Author – Armand Baltazar
Age – 9+
Imagine a world where all of Earth’s history is thrown together in a tumble of times. Victorian, Art Deco, Steam, Dinosaurs, Airships, the present and the future – all mixed up by a singe cosmic event. This is the world that Diego Ribera lives in.
His father Santiago Ribera is a brilliant mechanical engineer and for Diego’s 13th birthday he is given 3 gifts – one being the understanding of a mysterious inherited gift, and part of the reason for his father’s sought after skills.
When his father is kidnapped, Diego is determined to find him, especially after an argument between them. He is thrown into an adventure with dinosaurs, technology, pirates and three other teens in a quest to get his father and his engineering team back.
What results are the Rangers of the Vastlantic, four teens from different times, working together with their special skills to save the world as they now know it.
Bursting with sumptuous illustrations from the talented Armand Baltazar, who has worked for Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks as a director and artist. There is plenty of action, great character developments, steam gadgets, intrigue and mystery to keep any reader glued to the page – except the illustrations are so good, you want to stay looking at them! FANTASTIC!
(Action, Friendship, Steampunk, Kidnap, Pirates, Dinosaurs,
Author / Illustrator – Gavin Bishop
Age – 6+
From before the age of dinosaurs to present day, this large scale sumptuous book tells the story of our country:
– Our Discoverers, our Names, Maori, Pakeha, Treaty, Wars, Transport, Employment, Housing, Education, Clothing and much, much more. It can be dipped into at random, gleaning facts and interesting notes right throughout, or read from cover to cover as I did, following our country’s journey through time.
By one of our most celebrated and award winning author/illustrators, this book can be looked at again and again. Fabulous!
(New Zealand, Kiwi, Award winning author, History, Non-Fiction)
Author – Helen Peters
Age – 10+
Evie is not happy. Her Mum has remarried and gone off on honeymoon, leaving Evie to stay with a godmother she has never met. The room she is shown on the first night looks just like any other room – except for a message scratched into the glass of the window.
Her godmother tells her of a tale told about her room. The message is said to be left by a girl over 200 hundred years before, after being locked in there by her own father.
Evie soon learns more about this girl first hand – waking up in 1814 in the same house, wearing maid’s clothing. Life is very different in 1814 and she has to learn her dawn to dusk duties very quickly or be fired and forced to leave the house. But how would she get home again?
The more she learns about the house and its occupants, she soon meets the girl who scratched the message in the window. Evie knows she has to warn her about her father before it is too late – hoping this righting of a terrible wrong will return her to her own time.
Another great read by Helen Peters – connecting our time with the past in a unique way.
(History, Historical, Godmother, Courage, 1814, Time Travel)
Author – Morris Gleitzman
Age – 10+
It’s 1946. The war is over and Felix and his friends Gabriek and Anya are heading back to Gabriek’s farm – keen to live a life without fear. But all does not go to plan and they are soon running for their lives.
The 6th in Morris Gleitzman’s ‘family’ of books about Felix’s life – before, during and after World War 2, Maybe he’ll finally be able to find a life without having to look over his shoulder, avoid death all around him and become the doctor he wants to be?
Maybe this will happen when he wakes up in an airbase? Maybe it will happen when he flies to Australia? But there is always the threat of Zliv, the younger brother of a man they killed in Poland, who does not care that it was in self defense.
Drawn right into the continuing narrative on the very first line, the reader is back in Felix’s life. At age fourteen, he has seen terrible things, lost loved ones and suffered throughout the war. But the war has ended and now he has hope for the future. This ‘family’ of books has been written and intended to be able to be read in any order. Once, Then, After, Now, Soon are as beautiful and heartbreaking as each other. Maybe they’ll be one more in this family?
(War, Loyalty, Courage, Australia, Series)
Author – Emma Carroll
Age – 9+
Olive and her little brother Cliff are evacuated from London after a close call with a bomb. The same night of the bomb, her older sister Sukie went missing. There has been no sign of her and Olive is still trying to figure out what she saw. Sukie was meeting a man. This man gave her something and then held her hand. Was it a secret boyfriend?
They are sent to a small seaside town where Sukie had a penpal. But the supposed penpal doesn’t seem to know a thing about Sukie. Olive has noticed other strange things and behaviour in town and also a coded note in the lining of the coat Sukie was wearing on the night she disappeared. It was all she had left of Sukie from the rubble of the bomb.
With a mystery to solve, friendships to make and suddenly many lives at stake, Olive and Cliff are caught up in a plot of courage and determination. But where is Sukie?
Another great story from Emma Carroll with a twisting and turning plot to keep readers engaged in a young girl’s quest for answers. Along the way she builds her own courage amongst prejudice, distrust and broken hearts from a war that never seems to end.
(Historical, WWII, War, Family, Jews, Courage, Mystery, Evacuee, Siblings, Refugee)
Author – Megan Shepherd
Illustrator – Levi Pinfold
Age – 9+
Emmaline lives in a grand mansion that has been converted to a hospital for sick children. She too is one of the sick, but is still able to explore and go places the other children don’t dare. She is a bit of a loner, as it seems she alone sees the magnificent winged horses in the many mirrors of the hospital. Putting it down to imagination, the nuns that look after them all shrug it off. But the other children aren’t so kind.
One day while exploring places she shouldn’t go, Emmaline finds a real winged horse in the garden behind a wall. It is injured and shy and she is fascinated. But this winged horse is there for a reason. She is hiding from the Dark Horse who is looking for her – a horse with evil intent.
When Emmaline begins finding letters from the Horse Lord about the winged horse (named Foxfire), she learns she is Foxfire’s only hope. She needs to find all the colours of the rainbow to scare the Dark Horse off before he is back at the next full moon.
Whether it be Emmaline’s imagination or something that really happens to her is up to the reader. Emmaline is a feisty, courageous little girl with an inquisitive mind and a sad past. This story is beautifully told and exquisitely illustrated by the exceptional talented Levi Pinfold. Gorgeous!
(WWII, Horses, Animals, Mystery, Quest, Bully, Illness, Hospital)
Author – Allison Rushby
Age – 9+
Flossie is only 12 but has a very important job. She is the Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery in London. WWII is raging around them, with bombs dropped every night, which makes her job quite difficult. As Turnkey, she is responsible for keeping the thousands of people buried at Highgate – at peace.
Flossie herself is also a ghost and can travel around London and even further afield just by thinking of the place. It is one night from St Paul’s Cathedral that she sees someone who shouldn’t be in London. He shouldn’t even exist. The German Soldier she sees is defying the rules of the dead as he hatches a plot to win the war.
With only her ghost friends to help, they follow the SS Officer to try and prevent him causing trouble. Along the way she discovers he is connected to her own past. Now that all of London’s cemetery’s are at risk, not to mention the entire country, she doesn’t know who to trust among the dead. Can Flossie stop him in time?
(Ghost, Friends, WWII, Cemetery, Grief)