Fabulous new non-fiction graphic novel Moonbound

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, this book brilliantly captures the story of the landings but is actually so much more! A graphic novel that tells the story, not only of Apollo 11, but the ancient moon mythology, the early history of physics and astronomy, the birth of rocket science, the space race with the Soviet Union, and the politics of the space program. The illustrations really added to the book in a way that made the whole thing feel completely accessible for anyone and not technical or boring at all.

Ouch! Equality in the space program was certainly not a priority in the 1960’s!

 

 

 

5 million pounds, that’s more than 2 tonnes of propellant, or rocket fuel, was used in the first two minutes of the launch! Unbelievable!

 

 

 

This will be brilliant for anyone interested in space or science.

For more information, have a look at NASA’s website here:

NASA have made their entire collection of images, sounds, and video available and publicly searchable online. It’s 140,000 photos and other resources available for you to see, or even download and use in any way you like.

The space story continues, who knows where it may lead????

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Finalist Picture Books meet their harshest critics

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Wise and learned people may have been chosen to be the judges for the New Zealand Book Awards, but for picture books, we have some excellent judges right here at Seatoun School. Each of the books has been read by … Continue reading

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New Zealand Book Awards Fiction section – too close to call

A group of 20 year 5/6 students have been reading the 5 finalists in the fiction and first book sections of the Children’s Book Awards, the winners to be announced at a glitzy evening ceremony at Te Papa next week. This group of students will spend the day at Te Papa, listening to various authors telling us about their books and how they came up with the ideas for them.

We have tried to decide which one we thought would win, but actually each one had its merits, either because it was gripping and kept you hooked, or because the characters were likeable and relatable. A great selection for the finals and a very difficult job for the judges!

Here are some reviews from 2 of these students, Madeleine and Louie

The Mapmakers Race is a good book about exploring. It is about a Family of children that are competing against adults in an exploring race, to find a pathway through mountains for train tracks. They have to fight hard terrain and adults that are trying to sabotage them.                                      

I think that it is suitable for 8 and 9 year olds that like stories about children going on adventures. My favorite character is Beckett.

Do you think they will make it to the finish line?. Review by Louie.

Review by Madeleine:

28 days to make a difference, 28 days to map a rail route through the mountains, 28 days to keep alive, 28 days to save someone’s life. Can they do it? Will they be able to survive?

Their dad got lost on his last adventure and he hasn’t come back since. Will he be back? When? How?

They had their mother but then she got lost at a train station. She will, hopefully be back but it will be a very long wait. Will the kids be able to be patient for that long?

The kids have many questions and zero answers. However those question weren’t normal questions they were, well…need to be answered questions. The questions were between tomorrow and today. Staying or going, hope or failure, and one more thing… life or death!!!

Without their parents everyone things they will lose or not make it out alive. However they have other plans. Plans that will get them to stand in the face of failure. Go up against others in a race that will determine what in their life happens next, what in others life’s happens next.

In a little cottage there is a boy, that boy has to make a decision like the Santanders. Will he choose right or will he choose wrong? There’s a lot of weight on his shoulders because that decision will decide the Santanders decision and that decision could make a very, very, very big difference. What will they choose and what will happen next.

There are five teams in this race and only one can win.  They must watch out because all the other teams are made of adults and some of those adults dont play by the rules. It will be deadly, it will be dangerous. Can they do it?

The Dog Runner – review by Madeleine: Confused, Annoyed, Irritated, In need of some food, Hungry, Starving, Desperately In need of food, Empty stomached, About to faint, On verge of death. Dying, dying, dying…

The grass is dying which means the animals and wheat and grains are dying which means we – humans – are dying.

Ella and Emery must try and survive in a world that’s not surviving. They must learn to walk on their heads as their dad would say except he’s not here and neither is Ellas mum nor Emerys mum.

Ellas mum has been in the city for eight months now because the gates were closed so there was no possible way for her to make it back home. She has to work very hard and for what…

Emerys mum is far, far away over the land across dangers unheard of, challenges no-one has ever faced until now…

Both Emery and Ella’s dad was with them but now he has left to find Ellas mum in the city. Will he find her? Will they escape unseen? Will they make it back home? Most importantly, will they be safe?

With all parents gone Emery and Ella must decide what to do next. There are now way more bad, desperate people out there and way less food, and by way less I mean way less. The Council promised food but it never came. No-one could do anything they were all helpless.

