by Ken Whytock
This year we have had many students enjoying #4 in the series “The Slaves of Socorro“. It is a great story with lots of the sort of action that our boys love. The official book trailer, whilst advertising that the book is out, does nothing to really recommend it. So much could be put into the short trailer to really whet the appetite but this is a really bland attempt. We show trailers of our new books on a screen in our library. I am always looking for something to attract the eye of not only the good readers but especially the less interested students.
My challenge to our students is to come up with a better trailer, one that offers more to the imagination and may bring new readers to the series. We created a guide to the process and a rubric for class assessment several years ago. It has been used (and adapted) by students and teachers,and is available on one of our wikis
Congratulations to the authors and illustrators of the books below. To their editors and publishers and also the CBCA judges.
The CBCA winning books for 2014 voted on by the judges, were announced this afternoon. The judges have a difficult job and I know that a lot of deliberation and discassion has gone on. The CBCA awards are given to works that are the benchmarks for quality in Australian children’s literature. The books that made to this short list are being read and enjoyed by the boys. I wrote a post about the older readers shortlist with links for follow-up earlier in the year. As is usually the case the books chosen this year were quite varied in their styles and subject matter.
The 2014 CBCA Book of the Year awards have been given to the authors and illustrators in the following five categories from older readers to early childhood
- Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near
- The Sky so Heavy by Claire Zorn
Winner: City of Orphans: A very unusual pursuit by Catherine Jinks. Catherine has an interesting page about the title, there are teaching notes and, from the Allen and Unwin site, there are Reviews by teachers (PDF) also.
- My life as an alphabet by Barry Jonsberg. There are teaching notes, on the Insideadog site there are reviews by YA readers and plenty of other reviews including a Readplus review
- Light horse boy by Dianne Wolfer
- I’m a dirty dinosaur by Janeen Brian and Ann James
- Banjo and Ruby Red by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood
Winner: Rule of Summer by Shaun Tan. I am so pleased that another wonderful book by the brilliant author Shaun Tan won this section. There are some great resources – my post with links including to videos, a teachers’ guide here and a podcast on The art of Shaun Tan.
Eve Pownell Award for Information Books
Winner: Jeremy by Christopher Faille
- Welcome to my country by Laklak Burarrwanga and family There are Notes for teachers (PDF) and Reviews by teachers (PDF) from the Ale and Unwin site.
- Ice, wind, rock by Peter Gouldthorpe
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Melbourne has a rich and vibrant history. Although not old by European standards there are many great stories about the city. In the 1800’s it was extremely wealthy and many amazing buildings were built to show off that wealth although there were slums and a seamier side as well. There is now a new way to explore the Melbourne of the 1800’s.
The State Library of Victoria has developed a new app that offers a way of understanding more about the history of Melbourne as you are taking a stroll around the city. You can explore the fascinating history of the area and look behind some of the beautiful Victorian architecture. By using your location to show nearby buildings, the user can view more then 300 photographs of street views and aerial photographs as well as read the stories about each location. Some of the photos are as early as 1840.
There is so much to like: it’s free, it offers heaps of interesting detail. The only drawback is that it doesn’t have an android version. I can see it being of great value to our year 9 students when they are doing their city discovery week but only if they have an iphone or ipad.
One minute’s silence is another story remembering WWI. This one has text written by an author who I believe captures the Australian character very well and I enjoy reading David’s YA novels. This picture book really showcases his ability to use language emotively. Michael Camilleri’s images are equally powerful. I am thinking about the CBCA Book Week display and the theme this year “Reading to Connect: Connect to reading”. This book certainly enables us to connect to the past and not just to the ANZACs but to the Turkish soldiers as well.
One Minute’s Silence by David Metzenthen
It is hard to describe this book. You need to read it/experience it. This is a beautifully presented picture book that takes an unusual path to look at WWI’s Gallipoli campaign. It begins in a 21st century classroom with students depicted, in b&w drawings, as fairly uninterested. The minute’s silence for remembering those who died in WWI (at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month) is about to begin.
The text then repeats, page after page, the words “in one minute’s silence….” as it depicts, in b&w illustrations, and describes, in emotionally moving text, what happened at Gallipoli, from both perspectives. Using simple language, the reader is asked to think and imagine what the men at Gallipoli felt/thought/went through. The stories of courage and fear of the young men on both sides of the battle are seamlessly merged offering balance to the campaign that is very well-known in Australia.
The extract from Mustafa Ataturk’s moving speech is a fitting end to the book.
A great deal of careful thought has made the text and images deceptively simple as fit they together to give the reader a powerful experience. David Metzenthen‘ and Michael Camilleri have created an amazing book for all ages.