ISSN 11750189: Volume 9: Issue 4: August / September 2010
We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. ~ Winston Churchill.
The Big Kids Lit Quiz.
We fielded seven teams at Takapuna Library for the Big Kids’ Lit Quiz on 13 October. Quizmaster Wayne Mills rewarded the winning team members in each category with a Scratchy but there were no stifled shrieks of glee so presumably there were no major winners.
The winning team overall was Psammead made up of North Shore librarians Sean Murgatroyd, Joy McCutcheon, Marie Sullivan and Takapuna Grammar School librarian Kay Carter. Second were the Tweetle Beetles from the Kelston Deaf Education Centre augmented by Wynne and Susan from the North Shore Book Chat group, and third place went to the Bookie Monsters from Waitakere Libraries.
~ Helen Beckingsale.
In preparation for those last weeks of school – we’ve added some more puzzles and quizzes in our Other Stuff section. Feel free to print them out and use them as a resource – either in class, or at home. Any suggestions or feedback will be warmly received.
~ Annie Coppell.
‘We’ve won! We’ve won!’ I shouted as I bounced into the staffroom.
The couple of teachers sitting there looked up mildly. They are accustomed to my enthusiasms.
‘What have we won?’ they asked.
‘The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Most Creative School Award. And the prize is $1000 in book tokens!’
I’d better start at the beginning.
Back in March 2010, New Zealand Post launched a writing competition for school students, from years 1 – 8. The best 50 stories or poems from around New Zealand were to be published in a book, and the young authors given a $50 book voucher. I thought it was a great idea, but the second part of the competition caught my attention. There was a further prize for the ‘Most Creative School’. This prize was awarded to the school that generated the most entries per head of eligible children.
At Hebron Christian College, we are a small school. We cater to students from Year 1 through to 13, and the student population is just under 300. This makes for a family atmosphere and small classes, though we do not always have such a variety of options as larger schools.
As librarian, I saw this phrase ‘most entries per head of eligible children’, and I saw a way that our small community could be an advantage. I decided that I would support this competition, and throw all my enthusiasm behind it.
Firstly, I set up inter-class competitions. We had 187 students in Years 1 – 8, and eight classes. I visited each class personally, told them about the New Zealand Post competition, dazzled their minds with the $1000 prize, the $50 book vouchers, then added I would be running class competitions. The person who wrote the most stories out of everyone would get their own $20 book voucher, and for the class who wrote the most stories… This was the system: for every story submitted by a student, I would put one lolly in a jar. The class who wrote the most stories would get the whole jar, and all the lollies in it. I took the biggest jar I could find with me, to emphasise my point.
The classes got very excited (anticipatory sugar rush). The teachers were pleased to use this excitement in their next few story writing lessons. Some teachers chose to give class time to the entries, others allowed students to do it for homework. No one was required to write a story or poem, but they were taken by the competition aspect, and they liked seeing the lollies go into the jar.
Stories and poems began pouring in. Stories written on the official entry form, stories written on photocopies of the official entry form, stories written on scraps of paper (that we then had to attach to the official entry form). One group of Year 6 girls set up their own writing club, and came the library daily, discussing how best to make their stories work. My office was becoming littered with entries.
Right at the beginning, I set up an Excel spreadsheet, to keep track of who wrote the stories, their class, and the name of their masterpiece. I did this to determine which class would be the winner of the lolly jar. As the entries kept coming and coming I began to regret doing this. It was a lot of hard work! I’d get 20 stories a day, of which I’d then have to type up the details. However, I persevered.
We sent boxes and boxes away, and I began to hope we were in with a chance. At the closing date, we had submitted 564 stories and poems, from 187 eligible children.
Then came the wait. Almost two months later, I saw on the school librarians’ Listserv that some one from another school had two students with winning stories. I had heard nothing. I sighed internally. Another week went by. Then out of the blue, a phone call came, that we too had a student with a winning story. Naturally, I was happy for the student, but I still needed to know one thing...
'Excuse me,’ I said on the phone, ‘I don’t suppose we won the ‘Most Creative School Award’ did we?’
‘No, sorry,’ was the answer.
‘Oh,’ I said sadly. ‘We put so much effort into it. We were hoping 564 stories and poems would be enough.’
‘How many did you say?’ asked the New Zealand Post representative, stunned.
‘564,’ I replied. ‘I kept an Excel spreadsheet, so I know the exact number.’
There was a silence. ‘Can you send me that spreadsheet immediately?’ she asked.
‘Of course,’ I replied, and did.
A couple of days later, she got back to me. ‘Congratulations,’ she said. ‘You have won the ‘Most Creative School’ award. We are amazed that one school put in so many entries.’
