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The New Zealand Festival Schoolfest Team have taken all the effort out of preparing your students for their big day out on 10 March.
Download the awesome teaching resources for each event.

A World Where Music Reigns with Anna Smaill - 9.45am

 







Life Online: Jamie Curry and Mallory Ortberg - 11.00am

 







WW1 Stories: Marrying Truth and Fiction - 12.30pm

 







Slam Poetry with Anis Mojgani - 1.45pm

 









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Phone 0064 4 801 5546
Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House, 156 Victoria St, Te Aro,
Wellington 6011, New Zealand

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School trips. Great for the kids, extra work for you. That's why any superstar teacher or school librarian who books their students into an event for the SchoolFest Writers Day deserves to have some fun too. Register your class and for every Writers Day session you book, get two free adult tickets to any $19.00 session during New Zealand Festival Writers Week for yourself. It's our little way of saying 'thanks'!

Follow three simple steps to your well-deserved R&R:

Step 1: Check that your school is subscribed to the NZ Book Council for 2016. You can join anytime.
Step 2: Book your students into one or more of the amazing SchoolFest Writers Day events.
Step 3: Reward time! Let the SchoolFest team know at the time of making your booking that you're a NZ Book Council member and they'll ensure you're sent the full New Zealand Festival Writers Week programme and information on how to redeem your reward when it's announced on 28 January.

Some Writers Week events have already been announced. So spread the word! Bring your school to one SchoolFest Writers Day session, or come to all four. Treat your girlfriend, husband, Mum or mate. Share the organising with colleagues and club your free tickets together for an out of school party. We'll see you there! Find out more.


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Phone 0064 4 801 5546
Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House, 156 Victoria St, Te Aro,
Wellington 6011, New Zealand

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Learning a Lot: Lynette Reflects on Her Time with the NZ Book Council

18-04-2016

My cat, Gizmo prefers sitting on cardboard to riding in airplanes!

When I hopped on a plane from Dunedin two and a half years ago, I had my cat wailing in the hold, and all my worldly goods floating into Wellington Harbour. I knew I was at the start of a new adventure spurred by a new job, working for the New Zealand Book Council.

A few days after settling in, I started my new role as Programmes Manager, and was immediately struck by the contrast from my previous role. I had come from running events at a large public library network where over 100 staff came and went from our office. I was surrounded by hustle and bustle, and ran events every week in each of the five libraries around Dunedin.

This was my first role working for a charity, and my former budgets and staff support suddenly seemed extremely generous. I was now the only full time employee in a dedicated team with five part-time staff assigned to other duties; and was amazed by the depth of knowledge, the hard work and the extra lengths my tiny new team went to, to keep the New Zealand Book Council running smoothly. I may have become a Manager – but I also became the main person to unload the dishwasher, buy the milk, and queue at the post office. Tasks that I had admittedly taken for granted for a number of years.

My target was already set for the coming year – 250 school visits needed to be delivered nationally. The thought filled me with terror. That was more events than school days! How would I ever cope?

Fortunately, the Writers in Schools programme has been running at almost that speed since its inception over forty years ago, so there is a clear system already laid down to work from. It is not unusual to be handling around 200 different school visits during the busiest times of the year in Terms 2 and 3, and I found myself quickly waging a losing battle with my Inbox!

The benefit to this hectic workload was that I learnt about our school members and authors really quickly. It struck me how different every school situation was. How some school libraries are well staffed and resourced while others are completely neglected by their leaders, leaving their staff untrained, unsupported and feeling rather unloved.

Regardless of this, every librarian, teacher and principal I have worked with, is clearly passionate about connecting their children to reading. You can tell when a school has a cohesive team that shares that vision, because the reports reflect a well-planned day, with sessions that both the writers and the children enjoy, and teachers that really get involved.

Similarly, the writers and illustrators that work with the NZ Book Council share that passion. They think very deeply about each visit they do. They care that they deliver something that benefits the children, and they want to work closely with the school to create something tailored to their needs. In return, they get new ideas and honest feedback from the students, who give them a boost to keep writing and drawing. All of this in return for a relatively modest fee.

