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) ****

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.