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News and Reviews from The Children's Bookshop
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The Bookmark
News and Reviews from The Children's Bookshop

 

April 2017


Tēnā koutou katoa,
Let's hope you're enjoying all the rain - it's perfect weather for reading and, don't forget, you can order your books online and have them delivered to your door so you need never leave the house again!

If you do feel the need to venture out, we'll be at NIWA (301 Evans Bay Pde, Wellington) on Tuesday 11th April from 5:30pm for the launch of New Zealand's Great White Sharks by Alison Ballance; written for intermediate age children, this book features a decade-long collaborative research project on white sharks at Stewart Island, led by NIWA’s Malcolm Francis and the Department of Conservation’s Clinton Duffy. RSVP by 7 April to emma.hawthorne@niwa.co.nz

If you're in need of some great recommended reading, the Carnegie Medal shortlist and the Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist for illustration are both out, as is The CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) shortlist for 2017 and New Zealand's own Storylines' Award Winners and Notable Books for 2017.

As always we welcome any comments or feedback you have. Feel free to email us at books@thechildrensbookshop.co.nz 


Happy Reading,
John, Ruth, Lucy, Sasha, Adrienne, Tiffany, Briana and Ruby

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David Hill: From the Cockpit

David Hill has been writing professionally for more than 30 years - children's books, radio and TV reviews, travel articles, short stories for the School Journal and a myriad of other media. Two generations of New Zealand school children know him best though for his children's books, and he has made a massive contribution to the genre. Stories about our children, in our country, facing issues and adventures that they recognise, validate their own experiences.

See Ya Simon was first published 25 years ago and is still studied in schools. Simon has muscular dystrophy and is stroppy and opinionated; his friend Nathan, who tells the story, is a true mate, kind and helpful. The mixture of empathy, humour and pathos as Simon physically weakens makes poignant reading.

David's latest focus though has been writing about our war history - and My Brother's War based loosely on the experiences of Archibald Baxter, the noted World War One conscientious objector, won the Junior Fiction Category in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.


We asked David about the change:

"Contemporary life for kids is STEEPED in technology – it permeates their lives in so many ways. And I’m a technophobe, so I’ve felt for some time that I can’t write convincingly about the electronic aspects of kids’ lives any longer.

"In my latest book Flight Path, the main character Jack, who’s flying in Lancaster Bombers over Germany in WW2 is, like most of my characters, a mixture – of my wife Beth’s Uncle Les, who did fly in that war; of some of my own uncles: their behaviour, talk, etc; of me and my son, and many others. I sort of assemble every character from many real ones.

David Hill


"I’d say about 25 per cent of total time is research. Most of it beforehand - online, from books, from talking to people, visiting places, etc. Many bits of research give me ideas for aspects of plot, character, etc. For example, visiting the site of the Japanese POW Camp in Featherston that features in Enemy Camp helped me with the mood I wanted to create near the end of the book, and also gave me specific details regarding landscape. As I’m writing the first draft, which I always do by longhand, I’ll suddenly realise I need another detail, so I’ll scuttle off and find that. I enjoy research enormously; I can put off the actual writing of the book for ever while I research.

"I'm always afraid I’ll be called out for getting facts wrong, but either I’m lucky, or people are very forgiving. Sometimes it works the other way – people say how they’ve been pleased to read about what they remember. After ENEMY CAMP was reviewed on Radio NZ, Sir Tipene O’Regan phoned me to tell about his Dad, who’d been a Royal NZ Navy doctor in WW2, and who tended to the Japanese wounded after the shooting. That’s very moving, when it happens."

Book Reviews
(books we love)
Flight Path

Flight Path (David Hill)
$20 PB


Flight Path is about the bombing of German targets at the end of World War 2, and that period where the Luftwaffe was supposedly defeated but kept fighting.

It is a fairly typical story of why young men joined up - the need for some excitement that they weren't getting in boring old New Zealand - and 18 year old Jack is no exception. He's been trained as a bomb aimer in Lancaster's in Canada and has arrived in England all fired up with patriotism and a belief that the enemy are there for the taking. That isn't the case though and as he finishes each mission, and more and more of his squadron don't make it back to base, he starts to alter his views, becoming less enthusiastic, more questioning and less nationalistic.

This is a fantastic story, a mixture of real adventure and true history, the bombing of German cities, tactical targets, shipping; they flew all over Germany and France, and they were chased down by German fighter craft and shot at by ground defences. It was exhilarating, terrifying and often fatal.