Speed Date an Author events have been my favourite things to organise. The chance to travel and see five of our writers and illustrators, and meet up to 18 different schools at a library, or other public venue was really exciting. I would usually sleep fitfully the night before, and barely eat my breakfast for nerves, before rushing around like a headless chicken until the first workshop was underway. From this point on, I could feel the excitement and inspiration building in the students and the teachers taking part. I always returned home feeling exhausted, but also very happy.

I have also been really fortunate to have a level of autonomy that you rarely see in larger organisations, and have learnt that the most successful changes are the ones that schools themselves are already leaning towards. This might seem like common sense, but it’s always humbling to see ‘your brilliant idea’ flop because you thought you knew best.

The School Library Peer Reviews are one of the changes I am most proud of. I saw how school librarians love to swap book recommendations whenever they get together. We confirmed this in a membership survey a few months later, and changed our review system to involve more member schools from across New Zealand, rather than having a sole reviewer.

I would love to return to the New Zealand Book Council one day. My belief in our work and the benefit of our Writers in Schools programme has only increased since my time with the charity, and I will really miss working with the team, the authors, and the schools every day.

Thank you to you all for making my time at the NZ Book Council so challenging and so rewarding. Thank you for taking me out of my comfort zone, and questioning my thinking. Keep up the good fight, and remember to say ‘hi’ to Kathryn when you get the chance. I’m sure she will appreciate a friendly voice on the phone when she is wrestling her own Inbox during Terms 2 and 3!

Lynette Hartgill x





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Book of the Month: Much Ado About Shakespeare by Donovan Bixley

18-04-2016



Donovan Bixley is one of New Zealand's best and most exciting illustrators. He has recently taken part in a Speed Date an Author event with us in Napier, and is going to be working with schools around Marlborough in July for our Words on Wheels Tour. His latest book Much Ado About Shakespeare made our March Book of the Month.

Shakespeare’s life, told in his own words and beautifully illustrated by a great fan! Within these pages you’ll find a new interpretation of Shakespeare, which sheds light on his colourful and exuberant life and times. You won’t find the sainted genius – solemn with quill and ink-stained hand. High of brow he may have been, but never high-brow; never the snooty artist, locked away from the world – Shakespeare was in the thick of it.

Much Ado About Shakespeare brings you the highs and lows, the tongue in cheek, the truth and imagination . . . the fantastical world of William Shakespeare in his own words and through the magnificent art of Donovan Bixley.

Donovan Bixley is an award-winning illustrator and book designer based in Taupo.

He has illustrated over 100 books across a broad range of genres, from his best-selling preschool books The Wheels on the Bus (2010) and Old MacDonald’s Farm (2011), to his wordless book about extreme climate change, The Weather Machine, his hybrid comic/novel Monkey Boy, and his illustrated biography Faithfully Mozart, which was a finalist in the 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Donovan has also worked with top New Zealand authors: recreating Dashing Dog by New Zealand’s world famous Margaret Mahy; illustrating two of Barry Crump’s Pungapeople books, co-creating the internationally acclaimed Dinosaur Rescue series with Kyle Mewburn, and illustrating The Three Bears Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison, which won the coveted Children’s Choice Award at the 2014 NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. In 2015 he was a finalist in five categories for the NZ Book Award for Children and Young Adults, and a 6th book by James Norcliffe was nominated, boasting one of Donovan's distinctive cover illustrations.

When he’s not immersed in the world of picture books, Donovan plays guitar, piano and saxophone, and is front-man for Hot Tub, a 13 piece funk/jazz band. He has also been involved with the Taupo Theatre Company, both on stage and behind the scenes as a designer.

You can visit his website for his books, BixPics, his graphic design company, Magma Design, or follow him on Facebook.


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Peer Review: Picture Books April 2016

18-04-2016

Reviews by Librarians, Teachers and Principals of the latest New Zealand picture books.