Their village was in a wreck. Their were so many abandoned houses with their owners having left to find somewhere safer. There were tin cans, empty food cartons and rubbish strewn everywhere. The village was bad and that was only a small part of the world, all of which had been taken over by this disease.

Was anywhere safe or wherever they went would they always find someone that would either try to hurt, kidnap or kill them.  Everyone was starving to death. Some people had already passed away and now everyone was doing all they could to stay alive. Their were the people that were trying to help others too but it was the others you had to be careful about because they were out to kill!

One night Emery makes the decision to leave, where to Ella does not know. How far away Ella does not know. How will they get there Ella does not know. However what she does know is that it won’t be safe, it will be the opposite, very, very, very dangerous!!!

The Telegram – review by Madeleine: Beatrice Thomas had already lost her father and was now just living with her Ma and her sister Tilly. Her one hope was for no one else she cared about to die, however that wish could not come true any more at all because that was when the war began.

When most of the men were whisked away to training camps and different countries to defend their family, friends and honour there were many, many jobs for the woman to take up. One of the jobs was telegram boy – in this case girl.

Beatrice Thomas took up the job as telegram girl to help her family when their budget became tight. She had to quit school.  The job was hard, awful and a job that you had to have the strongest of hearts. Most telegrams consisted of loved ones dying at war brothers, husband, cousins, sons all lying down dead in a place far from home.

Beatrice’s friend Caleb was fighting at war and she was receiving letters from him. The letters told her about victories, losses as well as death. Then one day they stop coming!

Then one day there is cause for celebration. Things were looking up but then something that no one could stop happened the telegrams still had to be delivered however now the rules had changed. If no one answered the door then you could go inside their house. The things you saw in their were things you and I could only imagine in our darkest nightmares. 

The death toll numbers rose higher and higher and almost everyone stayed in doors.  People needed help and lots of it before they would be no more.

Beatrice’s life was crumbling to pieces. Their had still been no letters from Caleb, Beatrice’s Ma was ill in bed with the disease that was torturing the world and their we’re still more telegrams to deliver. Could Beatrice do it and would everything come right in the end? 

There was a choice, stay strong or surrender. Which one would you pick and which one will Beatrice pick?

Here is Madeleine, we will look at more of her reviews of First Book category books on the next blog post.

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Risk-taking, messing up and becoming your amazingly imperfect, totally powerful self

This is a great new book in the library for our girls to read, but which might end up being borrowed more by parents.

Areas covered include risk taking, dealing with failure and perfectionism, friendships, how girls’ brains are wired, parents, and positive steps towards confidence.

Risk taking – a 7 step approach which recognises different types of risks, their best and worst case outcomes, and coping with stepping out of your comfort zone.

Failure – relating strongly to Risk taking – how do we reconnect with the world when a failure feels so catastrophic, whether it be a failure in a piece of work or a mistake in judgement or decision making which lets down people we care about.

Girls’ brains uncovered – we learn some interesting facts about emotional overload and multitasking here. This can give some sort of rationale about why girls can overthink things and help to give themselves permission to switch off when necessary. Using the word “maybe” to help present the alternative and perhaps more realistic scenario about what might be going on in others’ lives to explain their action or inaction.

 Confident friendships – recognising when a friendship does not feel positive and finding the confidence to understand why this might be (again using the maybe word – your friend may have stuff going on that is making him/her aloof/bossy/mean) and acting on a remedy. Also about finding new friends.

Perfectionism – being a people pleaser all the time – recognising it, understanding it might not be sustainable 100% of the time.

The book takes a practical approach, with real life stories from girls in these situations, and a non-patronising step by step approach to suit each individual. This can be borrowed by students or parents from the school library.

If you are interested in this book and others like it, then I would recommend the blog that can be found on this website – Amightygirl.com. The site is full of book suggestions around all kinds of topics such as life skills, family circumstances, exploring sexuality, anxiety – but also stories of courageous and inspiring women from the fields of science, exploration, sport, music, political activism, etc. They can also be found on Facebook and I have been impressed with the quality of their posts.

This book covers similar topics and was reviewed on this blog here.

If you would like to borrow this book or any other please call in to the library or email wendy.bamber@seatoun.school.nz.

 

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Room 9 learning to love the slippery longfin eel

Room 9 shared a book with me in the library and we were all fascinated to learn about the incredible journey our native NZ longfin eels take in order to spawn their eggs in the Fiji Basin. The journey can take up to 6 months and the eels have nothing to eat in this time.

