Author – Julie Lamb
Age – 8+
Summer Rain is a laugh a minute – at least the boys at school think so. She’s always cracking a joke or laughing stuff off. It’s her way of fitting in and dealing with things at home. Not that it’s bad or anything, it’s just… embarrassing. When her dad is away during the week for his work, Summer stays with her fun, a little crazy and a whole lot stingy Pop. The thing is, Pop isn’t poor, Summer has seen a bunch of bank statements to prove it.
Now 12, Summer is feeling like she’d like to change from the tom-boy she is – just a little? A popular girl at school starts showing an interest in her, which confuses Summer, but she begins to enjoy some ‘girl stuff’ for a change.
Things are just fine until a woman starts to show an interest in Pop. Surely she’ll be gone again as soon as she realises how crazy-stingy Pop is? Summer is suspicious, and digs a little deeper into this woman’s past. She doesn’t like what she finds, but Pop just won’t listen!
All is revealed in the end, with the reason for the girl’s interest, Pop’s solution and Summer being just who she wants to be.
This story may be set in NZ, but girls everywhere (especially tom-boys, like I once was), will really enjoyed the trials of Summer at school, home around her small town. This book won the Best 1st Book of the Year Award in the NZ Children’s Book Awards 2017. And it definitely deserved it. Loved it!
(New Zealand, NZ, Kiwi, Funny, Humour, Tom-boy, Friends, Award)
Author/Illustrator – Angela Sommer-Bodenburg
Age – 8+
Tony loves horror stories. One night while he is watching a scary movie on TV he decides to get a drink from the kitchen. But in the darkness of his house and halfway back to his room he realises his TV has been turned off. He knows it wasn’t his parents – so who or what is in his room?
He finds something completely unexpected – a little vampire. This young vampire is called Rudolph and is looking for a friend. He likes reading just as much as Tony – especially stories about vampires. And he is soon flying off into the night with a copy of Dracula under his cloak.
Rudolph comes to visit weekly and even takes Tony to his crypt in the local cemetery. But Tony has to be wary of Rudolph’s family, Rudolph’s little sister who has a crush on him, and his own Mum and Dad’s questions about his new friend that only seems to visit late at night.
With 12 million copies sold of this classic tale written in 1979, this story is proven to be popular. Due out in an animated movie soon, the movie will be just as loved. (Not due out until approx May 2018 in NZ.)
(Scary, spooky, freaky, vampire, friendship, crush)
Author – Anne Kayes
Age – 8+
Jack, Tim, Ella, Harry, Gemma, Louie, Lucy and Terri live on Tui Street. Here are 7 separate tales of their daily lives of school, family and friends, but all with a touch of fantasy, fairytale, or maori legend.
They are all great characters, sometimes dealing with things on their own, pushing their boundaries a little, helping each other, and learning about others in the street without any sign of preachy morals or corny outcomes.
Winner of the NZ Tom Fitzgibbon Award for a debut author, Tui Street Tales would make a great Read a Loud for class or home reading.
(Award winner, New Zealand, NZ, Fairy tale, Fantasy, Maori Legend, Friends, Neighbourhood)
Author – Katherine Rundell
Age – 7+
Fred, Con, Lila and her 5 yr old brother Max are all in a small plane together when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. They crash into the Amazon Jungle. Frightened but alive, they have to get to know each other and learn to work together.
They are quickly fascinated by the green world around them, teeming with birds, colour and wildlife, but they know they have to try and get home. On the way, they discover things they never imagined they would find on the journey, along with discoveries about themselves – courage, friendship and determination, and then finally a pact between them to keep their secret.
Pure adventure, The Explorer is yet another wonderful tale by award winning Katherine Rundell. Fans of Hatchet and Bear Gryls will love this tale of survival, learning to fish at night, catch tarantulas to cook, and making snares among the many lessons learnt by the characters.
(Jungle, Amazon, Courage, Siblings, Plane Crash, Secret, Environment, Friendship, Family)
Author – Margaret Mahy
Illustrator – Chris Mould
Age – 5+
When their Aunt Nasty writes to say she is going to visit, Toby and Claire’s family try to find an excuse to stop her. But she’s a witch, and Mum is worried what might happen if they say no.
Claire moves out of her room, leaving the cobwebs and placing a bouquet of poisonous flowers especially for their aunt. When she arrives she orders quiet during the day, because she will be at witch meetings every night, and they dare not upset her.
When her stay is near an end, they begin to breathe easy, but in all the tip-toeing around and upheaval, they’ve forgotten something REALLY important. Can Aunt Nasty help? She is a witch after all…
(Witch, New Zealand, Kiwi, Humour, Funny, Family, Magic)
Author – E Lockhart
Age – 14+
This book is in effect written backwards. I loved the way this story was structured with the main character Jule living a charmed life of luxury, and then the further you read the more you learn, all the things she did, had to do, or was lucky enough to happen, to allow her this life. But things are unravelling and she is having to run faster to keep up with it all.
The more I read, the more intrigued I was. There were hints along the way that she wasn’t supposed to be who or where she was, and I wanted to know how on earth she got there. The plot went back and forth and I had to keep track of the dates, but it just added to the enjoyment of the book as things were revealed, piece by piece, for the past year or so of Jules life to click together – but the finale could blow it all apart again!
She’s no angel this girl, but I loved her character and that we found out what drove her to be the person she is now. We Were Liars by the same author is one of my favourite reads ever and Genuine Fraud is one to match it. I’d like to read it all over again….
(Thriller, Family, Privilege, Rich, Wealthy, Crime, Friendship, Deception, Secret)
Author – Judy Sheehan
Age – 14+
Sarah is dead. How can this be? She was at her father’s wedding. Life was good. Sure she’d lost her mum and her dad became a workaholic and they’d drifted apart. But then Karen came along and she mended the hurts and the the distance between Sarah and her dad. And they were getting married.
How did she die? And what is this place she has ended up in? It looks like a shopping mall, but there are weird people walking around with no light in their eyes, mumbling to themselves and taking absolutely no notice of her when she asks them – what the heck is going on? Is she really dead? And why is she still wearing the gross coral coloured fluffy bridesmaid’s dress. Could she at least wear something else for all eternity?
Humour, ghosts, angels, murder, revenge, love, and a mission to achieve, I woke up Dead at the Mall is an entertaining read. It sure made me look at things like sunshine, good company, friends, family and the simple things in life in a whole different way.
(Funny, Humour, First love, Angels, Friendship)