Kakahu: Getting Dressed, Kanohi: My Face & Kararehe: Animals
Kitty Brown, Illustration: Kirsten Parkinson

Translation: Kitty Brown
Reo Pepi Tapui Ltd, BB - $44 set of 3 books
Age: 3+

Reviewer: Tatai Takuira¬Mita, Kaiako¬Toitoi Manawa

Fairhaven School, Te Puke

I read this set of pukapuka (books) to my junior immersion class. Most of my students were already familiar with the language used. They particularly enjoyed the interactive nature of the books. For example, when reading Kānohi: My Face, every page posed a new question; ‘Kei hea to …? The children would point to their own appropriate body part. For those who were unsure, they could use the visual cues in the pictures.

We found the illustrations realistic and sometimes comical, (with comments such as, 'That looks like my baby brother/little sister.') My students burst out laughing over the last page, at the child with big ngutu (lips) in Kānohi: My Face – which became their favourite part of the book.

The translations and pronunciation guide inside the back cover makes the books user-friendly and would be extremely helpful for teachers with limited knowledge of Te Reo.

Although repetitive, there were subtle changes in the text, and we were able to highlight the use of ‘to’ and ‘o’ for singular and plural.

In the book Kakahū: Getting Dressed, the children could fully relate to the topic of getting dressed because it is an activity they do themselves every day. Now they have Māori words to use when doing that familiar activity.

In the Kararehe: Animals book, the animals portrayed were known and common in New Zealand. My students loved these books and read them multiple times. We think this set of books would be most ideal for Early Childhood Centres and Junior classes at primary school. The hard cover and sturdy pages make them durable and easy for little hands to turn. My students thought they would also make a great gift for a baby or toddler’s birthday.

N.B. If they were available in Te Reo Māori only (i.e. without the English translations) they would be ideal for Kohanga and Rūmaki settings.


Te Wairua o Waitangi
Sharon Holt, Illustration: Deborah Hinde

The Writing Bug, PB with CD - $24.99
Age: 5+


Reviewer: Tatai Takuira-Mita, Kaiako – Toi Toi Manawa

Fairhaven School, Te Puke

This singalong book is a fantastic resource to support classroom activities around Waitangi Day, although we felt that it could also be enjoyed throughout the year to celebrate Aotearoa’s unique heritage. The photo illustrations became talking points as we identified the characters and looked in depth at the ideas portrayed.

Because this book comes with a CD, follow-up teaching activities, English translations, and extension activities, it is almost a no-brainer for teachers with little knowledge of Te Reo Māori. My students were able to retain the Māori words and concepts because they were taught through song – they played the CD over and over again!

We think this book is most suited to junior classes and anyone wanting to know more about the
Treaty and what it means to us as New Zealanders today.


Where’s Kiwi? Around the World
Myles Lawford

Scholastic, HB - $21.00
Ages: 5–12

Reviewer: Tracey Janes, Teacher

Diamond Harbour School

This large hardback, similar in format to the Where’s Wally? series, has us hunting for Kiwi, who is roaming the world and stopping off at places such as the Taj Mahal, Big Ben, and a jungle on his travels. Tricky Tuatara and Gumboot Guy are just two of Kiwi’s fellow travellers hiding on each page. You can look out for cultural souvenirs, and a quiz section at the back offers even more chances to test yourself.

Busy, colourful illustrations give plenty of clues as to where Kiwi has landed. Older children will have no problem working out the global locations as the landmarks are all familiar, but the French poodles, 2CV cars and Marcel Marceau in his blue beret and Breton top, are examples of more subtle clues, which add interest and would be good starters for discussing other countries and cultures.

The 5 year olds in our library were fully engaged in finding Kiwi and the 12 year olds were similarly engrossed, spotting harder clues listed in the quizzes.

A great way for students to travel the world at a leisurely pace and to learn a little on the way.


Betty the Bee and the Birthday Blowout
Lisa Melrose

Fun Worxx, PB - $19.99
Ages: 3–6

Reviewer: Colette O'Connor, Deputy Principal

Our Lady of Lourdes School

Betty the Bee and the Birthday Blowout is part of a book series designed to help children understand their emotions, build character and learn empathy. The different main characters in the books meet up, assisting children to make links between the characters and the stories. Betty’s story helps busy children who flit from one thing to another, and makes them aware of techniques they could use to be calm and focussed.