David has brought this to life with great story-telling, but woven in with meticulous research, and not just historical data -  he manages to capture the essence of the times - the rationing, censorship, the propaganda. This is a nuanced story too - it looks at issues of the futility of war, the effects on civilians, and the similarity to each other of opposing soldiers. For older teenagers but also adults interested in our war history.


- John

You can hear John talking about Flight Path (and Brian Falkner's 1917: Machines of War) on RNZ's Nine to Noon here.

Buy Now
The Secret Keepers

The Secret Keepers (Trenton Lee Stewart)
$18 PB

 

From the author of The Mysterious Benedict Society series comes a brand new book and a whole new world. Full of twists and turns and so much tension, it's a perfect read for 9-13 year-olds and a must-read for all Mysterious Benedict Society fans regardless of age (like me). And at over 500 pages, it'll keep your book-swallowers busy over the holidays.

Eleven-year-old Reuben and his mum are barely scraping by when, on his daredevil exploration of the city, he discovers an old pocket watch hidden inside a wall. Reuben hopes it will lead to a change in their fortunes but things are not so simple in the city of New Umbra, a frightening place where groups of men called The Directions stalk the streets and all are under the control of someone (or something) known as The Smoke.

The watch has a secret which Reuben soon discovers - but this leads to yet more secrets - some wonderful and some terrifying. And others are after the watch. Soon Reuben is being hunted across the city - and it's up to him to keep himself and his mum (with whom he has such a lovely relationship) safe. Codes, hidden passages, secret doors, tunnels, traps and puzzles abound but ultimately this is a story about friendship and family and the power of secrets.

- Lucy

Buy Now
Everything, Everything
Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon)
$21 PB


Seventeen-year-old Maddy is allergic to the world. Stepping outside the sterile sanctuary of her home could kill her. But then Olly moves in next door and wants to talk to her. Starting with emails, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. As Maddy and Olly fall in love, she realises there's more to life than just being alive.

I loved this powerful novel when it was first published two years ago, in particular the twists and turns as the story unfolds. This new edition ties in with the US release of the movie next month, starring Amandla Stenberg (Rue in The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson (Jurassic World, The 5th Wave).

Yoon’s debut is a wonderful read for age 13 plus. She has since written The Sun is Also a Star, about Natasha and Daniel who fall in love just as her family is about to be deported to Jamaica.


- Ruth
Buy Now
The Silent Invasion
The Silent Invasion (James Bradley)
The Change Trilogy #1
$10 PB


Set 10 years into the future, James Bradley’s apocalyptic debut YA novel delves into the not-so-unbelievable scenario of extreme climate change and is at a special introductory price of just $10.

The human race is dying because plants, animals and humans have been infected by spores from space and become part of a vast alien intelligence. When Callie, 16, discovers her little sister Gracie has been infected, they flee to the Zone in Australia’s Far North to avoid termination by the ruthless officers of Quarantine. But what Callie finds in the Zone is just the beginning of this page-turning thriller for age 13 plus, the first book in The Change trilogy by the author of adult novels The Resurrectionist and Clade. His partner is Mardi McConnochie, whose Quest of the Sunfish series for ages 9 to 13 is one of our favourites and which also has a climate change theme of rising sea levels.

Listen to James Bradley talk about his trilogy on soundcloud here.

- Ruth
Buy Now
Strange the Dreamer
Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor)
$30 PB
 
From the author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, comes the story of Lazlo Strange - a lowly novice, and Sarai - prisoner of a ruined temple.
 
All his life Strange has been fascinated by the legends surrounding the lost city of Weep, silent almost two hundred years in the impenetrable desert. He's the one who has studied their legends, reconstructed their language. He knows the moment the city lost it's true name and became simply "Weep". When travellers appear on the burning horizon he knows the city is calling - to him.

Sarai barely remembers the days before her imprisonment, hidden deep within the temple. No-one must ever know she or her siblings survive, aided by the elderly nursemaids and the sparse vegetables that grow in the temple gardens. To be discovered is to be destroyed. But in her dreams, she walks among the people of the city, know their hopes, their fears. Their weaknesses. Someday, she and her kin will be free.
 
A dazzling tragic fantasy of Shakespearean proportions for ages 14+. Lazlo may risk his life to journey to Weep, but even in death he might never leave.

- Sasha
Buy Now
We're All Wonders
We're All Wonders (R.J. Palacio)
$21 PB


August (Auggie) Pullman is a boy wonder, whom we met and loved in the inspirational novel Wonder which has sold over 5 million copies. Now R J Palacio tells the story of the boy with the facial abnormality as a picture book for younger readers.

