Category Archives: children’s fiction

2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Finalists

colour-logo-rgb-large1It’s finally here – the day I can shout about the wonderful books that we have chosen as the finalists in the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.  It was a mammoth task, reading our way through 120 or so books, to choose just 20 to be named the best books for children and young adults in New Zealand from last year.  It was incredibly difficult choosing only 20 books but we believe we’ve chosen the best books in each category and I’m looking forward to all the events during festival week that will celebrate these books, authors and illustrators.

Congratulations to all the finalist authors!  Check out the list below.

Picture Books

  • Machines and Me: Boats by Catherine Foreman
  • The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka
  • The Three Bears (Sort of) by Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Donovan Bixley
  • Toucan Can by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Sarah Davis
  • Watch Out, Snail! by Gay Hay, illustrated by Margaret Tolland

Junior Fiction

  • A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik
  • Dunger by Joy Cowley
  • Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe
  • Project Huia by Des Hunt
  • The Princess and the Foal by Stacy Gregg

Young Adult Fiction

  • A Necklace of Souls by RL Stedman
  • Bugs by Whiti Hereaka
  • Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox
  • Speed Freak by Fleur Beale
  • When We Wake by Karen Healey

Non Fiction

  • An Extraordinary Land by Peter Hayden and Rod Morris
  • Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story by Philippa Werry
  • Flight of the Honeybee by Raymond Huber, illustrated by Brian Lovelock
  • Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Paul Adamson
  • Wearable Wonders by Fifi Colston

Maori Language Award

  • Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page

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Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done by Stephan Pastis

Clueless detective Timmy Failure is back on the case in his latest book, Now Look What You’ve Done.

He doesn t like to pull rank. To reveal that he s this guy: Timmy Failure, founder, president, and CEO of the greatest detective agency in town, perhaps the nation. But he is. And he s about to crack the biggest case of his generation: a school competition to find a stolen globe. It s his ticket to bringing home a $500 prize, which is guaranteed to set him up for life. But someone is clearly trying to game the system. Hoodwink. Con. Defraud. So it s up to Timmy Failure, with the dubious help of Total, his lazy polar-bear partner, and his unlikely new ally, eccentric Great Aunt Colander, to find a way to avenge these shenanigans. Defeat this injustice. If he can only get his entry form in on time.

If you’re looking for a book full of ‘greatness,’ ‘shenanigans,’ quirky characters and antics that will make you laugh out loud, then Now Look What You’ve Done is the book for you.  Timmy’s latest shenanigans have everything I loved about the first book, but even sillier.  There’s more Molly Moskins, more Total (Timmy’s 1500 pound polar bear partner), more Corrina Corrina (aka The Wedgie or The Weevil Bun), but there are also hilarious new characters, like Timmy’s Great-Aunt Colander (inventor of the Boom-Boom Shoe Wheel).  Stephan’s cartoons are hilarious and add extra humour to the text.  I love the way that they capture Timmy’s somewhat strange outlook on the world.

The thing I love the most about the Timmy Failure books is the language that Timmy uses.  He sounds like a hard-boiled detective, even when he’s talking to his mum.  Kids who read these books will certainly increase their vocabulary.

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done is perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate.  It has been kid-tested and passed with flying colours.  I read both of the Timmy Failure books to my 10 year old boys and they absolutely love them.  I often hear them quoting things from the books.

Grab a copy from your library or bookshop now.

 

 

 

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Wonderful collections for little New Zealanders

Random House New Zealand have just released two new collections of stories for young New Zealanders.  Stories for 6 Year Olds and Stories for 7 Year Olds are chock full of short stories by some of our best local authors, and they’ve been specifically chosen for these age groups.

In these two books you’ll find stories by Kate de Goldi, Barbara Else, Margaret Mahy, David Hill, Sandy McKay, along with some talented new authors.  The stories are a mixture of the ordinary and the extraordinary, and about all sorts of things, from pets to monsters, climbing trees to camping.

