Friday, 31 March 2017

Don't call me bear by Aaron Blabey

Aaron Blabey author of Piranhas don't eat bananas and Pig the pug returns with a new picture book Don't call me bear.

What a fun book to read, it rhymes and dare I say it (SHHHHHH) is also educational.

Warren is a Koala, definitely not a Koala bear as so many people call him, he goes on an adventure to try to prove that he in fact, IS NOT A BEAR!

He is from Australia, not Canada, USA or the polar regions, and here in Australia, there aren’t any bears, just Koalas.

The expressions and frustration of Warren throughout the book make it a very fun read.

Don't call me bear is a Children's Book Council of Australia notable book 2017.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The rug maker of Mazar-E-Sharif by Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman

The rug maker of Mazar-E-Sharif is the story of how Mazari, when confronted with persecution and possible death at the hands of the Taliban, decided to leave his wife and young child and flee across the border to Pakistan. He made his way across the Indonesian Sea, caught a leaky boat to Darwin and then was struck by the overtly political and less-than-happy experience of being transported to Adelaide and the refugee camp at Woomera, before being recognized as a legitimate refugee, settling in Melbourne, establishing an Afghan carpet and rug shop and finally bringing his wife and child to Australia.
The story begins in the Woomera Detention Centre where Najaf Mazari is locked up alongside other "illegals" and wondering whether he would be granted a future on the other side of the spikey wire. The narrative flashes back and forth and retraces his life in Afghanistan, his hazardous journey to Australia after persecution and torture by the Taliban and his successful application for permanent residency.
We learn a great deal about the history and culture of Afghanistan through the eyes of Najaf Mazari. For example, we learn of the hundreds of regions of Afghanistan each under the control of a different tribal group leader and the conflicts between these tribes and also the long periods between conflict when some sort of balance of power has been gained. We learn of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and of its Mujahedin “freedom fighters” and the ongoing war with the appearance of the Taliban.
Melbourne-based writer Robert Hillman says although he worked with Najaf for over nine months to write the book, Najaf “cried and cried when he finished reading the final story.”
The rug maker of Mazar-E-Sharif is a really good text for VCE Encountering Conflict, exploring the situation in Afghanistan between the Taliban and the Afghani government.
I am happy that this book was taught at VCE English as my daughter did study it and Najaf Mazari came to visit her school and answer questions.
It is a very good book to read and to study, or even listen to the talking book like I did.
It’s good for all the young generation to appreciate Australia and the way we live in peace.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Food for me is gluten free by Sally Leary, Illustrated by Stuart Craven

Children who have a gluten free diet often experience hurdles both physically and emotionally. Food for me is gluten free tries to address these concerns in a simple, yet informative manner and explains what ailments children who have coeliac disease or gluten sensitivities may experience. I like the fact the pictures depict that and the focus is on the children. They can identify with the characters and their difficulties and challenges, such as going to a friend’s birthday party. The focus is on what the children “can do” rather than what they “can’t do”, in a humorous way.
It talks of what they might have felt in the past while they ate gluten and how much better they feel now when eating “Gluten Free”, “because they can’t eat the same food as other people”. The books also explains what needs to be done on a regular basis to avoid gluten, such as reading ingredient labels on food products and eating only from their own lunch boxes. This I thought was a great way to give children some responsibility and independence in managing their condition themselves.
It is a simple and well written book, with bright illustrations that “jump off” the completely white pages. It is classified as a Picture Story book and compared to similar special needs books, it falls in the better category with smaller paragraphs and minimal text to convey this important message.
Food for me is gluten free is also a Victorian Premiers Reading Challenge listed book.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

New book to film adaptations in 2017

Get a head start on some of 2017's new film releases by reading the book first. Some of the books making their way to the big screen this year are The Circle, The Dinner and Wonder.

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Mae Holland id thrilled when she is hired to work for The Circle, the world's most powerful and innovative Tech company. It controls almost all of the world's internet and collects vast amounts of information about everyone on the planet via social media and apps (sound familiar) ? It's aim is to make the Circle complete and control 100% of the world's search engines to create a transparent world, where everyone is tracked from cradle to grave for the common good. As Mae gets drawn into the world of The Circle, she encounters some strange activities and finds its moralistic teachings have a dark heart. What happen's when the circle is complete, and does Mae want to be part of it ? A thought provoking thriller that looks at what could evolve from our 24/7 connected society.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Two brothers and their wives go out for dinner. A normal occurrence, except these couples have something very serious to discuss. Through appetizer, main course and dessert we get to digest the lives and relationships of these two couples. One thing is certain, these couples have a terrible secret and who knows what lengths they will go to to stop it from emerging. Often shocking and surprising, The Dinner examines the darker side of human nature, and what people will do to protect their families, their reputations and themselves.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

'My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.'
Auggie is a normal 10 year old boy, and he'd like to be treated that way. Unfortunately, he was born with a severe facial deformity, which means he doesn't look like everyone else and is often treated cruelly as a result. His parents have been home schooling him to protect him from the taunts of others, but now he is about to attend a real school for the first time and he's not looking forward to it. Can Auggie convince his peers he is just like them on the inside?
"Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page."