In this story, the eels must overcome adversity as they navigate blockages in their river and almost don’t make it altogether when they get stuck in a fishing net. Luckily the guardian of the river is overseeing their journey and they make it to safety. The eel larvae float in the currents towards New Zealand, finally becoming glass eels and then elvers as they grow into full sized eels.

The Room 9 children have created some beautiful artwork and some lovely writing to share their understanding of this amazing animal which is endemic to New Zealand.

NIWA scientist Don Jellyman has written his own great story which describes briefly the lifecycle and behaviours of longfin eels. Click on the link here to find out more and even you might grow to love these slippery little suckers!

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Neal Shusterman Book Signing – meet an internationally bestselling author

Neal Shusterman is an American author visiting New Zealand for a whistle-stop tour, and his single appearance in Wellington is at The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie this Tuesday from 4pm. He will be signing books, either available from the shop on the day or if you bring yours from home.

We are big fans of Neal Shusterman at Seatoun School – his book Scythe was a class text for Room 1 in 2018, quickly followed by the sequel Thunderhead:

From Goodreads: A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.”

These books have been touted as a successor to The Hunger Games – a great teen action adventure that will have you turning the pages quickly but also wondering about the ethical questions it raises. The hotly awaited third book in the trilogy, The Toll, is due out in November this year.

Dry was co-written with Neal’s son Jarrod and has been a popular stand alone novel at Seatoun among the year 7/8s. Set in California in the not too far distant future, Alyssa and her neighbours have grown used to being careful with water. Taking short showers, not filling their pools or washing their cars – these are first world problems that are part of everyday life. Suddenly, with no warning, the taps run dry. Supermarkets become a battle scene as bottled water is quickly sold out, and suddenly those people who managed to make provisions for themselves become targets. People find creative ways to profit from the situation and the desperation that drives the community to take drastic action. When Alyssa’s parents leave her at home to go and join the line at the desalination points and fail to return, she must leave her home and go off in search of safety, and water. Tense, page-turning action – a great book for boys and girls from Year 6.

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Summer reading success brings new books to the library

 

We were very excited to find out that Seatoun School won the Summer Reading Challenge this year – second year on the trot! 58 of our children contributed to our win by not just reading the books on the SRC list but by going that extra step of placing a review on the Wellington City Libraries Kids’ Blog. You can look for their reviews here: Seatoun Reviews

We received $500 of vouchers to spend for our school library and as there are always new books that we like the look of we have already made a large dent in this at The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie.

 Bella’s Mum is working hard to make ends meet, and when she finds out that the money to pay for her autistic brother’s special school has run out, Bella finds an impossible way to help out. Her Dad taught her everything he knew about darts and for her it is a skill she takes for granted, but it turns out she’s actually pretty good! Taking your little brother into the local pub while you take part in a darts competition may not be in the usual perfect sibling handbook, but hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. A great story of perseverance, love for family and believing in yourself. For boys and girls age 8+.

 Brian Falkner is an award winning New Zealand author – his book Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo won the young adult fiction section of the 2016 NZ Children’s Book Awards. In Cassie Clark: Outlaw, Cassie’s father is a prominent US politician and despite a fragile relationship with her mother she knows how privileged her life is, no less because of the attractive secret service agent assigned to keep her safe. When she is involved in a hit and run, her father disappears and then her name is connected to a high end drug gang, Cassie is forced to consider that a loony conspiracy theorist’s ideas are perhaps not so loony after all. A fast paced action thriller for age 10+.

 We are huge fans of Alan Gratz’s work at Seatoun – Refugee was bought as a full class set and enjoyed as part of an international read aloud by Room 1 – and many of our students who like reading wartime historical fiction will love this new one. Set in Japan towards the end of WW2, we see two soldiers – one US, one Japanese – set on a collision course towards each other. They know what their duty is, but what will they actually do when they finally meet? Another excellent Gratz special for age 10+.

 Carl Hiaasen is another popular author – Hoot is his best known book which many of our teachers and students will have read. He tends to include an ecological theme in his books and Squirm is no different. Billy Dickens lives a transitory life, staying in one place not really long enough to make good friends, and so although he is an upstander and we see evidence of this early on, using his ease with snakes to fend off the local bullies, he remains quite solitary. Completely unafraid of new challenges, he sets off across country to find his absent father who he feels should be making more of an effort in his life. He finds new family, new friendships and a great outdoor adventure. A funny tale for anyone, age 8+.

All of these books can be borrowed from our school library.

 

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