 WINNER

 

   CHILDREN OF THE KING by Sonya Hartnett

    A haunting tale set in wartime England

 

 

                      HONOUR BOOKS:   

What would you do?

TITLE = OTHER BROTHER

AUTHOR = SIMON FRENCH

GENRE = BULLYING, GROWING UP, IDENTITY, FAMILY, PARENTS,

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

Kieran’s view of himself and his world is forced to change when his cousin Bon and a new girl, Julia, arrive at his school.  Kieran wants to fit in, but Bon doesn’t know anything about fitting in—he looks different, he wears the wrong clothes, he says weird things—and Julia doesn’t care about fitting in, establishing her own style and following with seeming ease.  Bon’s arrival doesn’t just threaten to upset Kieran’s relationship with the cool kids at school, but also his relationship with his parents, his sister, his Nan and his budding relationship with the elusive Julia.  This is a story about families and relationships, about bullying and fitting in, about discovering where your values lie and that the world is more complex than you think. This is a 2013 CBCA Short-listed Book for Younger Readers.

Recommended (mrsk) ****

Wrestling with words

TITLE = LOUIS BESIDE HIMSELF

AUTHOR = ANNA FIENBERG

GENRE = FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, PARENTS, GROWING UP, IDENTITY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

Louis is not your typical hero but he finds himself in a situation where courage and loyalty are needed, and where he must make some important decisions and take   action.  Louis loves words and would much rather read, take notes and add to his ‘Word Bank’ than join his mates Singo, Hassan and Elena skateboarding or playing basketball.  However, Louis’ father comes from a long line of wrestlers and tries constantly to share moves and arm-wrestles with him, despite his own doubtful skill. When a burglar breaks in one night, Louis fails to use his wrestling moves but instead uses his own special skill—words—with unexpected results.  The intruder is Cordelia, an older girl who has run away from family problems and whom Louis and his mates decide to hide.  This is a humorous yet thoughtful book with great characters. Through Louis, the author celebrates the richness of language and suggests that there is a hero in all of us, and that if we are true to ourselves we can be true to others.  This book is a 2013 CBCA Notable Book for Younger Readers.

Recommended (mrsk) ****

Not what the title suggests

TITLE = POOKIE ALEERA IS NOT MY BOYFRIEND

AUTHOR = STEVEN HERRICK

GENRE = SCHOOL LIFE, GROWING UP, IDENTITY, FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

This is a humorous and insightful verse novel about the lives of the students in a small country school.  There is the usual mix of characters–outgoing, shy, sporty,  academic, sad, silly and thoughtful and each has a story to tell about themselves and those around them.  The verses are simple and yet clearly capture the emotions and view point of the different narrators.  I particularly enjoyed a series of running jokes that threaded through the stories but was also moved by the subtler dramas which highlighted the importance of friendship, belonging and the value of leading by example, and with compassion.  This novel will appeal most to readers who enjoy stories that focus on people and their thoughts and feelings.  And the story behind the unusual title?  Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out.  This is a 2013 CBCA Short-listed Book for Younger Readers.

Recommended (mrsk) ****

If we could talk to the animals what would we learn?

midnight zooTITLE = The Midnight Zoo

AUTHOR = Sonya Hartnett

GENRE = War, Animals, Injustice

INTEREST = All ages

This is only a small volume and it is neatly packaged. But beneath the bright blue cover is a story that packs a real punch. There is a magical quality about Sonya Hartnett’s writing in this fable; it is lyrical, and the imagery is often quite breathtaking in its originality. But despite this magic, there is a stark simplicity about the main story: three children travelling across a war torn country, take shelter from a bombing raid in what they realise is a small, private zoo. Over the course of the night they spend here, the animals and the children share their stories – stories that reveal man’s cruelty, persecution & oppression. The freedom that is sought by the animals is recognised by the children and there is real poignancythat such wisdom should come from the mouths of babes. This novel should have broad appeal because despite the central storyline, it is not bleak, in fact it is amazingly uplifting. This is accentuated by the bright blue cover with such noble animals on display – the fact that some of these animals are on the inside flaps or on the back of the book suggests they have a freedom belied by the zoos gates.

There are echoes of an earlier Sonya Hartnett novel (The Silver Donkey) in this book – and also echoes of the graphic novel: Pride of Baghdad, in which 4 lions gain freedom from the Baghdad Zoo during a bombing raid (See a review of this novel on the Graphic Shelf blog)

It is easy to see why the Midnight Zoo was shortlisted for the CBC book of the Year (OR) in 2011.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

A triumph of the human spirit

the absolutely true storyTITLE = THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN
AUTHOR = SHERMAN ALEXIE
ART = Ellen Forman
GENRE = IDENTITY, GROWING UP
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 – 10

Arnold Spirit is well named because he is a bright boy with amazing resilience. Despite facing physical handicaps (as a result of his birth), despite being a regular target of bullies, despite the drawbacks of growing up on an Indian reservation (where drunkenness thrives and ambition seems to die) Arnold is determined to face life head on; even if this means leaving his comfort zone and his best friend to attend a white school 20 km from home.

At the heart of this story is how a young teenager learns to cope with being different; how he develops a hard core of inner strength to help him cope with the loss of friends and beloved family members. How he learns to make new friends and how he (and those around him) begin to develop a measure of tolerance and understanding.

Arnold is often a humorous narrator. Combined with the sketches he scatters throughout the book, this makes the story quite accessible even for students who may not be keen readers. Whilst the story may focus on a Native American Indian, it should nevertheless resonate with Australian students. It has also won several, well deserved awards.

Highly Recommended (dma)  *****


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.