Wonder is a Victorian Premiers Reading Challenge listed book.

Click on any of the title links or the cover images to reserve your copy via The Vault

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Golden Lion by Wilbur Smith with Giles Kristian

The 'Courtney' novels trace the fortunes and misfortunes of this sprawling, ambitious family, from the dawn of the eighteenth century to the late twentieth century, starting with When the lion feeds. The latest installment - Golden Lion features captain Henry 'Hal' Courtney on his ship The Golden Bough, as he takes you on an incredible journey on the thrashing seas off the coast of Africa in 1670. In a time of brave and brutal adventure, one man will journey across land and sea, to pursue his greatest enemy. The story contains many wonderful scenes and many memorable characters like Hal and his wise and stoic right-hand man, Aboli, an Amadoda warrior, to one of the antagonists named Pett, a psychopathic British East India Company clerk. The story is full of plot twists and turns that will keep you reading to all hours.
Does this feel like Wilbur’s writing ? Yes.
Do I recommend it? Yes
I was skeptical about the story writing quality when reading that Smith has bowed to the pressure of his fans and enlisted a co-author in Giles Kristian. Ghost writing is of course, nothing new – but the concern is always going to be making the book read and feel like the voice of the master whose name is in large print on the cover, and Golden Lion has definitely passed the test.

Friday, 10 March 2017

War Child : survival, betrayal, secrets by Annette Janic

War Child is a deeply moving, incredibly personal, evocative, compelling life story of a German woman, Magdalena (‘Leni’) born into a hopeless situation in 1925 rural Germany pre-World War II. She is an illegitimate child, in a small town steeped in superstition. Spurned by her Catholic grandfather, Leni and her mother live in poverty in a country sliding towards war. At school Leni joins the Hitler Youth, leaving at 14 to work to support her family. A sadistic employer forces her to submit to systematic rape or face having her mother interned.
Fleeing the advance of the Red Army, Leni and her family survive on their wits, and she is transformed from a meek, cowering girl to protector. In the post-war chaos Leni, pregnant to her Yugoslav boyfriend, marries in a bid to avoid the hardship that blighted her childhood. The little family migrates to Australia, crossing the war-torn continent, enduring appalling conditions in Bagnoli Refugee Transit Camp and finally facing the enormous task of beginning a new life in an alien land.
Researching her mother’s life after the death of both parents, Leni’s daughter Annette makes a startling discovery. With her dying breath, Leni’s confidante reveals another secret. A complex search that crosses three continents follows, as Annette gradually unravels the web of intrigue that protects her mother’s ultimate secret.
War Child is a must read book as it not only tells of the life of an ordinary German woman and her family in World War 2 from a viewpoint of the family and the suffering war brought them, but also of a search for identity, and endurance at great costs for the love of family. It also examines moral attitudes at the time and their consequences, mother/daughter relationships and emigration to Australia in the 50's.
It was also one of those books that cannot be put down.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

New fiction for March

Looking for your next great read ? Check out these new release titles
The scent of you Maggie Alderson
Revolution of the moon Andrea Camilleri
Blindness and rage Brian Castro
All by myself alone Mary Higgins Clark
Mississippi blood Greg Iles
Shadow land Elizabeth Kostova
Red sister Mark Lawrence
Finding Hannah Fiona McCallum
War cry Wilbur Smith
Death of a she devil Fay Weldon
Billy Sing Ouyang Yu
Idiot gods David Zindell

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Can't see anything you like? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Whole health for happy cats by Sandy Arora

Whole health for happy cats has been written in an accessible and engaging style for both cat lovers and first time owners. It has 184 pages featuring extensive resources, decision-making guides to all things feline and provides such information as basic care, supplies, veterinary care, spaying and neutering, foods, and relationships with other existing animals at home.
This book has a good content divided into six chapters and the conclusion highlights important information for a quick read. I liked chapter one which is talking about cat litter options for the budget conscious describing the pros and cons of the products before buying, as well as some good tips for effective cleaning and inexpensive alternatives to make your own odour and stain remover.
I recommend reading this book first before attempting to buy a cat. If you know what you’re doing your pet will enjoy a better life, it can give a complete picture in taking responsibility to care for your cute kitten or cat. The resources at the end of this book have very useful linked websites as additional information for gaining further knowledge. Enjoy reading Whole health for happy cats and enjoy a long healthy life for both owner and cat.