They’re perfect books for their age groups, with a font size that’s appropriate and appealing stories.  They can be read by the children themselves or read aloud by parents or teachers.  There is something for every reader in these wonderful collections.

 

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Guest Post: Juliet Jacka on Night of the Perigee Moon

Think up your best insult, and be in to win a copy of Juliet Jacka’s award-winning Night of the Perigee Moon.

Do you like magical talents, talking cats, dogs and bats? Or how about fantastical feasts, yo-yo masters and entomologists in the making?

Then my book’s for you. Here’s the blurb.

All Tilly Angelica wants for her thirteenth birthday is to be normal! But with her changeover party looming and her mad, magical family gathering from near and far, Tilly is set to inherit a terrifying or tantalising talent of her own. But what if she inherits Hortense’s talent of super-smelling, with an oversize nose to match?

As the enchanted Angelicas gather and Arial Manor becomes a madhouse, Tilly’s troubles are tripled by her creepy cousin Prosper, and his sinister plot to bewitch the family by harnessing the powers of the Perigee Moon.

Halfway through the book, my heroine Tilly has to come up with a hit list of inventive insults. Here are three of her favourite ones.

“You’re an ox, an ass, a slubberdegullion!”

“You belligerent fleck of llama spit.”

“Earth vexing hedge pig.”

Can you come up with something similar? Send me your best one-liners (no rude words, thanks!), and the winner gets a free, signed copy of my book.

Have fun! Get inventive. Then email me at nightofperigeemoon@gmail.com

Juliet
Night of the Perigee Moon, winner of the 2013 Tom Fitzgibbon Award.

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My Most Anticipated March New Releases

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done by Stephan Pastis

“When you lose hope, find it.” – Timmy Failure He doesn t like to pull rank. To reveal that he s this guy: Timmy Failure, founder, president, and CEO of the greatest detective agency in town, perhaps the nation. But he is. And he s about to crack the biggest case of his generation: a school competition to find a stolen globe. It s his ticket to bringing home a $500 prize, which is guaranteed to set him up for life. But someone is clearly trying to game the system. Hoodwink. Con. Defraud. So it s up to Timmy Failure, with the dubious help of Total, his lazy polar-bear partner, and his unlikely new ally, eccentric Great Aunt Colander, to find a way to avenge these shenanigans. Defeat this injustice. If he can only get his entry form in on time.

What’s Your Favourite Animal? by Eric Carle

Bringing together some of the finest modern children s book illustrators of our time – Jon Klassen, Eric Carle, Lucy Cousins, Nick Bruel, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Tom Litchtenheld, Peter McCarty, Chris Raschka, Peter S s, Lane Smith, Erin Stead, Rosemary Wells, Mo Willems – Eric Carle asks, “What s your favourite animal?” and the result is an astonishingly colourful parade of animals from giraffes with their heads in the clouds to fuzzy dogs to squishy snails. Some artists reveal their choices with a personal story, others with a comic turn, but all will undoubtedly inspire children to draw and tell a story about their own favourite animal!

Shhh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Four friends, three big and one little, are out for a walk. Suddenly, they spot it – a beautiful bird perched high in a tree! They simply MUST have it and – SHH! – they have a PLAN. So they tiptoe, tip-toe very slowly, nets poised – “Ready one … ready two … ready three … GO!” But, at the turn of the page, we find a ridiculous bunch of very tangled characters and a blissfully oblivious bird, flying away. One hilarious foiled plan after another and it s clear that this goofy trio CANNOT catch that elusive birdie! But the littlest of this group, a quiet spectator up until now, knows that a bit of kindness and sweetness can go a lot further than any elaborate scam. Will his three friends follow his gentle lead or will they get themselves into even more trouble?

Enders by Lissa Price

Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael – teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations –With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.
The Firebird Mystery: A Jack Mason Adventure by Darrell Pitt

Jack Mason has grown up as an acrobat in a circus. Now, after the tragic death of his parents, he must live inside the gloomy walls of Sunnyside Orphanage in London, a city of fog and snow, filled with airships, steam cars and metrotowers that stretch into space.