The illustrations are bright and cheerful with appealing patterns to attract the reader’s interest. The activity book is a highlight that can be used to reinforce concepts from the books. An extra special treat is the delightful finger puppet of Betty, which can be used with the picture book or as a stand-alone role-playing tool.

This book would be invaluable in the classroom or for parents wanting to help their child with their emotions. It needs adult guidance so the adult can explain what is happening to the characters and to draw out the child’s responses and ideas about what is happening in the story. There is also a range of supporting tips at the end of the book to help support children with these character traits.

Ronny the Robot’s Rumbling Rhapsody
Lisa Melrose

Fun Worxx, PB - $19.99
Ages: 3–6

Reviewer: Tracey Janes, Learning Community Cluster Leader

Diamond Harbour School

Ronny the Robot’s Rumbling Rhapsody
is part of a book series designed to help children understand their emotions, build character and learn empathy. The different main characters in the books meet up, assisting children to make links between the characters and the stories.

Ronny, the main character, is a large robot who is big and strong but bosses his friends around. In this story, Ronny learns strategies to help control his temper.

The illustrations are bright and cheerful with appealing patterns used to attract the reader’s interest. The activity book is a highlight that can be used to reinforce concepts from the books. The delightful finger puppet of Ronny is an extra special treat, which can be used with the picture book or as a stand-alone role-playing tool.

This book would be invaluable in the classroom or for parents wanting to help their child with their emotions. It needs adult guidance so the adult can explain what is happening to the characters and to draw out the child’s responses and ideas about what is happening in the story. There is also a range of supporting tips at the end of the book to help support children with these character traits.


The Little Kiwi’s Matariki
Nikki Slade Robinson

Duck Creek Press, HB - $29.99, PB - $19.99
Ages: 4-7

Reviewer: Sandra Annett, Syndicate Leader

Grantlea Downs

The Little Kiwi’s Matariki
is a delightful tale about celebrating Matariki (the Māori New Year) and why it is honoured by Māori and Pakeha alike. The story takes place at night. Little Kiwi wakes when a burst of moonlight shines into her burrow, and she realises that something special is happening. As she searches for this special wonder, Little Kiwi collects many of her friends along the way who follow her on her journey through the bush. In doing so, the reader is introduced to a variety of New Zealand native birds. Each of these birds conveys a special aspect of Matariki through the significance of celebration, remembrance and family. The illustrations are fun, stylised and modern, balancing nicely with the text. The night-time allows the full moon to highlight the colours of the birds against the darkness of the bush. The reader is also aware of the urgency in the movement of the birds.

This beautiful book will be ideal for teachers and parents wanting to introduce Te Reo to young readers, and the repetitiveness of the text means that it is ideal for reading aloud. The Little Kiwi’s Matairki also fills a niche for teachers searching for books aimed at Year 1-2 students which explain the meaning and significance of Matariki in New Zealand.


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Peer Review: Junior Books April 2016

18-04-2016

Reviews by Librarians, Teachers and Principals of the latest New Zealand books for junior readers.

A Bear’s Journey: The Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
Sally Louise Hill

Treasured Travels, HB - $34.95
Ages: 5–11

Reviewer: Tracey Janes, Teacher

Diamond Harbour School

Teddy Bearson and his best friend Mishca are off to the Marlborough Sounds, and Teddy finds it is very different from home. This is a meandering trip through a beautiful part of New Zealand, with some nice snapshots of scenery and wildlife forming the backdrop for the journey. Teddy and Mishca experience beaches, bush, fishing with Grandad – and even a ‘long drop’, so plenty of traditional Kiwi holiday fun.

Whilst Teddy’s presence indicates that this book is targeted at a younger audience, the reading level required means it could only be accessed by those who are really fluent, and it would take a week of bedtime reading to get through the whole story.

Undeniably this will be cherished by ‘the Grandson’ who is featured in the tale, but the huge volume of text, some questionable grammar and errant apostrophes, combined with unusual illustrations, make this an expensive journey that is rather too long and uncomfortable.


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Peer Review: Intermediate Books April 2016

18-04-2016

Reviews by Librarians, Teachers and Principals of the latest New Zealand books for intermediate readers.

