Mockingjay: Hunger Games #3

Over the weekend I bought the final instalment in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I have been waiting impatiently for this final instalment. I loved the first story and quite liked the second but I really want to know what happens to Katniss and her friends and if this dystopian world will be forced to change. There is plenty available on the net to help me publicize the book to the students and quite a few have also enjoyed the first 2 in the trilogy.

The Allen and Unwin blog (Alien Onion) wrote a good post about the trilogy and there are some  a positive  early reviews from the US in the Los Angeles Times, USA today and the  Huffington Post. These hint at some of the plot so ou may not want to read them before getting the book. I have been enjoying what I have read so far and will write a review on LibraryThing. There are already almost 70 reviews written up on this site.

You could show students the short video of author answering questions about the Hunger Games.

Or there are these 2 trailers.

The latest one:

The earlier trailer:

The film clip below offered a sneak peak into the pages of the book’s opening chapter (it was aired before the book was published). The video shows author Suzanne Collins reading from the beginning of Mockingjay.

You can test your Hunger Games knowledge by playing the games on the official Hunger Games site There are also downloads, video and audio files, and

You can also join the community on Facebook !


Book covers – a history

I recently found the Cover Archive by Alexander S. Budnitz.

I am always fascinated by the covers chosen for books and how why they change with new reprints and editions. The styles over the years also changed with the societal changes. There are some lovely early covers and some of the 1960’s and 70’s covers now appear to be just plain awful/garish to me.

This is a great site that displays the changing styles in book covers from the early 1920’s up to the present day, and it shows not only how they developed but also how many of those from a particular period were so similar in style.

This archive is about graphic design. I’ve attempted to label each cover with a date and, where possible, a designer (or design firm). The designs are the publisher’s property, and are here as an educational tool and as things to be enjoyed.

There were many covers were not familiar to me, even into later ones but that is to be expected because these were covers for the US editions and until recently we had little access to them as our editions were from the “Commonwealth” publishers. It is well worth having a look at the site that is constantly being updated.

Use the drop-down navigation above to browse covers by year, by select designers, and by other more ‘synthetic’ categories. Only the ‘Time Flies’ chronological section is fully updated. There are well over 1,000 covers in the archive. I keep adding to the collection, but can only ever represent a fraction of what’s out there.

Using the drop down list, the covers from 1900-1949:

Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Young Sherlock Holmes

I have just finished reading the first in the Young Sherlock Holmes series Death Cloud by Andrew Lane. I have always loved the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle and have also collected all the movie and television adaptations over the years.

This first in a new series of books is a good adventure story set in Victorian England. It does not matter if you have not read Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, this one works fine on its own.
Death Cloud is a fast-paced, interesting and easy to read story that should appeal to many YA readers. We have a unit on the crime genre and I have converted a few boys into Sherlock Holmes readers. This story and the other stories I have been reading recently, the Tim Pigott-Smith stories about the Baker Street Irregulars (First mentioned by Arthur Conan Doyle in the Study In Scarlet) are a good addition to the Sherlock Holmes section of the library.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Stephen Sewell (Animal Kingdom) podcast

Another interesting podcast from the Radio National BookShow. This is a discussion with writer Stephen Sewell. 

Stephen Sewell is best known as a prolific Australian playwright and screenwriter. He has recently had a novel published by Pan Macmillan. It is based on the film, of the same name, Animal Kingdom directed by David Michod. Stephen Sewell briefly touches on his entry into the playwriting field and then goes on to discuss the reasons for his change of  writing direction and why he decided to write this novel. It is an interesting discussion about the setting and the characters and how he recognised them and the approach to writing about them. 

It’s unusual in the Australian scene for a novel to follow the film but not unknown elsewhere, particularly in the US. Stephen Sewell’s Animal Kingdom is the story of revenge in a criminal family, the Codys, and it’s told through the character of 17-year-old Jay Cody, appalled by the family violence but inevitably affected by it and finally trapped by it. Stephen Sewell’s second novel, Babylon, is due out later this year.

Many boys at our school watched the movie as well as being fans of the Underbelly Tv series. There has been a lot of discussion and criticism about the glamourization of criminals and the underworld they live in. Stephen Sewell, who has often portrayed a grittier side of life, is articulate and thoughtful in his discourse.


CBCA Book of the Year 2010 Winners

I was very pleased that Jarvis 24 was the CBCA winner this year. This is a great book for the boys at our school. It is set in Melbourne, has Aussie Rules football as a background and a young man going through some easily  identifiable teenage concerns.