Luckily for Jack, he’s taken under the wing of the brilliant and eccentric detective Ignatius Doyle. Little does he know how dangerous life is about to become.

A girl named Scarlet Bell comes seeking the great detective’s help. Her father has been kidnapped, and the future of the world itself may be at stake. Is the evil hand of Professor M pulling all the strings? Mr Doyle and Jack know there is no time to lose.

Night of the Perigee Moon by Juliet Jacka

All Tilly Angelica wants for her thirteenth birthday is to be normal! But with her changeover party looming and her mad, magical family gathering from near and far, Tilly is set to inherit a terrifying or tantalising talent of her own. But what if she inherits Hortense’s talent of super smelling, with an oversize nose to match? As the enchanted Angelicas gather and Arial Manor becomes a madhouse, Tilly’s troubles are tripled by her creepy cousin Prosper, and his sinister plot to bewitch the family by harnessing the powers of the Perigee Moon.

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Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done book trailer

He doesn’t like to pull rank. To reveal that he’s this guy: Timmy Failure, founder, president and CEO of the greatest detective agency in town, probably the country, perhaps the world.

But he is. And he’s about to crack the biggest case of his generation: a school competition to find a stolen globe. And win the $500 prize, which will set him up for life. But someone is clearly trying to cheat. Bamboozle. Hoodwink. Con. Defraud. So it’s up to Timmy Failure, with the dubious help of Total, his lazy polar bear partner, and his unlikely new ally, eccentric Great Aunt Colander, to find a way to avenge these shenanigans. Defeat this injustice. And obliterate Timmy’s arch-nemesis, the WEDGIE, aka the Worldwide Enemy of Da Goodness In Everything.

If he can only get his entry form in on time.

The second book in the hilarious Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis, Now Look What You’ve Done, is out now from Walker Books.  Look out next week for your chance to win 1 of 5 copies, thanks to Walker Books Australia.

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Win Pinocchio by Michael Morpurgo

“Now – there’s no point in pretending here – I was, and still am deep down, a puppet. Everyone knows Pinocchio is a puppet. I reckon I must be just about the most famous puppet the world has ever known. But the truth is I’m not just a puppet, I’m more than just bits of wood and string. I’m me. So I thought it was about time that I, Pinocchio, told you my story…”

So begins this stunningly beautiful interpretation of the classic story. Michael Morpurgo channels Pinocchio’s words to tell the famous puppet’s story in his own inimitable, cheeky and always funny way.

To celebrate Michael Morpurgo Month I’m giving away 2 copies of Michael Morpurgo’s latest book, his retelling of the classic story, Pinocchio.  It’s a beautiful little book, with colour illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark.  Even if you’ve read the story of Pinocchio before, you won’t have heard Pinocchio’s story quite like this.  Michael Morpurgo has a great way of bringing classic stories alive and retelling them in a way that is unique and entertaining.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winners are Stephanie and Vicki.

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Celebrate Michael Morpurgo Month this November

November 2013 sees a month-long celebration of Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful stories, marking his 70th birthday this year.

Throughout November the Michael Morpurgo website is hosting brand new author videos, audio downloads and competitions, focussing on a different book each day. From War Horse to Beowulf and The Butterfly Lion to Kensuke’s Kingdom, celebrate 70 years of Michael Morpurgo’s stories this November.

Michael Morpurgo is one of my favourite authors and every one of his stories is wonderful so I think it’s fantastic that there is a month dedicated to him.  I’ll be sharing some of my favourite Michael Morpurgo books here on the blog this month.

Here’s Michael Morpurgo talking about Michael Morpurgo Month:

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 8: Hard Luck

Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story?

Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 8: Hard Luck, is due out in November from Puffin Books.

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Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Book Trailer

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry – and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is the latest book from award-winning Kate DiCamillo.  I’m a huge fan of Kate’s  (The Tale of Despereaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane are among my most favourite books) and this book sounds just as marvellous.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is available now from your library or bookshop.

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