Thursday, 28 July 2016

Book Repurposing ~ free workshop

On Tuesday 9th of August artist Louise Seymour will be up-cycling old books into cool book art with some folding, cutting and gluing.

Interested? Why not check out these titles held by the library before the session:

The repurposed library: 33 craft projects that give old books new life Lisa Occhipinti
Playing with books: the art of upcycling, deconstructing, & reimagining the book Jason Thompson
Art made from books: altered, sculpted, carved, transformed Laura Heyenga
Book art: iconic sculptures and installations made from books Christine Antaya
Gifted : the tale of 10 mysterious book sculptures gifted to the city of words and ideas

This workshop is suitable for children and adults and is part of Cultural Threads, a month long program of exhibitions, workshops and activities.

Date: Tuesday 9th of August
Time: 6.30-8.30pm
Place: Dandenong Library

The workshop is free but bookings are preferred: 9706 8441


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Do you love Lego?

If you’re a Lego fan this is the magazine for you! There’s something for everyone from primary school-aged children up to AFOL (Adult Fans of Lego). Blocks comes out monthly with a fantastic range of articles.

The latest and classic sets are showcased and reviewed by the team; M.O.Cs (My Own Creation) are featured, along with building tips and ideas for developing your own. There’s information about conferences and articles on related topics e.g. issue 15 has an article featuring Lego being used in prosthetic limbs.

Best of all the reviews show a balanced view of products and at times Lego is used in unexpected ways, so Blocks feels more like a (well-produced) fan magazine than promotional material.

Get building!


Monday, 25 July 2016

Calling all book lovers!

The Melbourne Writers Festival is an annual 2 week celebration for stories and storytellers, for writers and readers, for book lovers and the curious minded. This year’s festival runs from Friday the 26th of August until Sunday the 4th of September and has a large program of talks, debates, literary banquets, film screenings, gigs and workshops plus an entertaining schools' program.

Some of the high profile authors at this year's festival include Lionel Shriver, Alexei Sayle, PJ Harvey, Richard Flanagan, Magda Szubanski, Liane Moriarty and Nick Earls. The schools program features YA authors John Marsden, Amie Kaufman, Claire Zorn, Rainbow Rowell, Meg Rosoff and David Levithan.

Click here to check their website for more details or to download a program.


Friday, 22 July 2016

What if your best friend went on a date and didn't come back?

Risk delves into the online world of chat rooms, teenagers and the devastating consequences that are all too real in today’s society. Set in Melbourne, the storyline centres on a group of high school friends who think it’s a bit of harmless fun to chat and exchange photos with random strangers online.

When Sierra decides to meet up with “Jacob Jones” on a Friday night she convinces her friends to cover for her. When she doesn’t turn up the next day as planned her friends are torn between anger (she has done this once before) and concern for her wellbeing. Concern turns to fear by Sunday when Sierra still hasn’t returned. Her best friend Taylor finally cracks and admits to her Mum that Sierra is missing. The police are immediately informed and everyone’s worst fears are realised a week later when Sierra’s body is found in Ballarat. She has been raped and murdered.

The second half of the book deals with the aftermath of the murder. The guilt, anger and grief from Sierra’s friends, their families and the whole school community, as well as the hunt to find the killer. A devastated Taylor becomes obsessed with tracking down the murderer and as clues are revealed it becomes a race against time to catch him before he murders again.

Fleur Ferris drew on her former professions as a police officer and paramedic when writing Risk. While aimed at the teenage market it is also a gripping and captivating read for adults, especially adults of teenagers. YA is not a genre that I normally read but I’m glad that I did. It was realistic and scary and even had me in tears a few times. I loved it and would highly recommend it.

Risk is available in both print and downloadable eBook formats.


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

See World War II in a different light

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr tells the parallel stories of Marie-Laure Le Blanc, a blind French girl fascinated by puzzles and Werner, an orphaned German boy with a talent for electronics and fixing radios. Marie-Laure’s father works as a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History and dotes on his only daughter, making scale models of the neighbourhood so Marie can navigate the world around her and buying her classic books to read in Braille. They are forced to flee their home as the Germans invade Paris during World War II, and head for her Great Uncle’s house on the North Coast island of Saint Malo. Meanwhile Werner’s talent is spotted by the Nazi regime and he is recruited by the Hitler Academy to train as a communications expert, ending up on active service. We follow their different paths as the war unfolds, paths that eventually cross. Short chapters alternate between the stories and go back and forth in time as we follow their destinies.