I wrote a post about a video interview with David Metzenthen. In it he talks about writing and about the novel earlier this year.

Older Readers Book of the Year

  • NB: These books may be for mature readers
  • WINNER: Metzenthen, David   Jarvis 24 (Penguin) Set in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne there is already a “hook” for our boys. It is a love story but not the “girly” stories that sometimes get written. It is a good story for young men. Marc is a private school boy on work experience. He meets Elektra, an elite runner from Broome, who has been “bought” by another big Melbourne school. The story is about how two young people see their world and the love story is really doomed from the start. Mark realizes that Elektra will run away from him in the end. For all that I have said, the story is humorous and concerns friendship and what you can offer to others. Many of our boys could relate to the characters and situation. 
  • It is also nominated for the Prime Minister’s  Literary Award 2010                                
  • Honour:  Clarke, Judith The Winds of Heaven (Allen & Unwin) (Upper age level) From the point-of-view of an older woman as she looks back on her life and choices made. A retell by Clementine and an ccount by Fan (city and country) A very sad story.                           
  • Honour:  Millard, Glenda  A Small Free Kiss in the Dark (Allen & Unwin) The author uses beautiful lyrical prose. We are presented us with a grim scenario – the outbreak of war (and it comes to Melbourne) – but it is the story of hope and survival in post-apocalyptic world.       

Younger Readers Book of the Year

  • NB: These books are intended for independent younger readers
  • WINNER:  Hirsch, Odo  Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool       
  • Honour:  Lester, Alison  Running with the Horses                 
  • Honour:  Murphy, Sally Illus: Potter, Heather  Pearl Verses the World   

Early Childhood Book of the Year

  • NB: Intended for children in the pre-reading to early reading stages
  • WINNER:  Shanahan, Lisa Illus: Quay, Emma  Bear & Chook by the Sea  A new adventure for Bear and Chook. It is about the value of friendship. A beautful protrayal of a journey/trip to the seaside. Beautiful colours and illusrtation – esp showing movement Fearless: Lovely portrayal of the passage of time (with the children growing bigger)
  • Honour:  Booth, Christina  Kip Predicable and repetitive storylines that are great for small children. Very interesting use of the streetscape that continues right though the book.                                           
  • Honour: Gleeson, Libby Illus: Blackwood, Freya  Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House Great use of illustration

Picture Book of the Year

  • NB: Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years. Some books may be for mature readers
  • WINNER:  Rogers, Gregory  The Hero of Little Street Wordless picture book. We have met the boy before in the Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard. The illustrations in the book range in size from small sequential frames, to frames of varying sizes on a page to a full page and there is one double-page spread.
  • Honour: Cool, Rebecca, Text: Millard, Glenda  Isabella’s Garden Eastern European fairytale-style used throughout the book. The story is a variant of ‘This is the House that Jack Built’ and it ebbs and flows as the seasons pass in the garden. A word in the rhyme also changes slightly. 
  • Honour:  Oliver, Narelle  Fox and Fine Feathers  Constructed like a fable, this book also has an environmental theme. The images extend beyond their frames and vary in size from page to page therefore visually interesting. There are wordless double-page spreads to some pages with small storyboard-like images. There is also a dramatic leaping fox page                                      

Eve Pownall Book of the Year

  • NB: Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years. Some books may be for mature readers
  • WINNER:  Macinnis, Peter  Australian Backyard Explorer                  
  • Honour:  Patrick, Tanya, Illus: Hutcheson, Nicholas  Polar Eyes: a Journey to Antarctica
  • Honour: Yalata & Oak Communities with Mattingley, Christobel  Maralinga: The Anangu Story

Artemis Fowl – music and pictures too

We recently obtained a copy of Eoin Colfer’s latest Artemis Fowl novel Artemis Fowl and The Atlantis Complex. We also have a new screen in the library so I thought I would have a look at promo material for it.

There are a few videos that would be good to use. The one below has Eoin Colfer explaining the background to the book.

I went to Eoin Colfer’s blog and here I found the post “Artemis Rocks – Original Music inspired by Artemis Fowl” This post has two music links with the music being inspired by the books. They are really quite catchy and are part of series developed by DisneyBooks. There are also music videos that use images from the graphic novels.

The Artemis Fowl site  has a lot more great videos and music to support the books, to aid discussion about the Artemis Fowl stories, help with the promotion of the stories and books or music/images selected for promos and also interviews with Eoin Colfer, the author, who our readers don’t always agree with, even if  he did write the books!

Here is one of the music video clips.