We’re All Wonders shows children what it’s like for a little boy to look very different but who longs to fit in and be accepted for who he is underneath. Palacio describes the text as a “haiku version of Wonder”. Coupled with her bright, cartoon-like illustrations, it’s an ideal way for adults to talk about empathy, difference and kindness with young children.


- Ruth
Buy Now
Moo and Moo and the Little Calf too
Moo and Moo and the Little Calf too
(Jane Millton)

$20 PB


With a bump and a shudder and a wobble of the udder,
With a rocking and a rolling and a slip and a slide,
Moo and Moo and the little calf too began...their...ride.


When the Kaikoura earthquake struck in November last year two cows and a calf from a Clarence Valley farm in Marlborough were stranded on a grassy “island” platform when their paddock slid 80 metres. Their story, and their subsequent rescue by farmers, attracted worldwide interest.

Now they are the stars of a picture book written by Jane Millton, whose family owns the farm, and illustrated by Deborah Hinde who has form. She illustrated Cow Power about Cow No 569 who saved her farmer in a flood in Dannevirke in 2004 - and her farmer Kim Riley wrote that book (unfortunately now out of print).

Moo and Moo and the Little Calf Too is a colourful, rhyming piece of Kiwiana – and a cheerful take on a frightening event.


- Ruth
Buy Now
Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be
Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be
(Gemma Cairney)

$25 HB


"This book is here to be your guide in times of need."

Thickly packed with information, advice and stories exploring the messy and magical parts of our lives, Open is bright, colourful and full of warmth.

Topics discussed include bodies, heartache, porn, periods, healthy friendship, role models, anxiety, death, depression, self-harm, love, family, communication tools, sex, sexuality, the internet, masturbation and so much more. There are a number of helpful lists such as an A - Z of ways to have a happy mind and a list of songs to cry to.

Open is written for everyone. It is especially great for teenagers going through all the stages of learning about the world around them, their emotions and their bodies.


- Briana
Buy Now
EVO 3D Augmented Reality Books
EVO 3D Augmented Reality Books
$20 HB


Augmented reality books are few and far between. Alzzam Education in Korea have done an excellent job in this series of seven non-fiction titles. Once you've downloaded the app onto your phone or tablet, you can have all sorts of dinosaurs chasing your siblings round the house, bees buzzing in the kitchen and turtles swimming through the shelves of the school library.

The books themselves contain quite a lot of information but even more pops up on your device the instant you turn the pages. The kids can excavate fossils, explore the habitats of different animals and so much more - and take selfies with their favourite animal! We have Dinosaurs, Bird, Animals, Ocean, Bugs, Herptiles, and Farm Animals available to order.

Perfect for group work in class, wet days in the library or stuck in the house, and for long car journeys (who doesn't want a giraffe galloping alongside the motorway).


- Lucy
Buy Now
New Releases in April and May (and June!)
(so exciting!)

The World's Worst Children 2
(David Walliams)
$25 PB


The brilliant follow-up to David Walliams' bestseller The World's Worst Children! Ten more stories about a brand new gang of hilariously horrible kids from everyone's favourite children's author, illustrated in glorious full colour by Tony Ross. It will publish in paperback on 1 June 2017.

David Walliams said, “I wrote the first collection of short stories with the reluctant reader in mind. I wanted to create a book that would be very friendly for children whatever their reading ability, full of surreal humour and colourful illustrations from the great Tony Ross. This new book has all new characters and stories and I am thrilled to be unleashing these horrible children on the world.”

Order Now
The Castle in the Sea
The Castle in the Sea
(Mardi McConnochie)

Quest of the Sunfish #2
$17 PB

Twins Will and Annalie, their friends Essie and Pod, and Graham the talking parrot, Escape[d] to the Moon Islands in the first book in this series and are now beset by storms and pirates as they race across the oceans to find their scientist father before Mr Beckett and the Admiralty track him down.

An excellent adventure series for 9-13 year-olds.
Buy Now
The Treehouse Fun Book 2
The Treehouse Fun Book 2
(Andy Griffiths)

$18 PB

Stuff to write! Pictures to draw! Puzzles to solve! And so much more! Grab your Treehouse passport and hold on tight for an adventure through the bestselling Treehouse series. Join Andy, Terry and Jill as they combine animals, create magical kingdoms, time travel, solve crosswords, search for words, colour and scribble, spot the difference, find the odd one out, crack codes and so much more!