Other storylines are interwoven, including the terminally ill Nazi Commander Von Rumpel’s search for the mysterious jewel, the Sea of Flames, famed to extend the life of whoever possesses it, but at the expense of all the loved ones around them. Said to be held at the Museum of Natural History, copies of the jewel are made and sent away with different people during wartime for its protection, but who has the real jewel? Could it be Marie-Laure’s father? With some beautifully written descriptions, this book brings to light a different view of the war and its impact through the stories of these two children. It explores the harshness of war, issues of trust and friendship and survival and standing up for what you believe.

Available as an e-book or hardcopy from Greater Dandenong Libraries.


Monday, 18 July 2016

Not in God’s name: confronting religious violence by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

A brief glance at current news around the world gives a fleeting glimpse into ongoing conflicts, and many of those conflicts seemingly revolve around religion, namely conflicts of right and wrong, black and white, good and evil. We are often drawn to make these distinctions by the media, by governments and by our own worldviews. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks highlights the potentially devastating repercussions of making such distinctions, when we invent a righteous ‘Us’ against an evil ‘Them’.

Using stories from the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible, Rabbi Sacks draws out the root causes of modern day religious conflicts, tracing it back to the age-old sibling rivalries of Abraham’s descendants. Part psychological exploration of the pathological dualism that pits man against man in the name of God, part exegesis of the book of Genesis, Rabbi Sacks reveals an innovative way of looking at the infamous sibling rivalries of Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers and Leah and Rachel. Through these stories, Rabbi Sacks paints a compelling picture, digging beyond the surface story to the redemption that flows beneath, hidden in the smallest of details.

Reading Rabbi Sacks is always an illuminating pleasure, but this book goes beyond his previous works, giving hope to conflicts deeply entrenched in ancient hatreds.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

One step at a time by Jane Jolly

This book is classified as a children’s picture book however the plot contains a darker and potentially more confronting side. The main characters consist of a boy named Luk and his baby elephant called Mali. Mali helps Luc’s family haul timber from the forests. It is set in a country of South East Asian origin where land mines still remain scattered throughout the land. They are a part of people’s everyday lives.

After a near tragic accident Luk cares for Mali while she recovers. Their special sibling bond grows stronger. The dramatic words and black pages portray the moment the landmine is detonated. I like the analogy in the title of One step at a time during the elephant’s journey of recovery and healing. One of the last pages the illustrations depict both the boy and the elephant with an artificial leg walking together, side by side...One step at a time. I think the play on words is clever, referring to not only journey together before the accident but during the time of convalescence and afterwards.

Interestingly enough there is no mention of why there are landmines. I guess this is another story full of politics and war. It is a children’s picture book after all and I am happy that this wasn’t written about or touched on. I am glad the book dealt with the comradery between a boy and his baby elephant sister. This is an inspirational story of people and animals facing adversity. We often here about the human plight but not the animals caught up in these situations.

At the end of the book there is a section for parents, carers and teachers containing information and websites on landmines. It also directs you where to obtain teachers notes. There is also paragraph about the charity SafeGround, where it mentions that the main objective is to advocate for ways to make unsafe ground safe and to prevent ground from becoming unsafe. Both of these helpful and informative sections create some background about the storyline origins. It also has small piece about the author and the illustrator.

I also thought it was refreshing to see that hand coloured lino prints were used for the illustrations. I thought this art medium had disappeared.

One step at a time has been shortlisted for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year.


Monday, 11 July 2016

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Although published more than sixty years ago now, Charlotte's web still continues to be favourite among children. The seemingly simple story of a onetime runty pig that is saved by a spider belies the strength of its themes, the quality of the writing and appeal of the characters.

The story begins with eight year old Fern’s classic utterance, “where’s papa going with that axe?” and the subsequent persuasion of her father’s attitude against the “unfairness” of killing a pig, simply because of its size, thereafter takes the reader on a wonderful journey.

On the way, readers are acquainted with the natural world of farm life and consequently, the central theme of the rhythm of birth and death; of life through its seasons. The book is timeless and timely in its re-acquainting of children (and adults) with the natural world, a past time that is increasingly compromised by the encroachment of technologies into our lives and at an ever younger age.

Having rescued the runt whom she affectionately names, Wilbur, Fern initiates what is another core theme of the book, that of friendship and is a precursor to the unlikely friendship that Wilbur ultimately finds with Charlotte, a spider that lives above the barn’s entrance. Clever and benevolent, wise and endearing, Charlotte manages to bring hope to Wilbur’s blighted existence as a spring pig at the Zuckerman’s farm. Charlotte uses her nous to spin messages into her web, promoting the celebration of Wilbur and his existence.

