Sunday, August 30, 2009

CBC Book Week winners, short list and slogan

Now that the dust has settled on another exciting book week at my school I thought I would pen a few thoughts about the books from 2009 and our library happening over the last week.

Firstly the slogan – wow what a great one! I did struggle with Reading Rocks, Readiscover and Book Now! but not with Book Safari. We certainly had great fun with this slogan. The children made maps, binoculars, postcards, jungle animals and vines. In fact every day last week was just filled with fun. My library is overflowing with amazing creations.

On the short list front I just loved Puffling by Margaret Wild and so did all my youngest children. We were of course sad when it received no prize this year. Leaf by Stephen Michael King (Honour Book award) is a very special book and we were able to display the pages on our Interactive Whiteboard which really allowed whole classes to see all the little details. Even though Leaf is quite long I found even the youngest children became really involved. How to Heal a Broken wing (Early Childhood Picture book of the Year) worked well with slightly older students. As I have said in a previous blog, Bob Graham is one of my all time favourite picture book people. We prepared for How to Heal a Broken wing by reading Pete and Roland which is where Bob Graham began. I think talking about care and compassion, the really special family that Will belongs to and those key words of love, time and hope really helped the children to relate to this very special book.

I am not a huge fan of Colin Thompson, although I do appreciate the amazing hard work and detail in the illustrations of his earlier books like How to Live forever and Tower to the Sun. The Big little book of Happy Sadness (Honour Book) has a lovely story with all the right ingredients for me – an emotional story, an intelligent story that allows the reader to ‘fill the gaps’ and just the right amount of humour. I just love the slipper foot George and his grandma make for their three legged dog. I am not a fan of the illustrations but the children in my school did enjoy this book. From the short list we were hoping Nobody owns the Moon by Tohby Riddle would be awarded a prize. This book has a lovely message and such interesting illustrations.

Now we can start thinking about the 2010 slogan – Across the Story Bridge!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Untangling Spaghetti by Steven Herrick

I really enjoy poetry books especially ones by Steven Herrick such as Tom Jones Saves the World (it made me cry) and Do-wrong Ron (it made me laugh and cringe) so I was keen to read Untangling Spaghetti. This is quite different to the other books I have mentioned, because this is an anthology of Herrick poems and not one story, however it does contain some real gems.

Here is a short example

smoke alarm

during the night
our smoke alarm went off
and off and off and off and off
and off and off and off and off
and off and off and off and off
and off and off and off and off
and off and off and off and off

until dad hit it with his shoe

Other favourites are The Librarian, Advertisements for poetry, Guess that word and The Poetry Visitor.

For a quick read and a quick laugh why not borrow a poetry book from the library?

Pig City by Louis Sachar

Here is a book that is good from the very first word to the very last. I enjoyed this book so much I found myself reading it over breakfast then I would come to a part that was so shocking that I simply had to stop and take a break. A few hours later back I would come. Then I simply gobbled up the last fifty pages of this terrific book.

Pig City was first published as Sixth Grade secrets in 1987. I think we used to have this in our library but I had not read it perhaps because back then I didn’t know how much I loved the story telling of Louis Sachar.

In this book we have our central character Laura and her Year 6 classmates who are in the final stages of the year prior to High School. Laura starts an exclusive gang called Pig City and this is where the trouble really starts.

Mr Doyle, the long suffering class teacher, makes students copy dictionary pages as a punishment. By the end of the year Laura is certainly in deep trouble – she has to copy 16 pages!

This is a story about misunderstandings, rivalry jealousy, gangs and the ups and downs of school life but more than anything this is a story about friendship.

This book will certainly be one I remember for a long time. Students in Years 4, 5 and 6 will really enjoy this realistic, funny, sad, horrifying story about school life.