Keep the kids super busy these holidays and team it up with The Treehouse Fun Book 1
Buy Now
The Changeover
The Changeover
(Margaret Mahy)

$20 PB

With Firefly Films' feature film adaptation of The Changeover due out in late September, Hachette have released a new edition of the 1984 Carnegie Medal winner with an introduction by Elizabeth Knox and an excellent new cover. Make sure you read it before seeing the film.
Buy Now
Release
Release (Patrick Ness)
$28 HB
Available May 2017

The most personal and tender novel yet from Patrick Ness, the twice Carnegie Medal-winning author of A Monster Calls.

It's Saturday, it's summer and, although he doesn't know it yet, everything in Adam Thorn's life is going to fall apart. But maybe, just maybe, he'll find freedom from the release. Time is running out though, because way across town, a ghost has risen from the lake...

This uplifting coming-of-age novel will remind adults what it's like to fall in love and let those 14+ find out for the first time.
Order Now
The Blue Cat
The Blue Cat
(Ursula Dubosarsky)

$23 PB


A boy stood in the playground under the big fig tree. 'He can't speak English,' the children whispered...

Sydney, 1942. The war is coming to Australia - not only with the threat of bombardment, but also the arrival of refugees from Europe. Dreamy Columba's world is growing larger. She is drawn to Ellery, the little boy from far away, and, together with her highly practical best friend Hilda, the three children embark on an adventure through the harbour-side streets - a journey of discovery and terror, in pursuit of the mysterious blue cat ...
Buy Now
The Dark Prophecy
The Dark Prophecy
(Rick Riordan)

The Trials of Apollo #2
$26 PB
Available May 2017


The god Apollo, cast down to earth and trapped in the form of a gawky teenage boy as punishment, must set off on the second of his harrowing (and hilarious) trials.

A must-read for Rick Riordan / Percy Jackson fans - if you haven't read book one of The Trials of Apollo, The Hidden Oracle, yet, grab a copy before the second book comes out in May.
Order Now
Competition
New Guard
CHERUB Competition

Thanks to Hachette, we have a signed hardback of New Guard, the last (and most exciting) book in the CHERUB series, to give away. Just tell us what CHERUB stands for and go in the draw to win the book. To enter, send us an email with your answer to books@thechildrensbookshop.co.nz CHERUB Competition by April 30th 2017. All correct entries will go in the draw and the winner will be notified.
Competition Winners
AniMalcolm
AniMalcolm Winner

Congratulations to Brodie Becker, who'd love to be a cat and laze around - just like her cat Rico, the winner of our signed hardback of AniMalcolm. Thanks to everyone who entered and to David Baddiel's publishers, Harper Collins, for the prize.
New NZ Mother's Day Books
With Mother's Day looming (Sunday, May 14th), New Zealand publishers have been busy producing new loving tributes to Kiwi mums.
My Meerkat Mum
My Meerkat Mum (Ruth Paul)
$19 HB

Up. Stretch. Left. Right. Sleepy Mum. Morning light.
Right. Left. Down. Up. Noisy burrow. Wake up, pup!

 

The award-winning Ruth Paul's use of lovely staccato rhyme continues in her lively, colourful My Meerkat Mum as watchful Mum is constantly on the lookout for any danger that might harm her three mischievous children. Previous books include My Dinosaur Dad; Stomp and Bad Dog Flash.

Buy Now
A Mother's Day Dilemma
A Mother's Day Dilemma (Juliette MacIver)
$18 PB


Rhyme maestro Juliette MacIver proves that the best gift is one made with love in A Mother's Day Dilemma. Her charming characters, Prince Pierre and Princess Emma, face a huge dilemma in choosing the right present for their mother, the Queen, who has EVERYTHING! Or does she?

Canterbury artist Janine Millington delivers vibrant illustrations in her picture book debut.
Buy Now
The Best Mum in the World
The Best Mum in the World (Pat Chapman)
$20 HB

Following on from The Best Dad in the World, Pat Chapman tells us what makes Mum so special in the companion The Best Mum in the World. This Mum is brave, funny and can even drive a tractor. Cat Chapman (no relation), whose last book was When We Go Camping, evokes the warmth of summer in her colourful illustrations. There’s also a special page for children to draw a picture of their own mum.
Order Now
Edited for you by our senior bookseller and all-around best staff member ever, Lucy Bailey.
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