Which brings me back to bursting into the staffroom, interrupting the teachers’ lunch and shouting ‘We’ve won! We’ve won!’ like a maniac.
What has happened since then: we received the book vouchers in a special presentation. I worked out the percentage each class had contributed to the total entries, and so each class got to spend that percentage of book vouchers on books for the library. And Year 6 got to eat the lollies. All 564 of them.
~ Lois Huston.
The Waikato Children’s Literature Association held their annual seminar at Southwell School in Hamilton on Saturday 30 October. It was titled ‘The Nature of New Zealand’ because it is our flora, fauna and geology that are the setting for Des Hunt’s stories and the content of Maria Gill and Vivienne Lingard’s non-fiction.
Des’ colourful chemical reaction with iodine, potato starch and peroxide was a metaphor for writing a novel with just the right balance of dialogue and narrative. He chooses to set his stories in New Zealand to give our children a sense of place and stressed that learning and reading should be fun. His new book The Naughty Kids Book of Nature has engaging chapters such as Road Kill, Love, Bludgers and Stuffed Ones.
Vivienne sketched her artistic journey from Polytech at 16 through an advertising agency’s art department to book illustration. Maria knew Vivienne’s varied ability with cartooning, sketching and finely detailed drawing made her the right person to illustrate her book Save Our Seas: Continuing the Mission of the Adventurer Sir Peter Blake. They then worked together on Eco-Rangers Save the Planet.
Maria’s love of wildlife was fostered by travelling around Australia with her family in her teenage years. She shared the pleasure of working on books like Rangitoto, Bird’s Eye View and Dogs on the Job, referring listeners to the educational units for each on her website.
Like-minded children’s literature enthusiasts chatted over a delicious lunch and lined up to have books signed and photos taken, promising one another to meet up again at next year’s seminar.
~ Gerri Judkins.
New Zealand Book Council’s Booknotes is now available online.
If you’d like a print copy – and support the activities of the Book Council – you can join here.
For those of us – well, all of us! – interested in children’s books – check out the online edition of The School Library.
New Zealand Book Month.
Yes – it’s coming in March 2011.
Check out their new and improved website.
Want to get involved? Vote for your fav NZ read. Become an activist!
Writing fiction for children and teenagers.
Walker Books Congratulates Sara Foster – Recipient of the Lady Cutler Award 2010.
It is with great pleasure that Walker Books announces that its Managing Director and Publisher, Sarah Foster has won the Lady Cutler Award, 2010 for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature in NSW.
Sarah Foster has been a devoted advocate of children’s literature since initially emigrating to Australia in 1989 to work with Scholastic Publishers. In 1993 she established Walker Books Australia; in 1999 she set up the New Zealand subsidiary and in 2007 started Walker’s local publishing list which has grown to nearly 40 books a year. She claims she has never had so much fun!
Deeply committed to raising consciousness of the value of literature to children, Sarah has been tireless in her efforts to campaign and promote children’s books to the greater community, which include festival and conference appearances and organising fundraising events.
Sarah is very active in the writing community and is renowned for passionately encouraging and advising children’s book authors and illustrators in their work and projects.
Sarah will receive her award at the annual Lady Cutler Dinner, which this year will be held on Tuesday, 16th November, 7.00pm for 7.30pm at the Drummoyne Sports Club, Hythe St, Drummoyne. For further information on the award and to book tickets to attend the dinner please visit the Children's Book Council of Australia website.
~ from the press release.
It’s amazing what you stumble across online!
Did you know that some of EH Shepard’s decorations for Winnie-the-Pooh are now available as stamps? If only I could someone from the UK to write to me…
This little discovery led it – as it does – to an article about the planned improvements to Poohsticks bridge. Now, who hasn’t played Poohsticks?
In the booklist that accompanied the August / September edition of What’s the Story, we reviewed books in translation. Another serendipitous discovery recently has been Translated Fiction – run by Booktrust, this site celebrates the original authors, the translators, and the publishers – who make stories from other languages available to the English-reading and –speaking world.
~ Annie Coppell.
Scarily enough – it’s Christmas just around the corner. As we do each November, our book list features books we’d be happy to give – or receive! – as Christmas presents. These may be brand-new, just discovered older titles, or welcome reprints of old favourites. We’re an eclectic bunch, and our selection usually travels across many genres.
Log on to our website using your existing membership number, or your newly reset password if you have already visited our new website, to view the latest booklist: Books for Christmas Giving. This is only accessible to members.This is only accessible to members. If you wish to become a member, join here. If you have trouble logging on, contact our Membership Secretary to check your membership is up-to-date.