Sunday, September 21, 2008

Max by Bob Graham

Our Year Two classes are reading some past CBC winners. This week we re-visited Max by Bob Graham. I love this author/illustrator. His books are such special treasures. My favourite is actually the first book he wrote – Pete and Roland. This is most certainly out of print but as in Max, Bob Graham uses exquisite language to describe small but special moments. Roland leaves little breath marks on the mirror with his budgie breath. Max learns to fly but he does not become a superhero like his mum and dad he is content to be a small hero doing quiet deeds. Look closely at the end papers before you begin this book - front of plane, back of plane, morning, evening, Max in a stroller, Max can fly - so much information from two pictures.

My other favourite Bob Graham titles are Greetings from Sandy beach (this one demands you read with a special book voice) and Let’s get a pup whereKate briefly wore him like a hat”.

Bob Graham does not have a web site but I am sure you will find heaps of his very special books in any library or bookshop. If you see Oscar's half birthday look for the candles in the soap dish beside the bath. Bob Graham once saw this in a house he moved into. Try to read a Bob Graham book to one special child and enjoy all the tiny little details in his marvellous illustrations.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The book without words by Avi

A couple of weeks ago I went book shopping and I selected heaps of terrific new books for my school library especially some titles for my Senior Primary children in Grades 5 and 6.

Over the next few blogs I will report on these exciting new books. I can’t wait to read them all!!!

Last night I finished reading The book without words. What I hear you say how could you possibly read a book without words? Well it wasn’t easy. No seriously this is a fabulous title from one of my favourite authors Avi . It was first published in 2005 but I have only just discovered it.

This is your classic story of greed, magic, potions and true heroism. The book without words can only be read by people with green eyes and strong desires. Sybil, her friend Odo the talking raven and Alfric must work together to thwart the evil powers of the magician Thorston who seeks immortality.

My favourite scene is quite early in the book as Thorston is making the potion which contains the four stones he needs for immortality. One special ingredient is the life breath of a young girl. This breath comes from our heroine Sybil. “He bent over the sleeping girl. With a quick, scooping gesture, he caught up a fistful of her sleepy breath – a hand bowl as it were, of her life. He clapped his other hand over it, trapping it.”.

My copy of this book has some terrific extras such as discussion questions, a glossary and an interview with Avi. I even learnt a new word in this story – reeve. He is a man who works for the mayor and from what I can discover this word is still used in Canada.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Year 6 an important story and a new novel

This week I am reading “The colour of home” by Mary Hoffman to my Year 6 students. I continue to be amazed at how much this story affects me when I read it aloud. Hassan has just arrived in England as a refugee from Somalia. Every part of his school day is confusing including lunch which he does not recognise and so does not eat. But it is through the painting of his home that we are given a confronting insight into the real story of war and violence that Hassan as witnessed. This is such a powerful story which is told simply and with great compassion. A perfect book for Year 6 as they try to understand the plight of refugees in our world.

Last night I stayed up really late to finish “Princess Ben” by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. This book has all the ingredients I enjoy. Fairy Tale motifs are woven skillfully into the story, the feisty heroine is smart and unconventional, there is a little magic and at the end some romance. I can’t wait to see what my Year 6 girls think of this one. I especially enjoyed the sophisticated vocabulary used by Murdock and the authentic 'voice' of Ben (Benevolence) as she recounts this important year in her life. This author also has a web site http://www.catherinemurdock.com where I found it interesting to read her views on cover design. This is something I am constantly conscious of as I watch children select books in my library. I think the publisher made a good choice with this cover for Princess Ben.

I think this book would appeal to girls in Year 5 up to Year 8.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Why Momo?

This is my first blog - I guess everyone starts with this. My Favourite book is "Momo" and there will be more on that in a later blog. I am a children's librarian and I hope to use my blog to talk about the books I love.

This last week we have been reading "Crazy Hair Day" by Barney Saltzberg. He has a great web site http://www.barneysaltzberg.com/. I love all the messages of this book. It is okay to be different. Friends can help. All we need to know in life is that we are accepted by our friends. I estimate I have read this book to over 500 children and it is a winner every time.

So what happens in this picture book? Stanley comes to school all ready for Crazy Hair day but it is on next Friday. Today is class photo day. Stanley hides in the boys toilets in despair. The last page is so wonderful and all my kids love the little song Stanley sings for courage. Children aged 6 and 7 especially enjoy this story about Stanley and his friend Larry. Look in your library for a copy.