Through her woven messages, the clever spider is able to convince the Zuckerman’s of the benefit of Wilbur’s continued survival rather than the destined lot for which he was being kept. Charlotte’s life, brief but meaningful, brings a poignancy to the story. Her death, though premature continues to speak of the enduring bond of friendship is realised both in Wilbur’s remembrance of Charlotte and her offspring in a symbolic thematic continuance.

Charlotte's web is also beautifully written with the author, E.B. White able to express farm life and the animals that inhabit it with a turn that is clear and poetic. The story is a truly delightful one and evokes a wonderful world, especially for children.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Troll Mountain by Matthew Reilly

With a young hero called Raf, barbaric monsters and an impossible quest, this is Matthew Reilly at his best.

In an isolated valley, a small tribe of humans are dying from a terrible disease. There is a rumor that the trolls of Troll Mountain, who are dreaded and feared by all, have a miraculous elixir to cure the illness. When Raf's sister is struck down by the disease he urgently begs his tribal leaders for help, but they refuse him. He then makes a courageous decision to set out on his own for Troll Mountain and steal the elixir.

The journey to the mountain has begun and the challenge to survive is a must. But to get to Troll Mountain Raf will have to pass through dangerous swamps and haunting forests filled with wolves, hobgoblins, and worst of all, the ever-present danger of rogue trolls.

The story is more suited for a teen audience and is a light and easy read. The well known and familiar style of Matthew Reilly writing is for all ages, full of action drama and amazing feats that will surprise everyone, with an ending that makes it all worth reading.

Ever since I first read Hover car racer (originally released as a free fortnightly online serial, and later published by Pan MacMillan in 2004) back in 2005 I have been hooked on Reilly's enthralling scene setting and adventures and compelling story lines. Troll Mountain is no exception and is a truly enjoyable, exciting read. I loved it!


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Curl up with a new release this July

As the temperature drops it’s time to rug up and visit the library to grab a new fiction release or two. We have a nice mix of genres to choose from this month so you won’t be left wanting.

Selection day Aravind Adiga
Easy way out Steven Amsterdam
Heart of granite James Barclay
Puppet master Dale Brown
Sting Sandra Brown
New Mrs Clifton Elizabeth Buchan
Jealous kind James Lee Burke
Kind folk Ramsey Campbell
Swarm Orson Scott Card
Autumn throne Elizabeth Chadwick
Insidious Catherine Coulter
Here I am Jonathan Safran Foer
Broken trust W.E.B Griffin
One man Andrew Gross
Razor girl Carl Hiaasen
Love of a lifetime Melissa Hill
Frost line Linda Howard
Good people Hannah Kent
Rise the dark Michael Koryta
Out of bounds Val McDermid
Daughters of Castle Deverill Santa Montefiore
Great reckoning Louise Penny
Apprentice in death J.D. Robb
Damaged Lisa Scottoline
Best of Adam Sharp Graeme Simsion
Precious and Grace Alexander McCall Smith
Rushing waters Danielle Steel
Infamy Robert K Tanenbaum
Smooth operator Stuart Woods

Happy reading!


Monday, 4 July 2016

Orange is the New Black - TV series

If you want to lock yourself up, particularly as winter embraces, then throw away your car or house keys and spend time in solitary confinement with Seasons 1, 2 & 3 of your favorite breakout series and ultimate guilty pleasure…Orange is the New Black. This amazing TV show will thrill you individually or even your friends, showing you the reality of the world behind bars and your CGD library is the right place to start the process.

Orange is the New Black, where everyone is guilty until proven guiltier. Watch amazing actors and actresses as cellmates in the drama - Dandelion, Alex, Crazy Eyes, Sophia, Polly, Pennsatucky, Red, Taystee, Big Boo, Black Cindy and Poussey, for a glimpse of life behind bars. It’s a take-no-prisoners experience that’s always provocative, entertaining, eye-opening and surprising.

Serve time with the show that makes you judge, jury and executioner! Good luck, and don’t forget to visit your CGD library.


Friday, 1 July 2016

Weirdo by Anh do

It is clear when reading this book that it is written by a comedian with lots of laugh out loud moments throughout the book.

This book tells the story of a boy with a strange name Weir and a great surname to match Do (rhymes with go) and the struggles he faces having such a strange name as well as some quirky traits to match. Weir has just moved to a new school and faces some challenges to fit in. Weir has a crazy family which is relatable to most kids (and adults) which adds some even funnier moments to the story.

An awesome series for reluctant readers, simple text, lots of jokes, funny illustrations are just some of the selling points.

I can't wait to get started on weirdo #2!