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.