Posted on May 3, 2013 by Rhondda
The last week has been very busy working with English teachers to match the more reluctant boys in their classes with books they might enjoy. It can be hard work sometimes but so rewarding when you have some success. We also had parent/teacher interviews over two days/nights. The English teachers stressed that the boys should be reading in a number of interviews so I had a chance to talk to the boys and their parents about what might be of interest to them. It was also interesting to see that many parents after looking at the books on display (many were military fiction and biographies/autobiographies out for ANZAC Day) had their boys borrow a book for them to read.
I was very happy to talk about books and reading when I didn’t have an interview of my own. One of the books I enjoyed last year was Itch by Simon Mayo. I read a review in a blog from the UK and bought it via my Kindle to read. The book was later released as a paperback that we now have in the library.
The main character, who has the marvelous name of Itchinham Lofte, is fairly ordinary 14-year-old who loves science and has one obsession, his collection of elements. His obsession puts him and his friends in a lot of danger.
There is plenty of intrigue and action with a bad guy, in the form of a mad scientist and a ruthless corporation with dubious morals laying claim to the new element Itch has in his hands. Is the element dangerous and did it cause the death of the mysterious traveler “Cake”? Itch needs to know more but who can he trust with his secret?
An action adventure with a science theme made this book a little unusual. The pace was brisk and the ending a good one. So, after believing you have poisoned your whole class with arsenic gas then going on the run from a your mad science teacher and to top it off almost dying of radiation poisoning, what adventures could there be to write about? There were a few big questions unanswered at the end of the book so there are enough things open for a follow-up story.
The book trailer for the novel was also great. Watch it below.
Now the second in the series has been published. I have yet to read it. I will have to finish off some other books this weekend before I get a copy to read. I will probable get the kindle version before getting a hardcopy as well for the library. We have boys who like the digital format, boys that will read the story whatever the format and others who prefer the traditional book.
There is again a good book trailer to whet the appetite.
Filed under: literature, Reading | Tagged: book trailers, children's literature, Itch, YA literature | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 20, 2012 by Rhondda
Over the weekend I reflected on the winners and the shortlist in general. They were books that had appealed to many of our boys but it was interesting that the winners were mainly male authors, Ursula Dubosarky being the exception. This seems to remind me of a criticism of some other writers awards. Does it mean anything, probably not, and the judges were all female this year – so would there be a bias? As always I suppose there will be some discussion about what missed out and what was declared the winner but I have no complaints and I will be able to “sell” all of them to our students.
My favourite, Goliath (part of the Leviathan series)by Scott Westerfeld didn’t make the shortlist but I do like to read Robert Newton (Runner – set in Richmond in the early 1900′s and The Black Dog Gang, early Sydney) and Scot Gardner (One Dead Seagull and White Ute Dreaming amongst others). Both these authors have done a lot to encourage our boys here to read. Scot Garner has also been to the school in the past to talk to bots about writing. Many were very impressed and his books flew off the shelves for the next few months. Bill Condon has written some very interesting books but a smaller number of our readers seem to like to read his works.
It was also interesting that the publisher who had the most success this year was Allen and Unwin. I seem to think that Penguin have been the dominant publisher in the past. Allen and Unwin have certainly been very proactive in supporting some good Australian authors.
You can listen to a great podcast recorded by two judges, Trisha Buckley (2012 QLD judge) and Tehani Wessley (2012 WA judge), on the Book Nut Blog. They recorded their discussion on the shortlist for the 2012 CBCA Older Readers category a week before the winners were announced. They were very careful and there were no spoilers before the winners were announced. You can find the podcast on iTunes by searching The Book Nut or access via the Podbean website here
Find more information about Scot Gardner on the author’s homepage here. Read a review here. The publisher has downloadable notes for teachers and teacher reviews available on their site. Readingjay‘s review here and ReadPlus review
When We Were Two
The publisher’s page has some information. Read a review from the Fancy Goods site and a review from ReadPlus.
Find more information about Bill Condon on his website. Read a review here and another from Read Plus. The publisher has downloadable notes for teachers and teacher reviews available on their site.
Other shortlisted books:
Find more information about on the author’s homepage. Reviewed on the Good Reads site here.
Find more information about the author on her website. Read a review here. The publisher has downloadable notes for teachers and teacher reviews available on their site. Listen to Ursula Dubosarsky discussing The Golden Day on ABC Radio National’s The Book Show. You can also watch the BookTrailer
The author has a “mini site” as part of the Allen&Unwin site. Review here There is a Radio National podcast of an author interview available to listen to and you can read an interview with Andrew McGahan about The Coming of the Whirlpool (the Fancy Goods blog). There is also a discussion by the author on the Readings site here. The publisher offers downloadable notes for teachers and teacher reviews available on their site.
Filed under: literature, Reading | Tagged: Australian_literature, books, CBCA, CBCA Shortlist, children's literature, Reading, YA literature | Leave a Comment »