Magrit
Lee Battersby, Illustration: Amy Daoud

Walker Books, HB - $22.99
Ages: 9+

Reviewer: Denise Barrington, Teacher/Librarian
Point Chevalier School

Completely unaware of the world of the graveyard bordering their homes, people sit in their rooms watching television. Magrit, who lives in the graveyard with her friend and advisor, Master Puppet, carries on her life quite happily until one day, a strange bundle arrives. Upon discovering a baby inside, Master Puppet quickly suggests that she gets rid of it. Against Master Puppet’s advice, Magrit decides to take responsibility for the baby. The story follows Magrit as she works through what taking care of a baby means.

Some beautiful language choices allow the reader to truly picture Magrit’s world and create a sense of beauty in a place that is most often portrayed as dark and ugly. In particular, good uses of personification were featured in passages such as, ‘… felt the breeze tickle her face. She loved to feel it tiptoeing around her, day or night, without ever once pausing to say hello.’ Scattered throughout the book are images consistent with the setting that complement the story.

Themes of death, loss and loneliness may challenge some readers. This book is suitable for those who are not squeamish.


Iris and the Tiger
Leanne Hall, Illustration: Sandra Eterović

Text Publishing, PB, eBook -$21.00
Ages: 9+

Reviewer: Sharon Taylor, Teacher
St John’s Girls’ School, Invercargill

This is a coming of-age story about 12 year old Iris, who is sent to visit her Great Aunt Ursula in Spain. Her parents have sent her there with the sole purpose of ensuring that Aunt Ursula’s extensive house and estate is left to them.

Iris is a sensitive and creative girl, who rapidly becomes immersed within the magic and mystery of Bosque de Nubes. With her new friend Jordi, Iris becomes open to the meaning of trust, friendship and truth. However, Iris soon learns that not all is as it seems - either in Bosque de Nubes or in her ‘real’ world.

The writing flows so naturally that you are easily taken along on this journey with Iris. This book offers a refreshing change from the magic based stories of recent years. It intertwines ideas of surrealism, conflict, symbolism and realization. The simple line drawings at the start of each chapter tie in beautifully with the style of the story, yet still leave so much to the reader’s imagination. It is well-crafted and benefits from being read more than once. This a book that just keeps giving.


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Phone 0064 4 801 5546
Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House, 156 Victoria St, Te Aro,
Wellington 6011, New Zealand

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Writers in Schools: on Tour 2016


NZ Book Council Touring Fees (excl. GST):

Member Schools
First visit: Half day visit: $130.00/ Full day visit $220.00
Second or Third visit: Half day visit: $265.00/ Full day visit: $330.00
Workshops: $55.00 each


Non-Member Schools

Half day visit: $500.00
Full day visit: $700.00
Workshops: $55.00 each


Throughout the school year we tour a variety of writers and illustrators away from their home region, so that schools can benefit from hosting someone they couldn't otherwise afford. Member schools are alerted first so that they can secure a booking early, and are offered these visits at a discounted rate. Non-member school rates are indicated below. The fees contribute towards the additional costs of accommodation, and food and transport for the writer.

We also support private tours organised by well-known authors, and can contribute funding towards the fees for member schools.
We will let you know either way if a tour is being run by the NZ Book Council or by the writer.


















Speed Date an Author Events

Interactive workshops are a great way to learn, and Speed Date an Author workshops allow your school’s budding writers to experience four  or five 25-30 minute writer sessions over the course of a morning. They usually take place in a local museum or public library, and are delivered by four or five fantastic writers and illustrators. We organise six Speed Date an Author events each year. Three take place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and the other three rotate around the regions. Member schools are alerted first so that they can secure a booking early, and are offered these sessions at a discounted rate.

Entry Fees (incl. GST):

Member Schools: $20.00 per student
Supervising adult: Free
 


Find out more about Writers in Schools, tours and Speed Date an Author here.

Back to the Education home page.
Back to The School Library.


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Phone 0064 4 801 5546
Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House, 156 Victoria St, Te Aro,
Wellington 6011, New Zealand