Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bookish - The Key

Kia ora koutou,

The winter is really setting in here in Christchurch, NZ and I'm between semesters in study so I making the most of adding more reading time to my life.

I recently finished reading The Key by Kathryn Hughes.

The novel flicks between two time periods - 1956 in the Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum and 2006 where Sarah is exploring the past of what is now an abandoned old building - the same Ambergate from the previous period.

The book is clearly well researched and told from a storyteller who has the ability to grasp the small details that make a setting come to life. In 1956 Ellen is a student nurse with minimal training and a desire to do good. Her placement at the asylum is supremely challenging. She has compassion for the patients and especially those for whom the asylum has become a way of dealing with troubled family members.

As the time there unfolds it is clear that there are lines that are being crossed by patients and caregivers...

Meanwhile in 2006 Sarah makes a discovery that will lead to more information and more questions than she could dream of. Will she follow them all the way to their conclusion and what impact will that have on her life and the illusions that surround it?

At one point I was a bit worried that the nature of treatments doled out to patients would become too intense for me to read but in the end I'm glad I persevered and they didn't go too far in a direction I was worried about. It is a harrowing read in places because these are real things that happened to real people.

It reminds me of the richness our world has in its diversity and how powerful the desire to make everyone behave in certain ways can be - and the damage it does to humanity when those impulses are given free reign.

Details - Hachette NZ, April 2018, RRP $29.99

love you more than a sandwich shared by strangers xxx

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bookish - The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Heya Friends,

Now that I am studying part time sitting down to read for pleasure feels like such an indulgence. I think I stopped reading for pleasure about midway through high school, I neglected it while studying and teaching and I didn't really get back into it until I was home with my children. It's a shame really - all those books I could have got through.

Recently I read Ruth Hogan's book The Particular Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes. The book is Marsha's story, a life that was stunted by a terrible event 12 years earlier. For the following years she has been stuck and unable to go on. Her spare time is shared between the cemetery and the local outdoor pool where she is unable to drown herself, even though she would like to.

Two highly unexpected women make their way into Marsha's life and piece by piece the rare, and unseen beauty of their lives invites her to embark on a journey back to a life that is filled with life.

I so enjoyed this book. I love that the best and brightest characters were older women who had refused to live the life society would have dictated to them. The joy they offered others in just being unapologetically themselves is a great invitation to us all.

Details - Hachette NZ, May 2018 RRP $34.99

love you more than a perfect chorus delivered to hungry crows xxx

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bookish - I'm The Biggest

Kia ora koutou,

It's nice to be moving into the cooler weather which always feels like a great opportunity to snuggle up with a book - with little people or on my own.

I'm the Biggest by Stephanie Blake continues to explore the life of the rabbit Simon who has made himself famous with his regular retort in the book Poo Bum. This time Simon's new language 'No way!' sees him exploring the classic childhood rivalry over who's growing fastest.

It also explores the deep contradiction that you can bag your sibling but heaven help anyone else who does it while you're around!

If you have little people who love Simon and the other books about him this one will hit the spot and I'm sure be an oft requested read aloud.

Details - Gecko Press, June 2018, RRP $19.99 PB

love you more than a new mark on the height chart xxx

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bookish - Lynley Dodd

Hi Peeps,

If any of you have travelled through the toddler years you will be well familiar I am sure with Hairy MacLary and all his friends by the fabulously talented Lynley Dodd.

Dodd has such skill with words and illustrations and she never fails to hit the mark. Her rhyme schemes are impeccable and an absolute joy to read aloud.

Today I'd love to introduce you to two of Dodd's non-Hairy MacLary titles which I think are just as perfect and would be a gorgeous addition to any collection.


Counting, animals and a bossy wart hog who doesn't want to share the watering hole. First published in 1995 I remember my very small number lover adoring this book when it came home with us one day from a library visit.

The animals are so lovely and the relationship between the warthog and the others may well be played out in kindy sandpits from time to time. One of my favourite ever counting books - it's a proper story that happens to be a counting book, rather than a counting book thinly held together with a story.

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, May 2018 $17.99

Find Me A Tiger

Again a book whose rhyme scheme absolutely delights me. Each page has a delightful four line rhyme with an accompanying picture to explore to find the animal hiding in the picture some where. I can see this being a firm favourite with any little animal lover or detective.

The relationship between the words and illustrations just sings.

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, May 2018 $17.99

love you more than hours of enjoying words with little people xxx

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bookish - Finding


I'm enjoying squeezing in moments here and there to read. This year I am studying and working alongside my usual life so the time I have for leisure is precious and I am trying to guard it more carefully and use it more intentionally and joyfully.

Much better to lose an hour in a book than reading alarming things and social media rants online!

Finding by David Hill is a great novel that follows an intertwining of two whānau through seven generations.

The novel spans from 1886 through to 2018 and tells everyday mundane and extraordinary events of two Māori and Pakeha families. There has clearly been research that has gone into giving the book depth and plausibility.

Each chapter is told in the voice/s of a new generation and it is great to feel the link between the generations.

This sort of book makes me want to know more of the family stories that give me life.

A very readable novel. Suitable for competent readers of upper primary and beyond. A great way to delve into some of our history's events in a way that brings them to life.

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, May 2018 RRP $19.99

love you more than a wonderful discovery during a very near miss xxx

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bookish - Kakapo Dance

Kia ora koutou,

I am always on the look out for New Zealand authors and topics in books to give to friends, near and wide, when they have little ones.

I think books are a fantastic gift and in the early years board books are worth their weight in gold. Little people go through rather a grabby phase and it's so good to still be able to share books with them without the heartache of ripped pages.

Kakapo Dance by Helen Taylor is a great size for sharing with little ones and the pages are nice strong card which makes them durable and the pages turnable. My favourite part of the book are the illustrations which remind me just how beautiful our birds are. They are brimming with life and colour and movement.

As I read it I was reminded how many of our birds we call by their Māori (original) names. I would love it even more if all the names were the Māori ones, I think it's such a great way for us to work towards more recognition of the names that were already given.

A fun, onomatopoeic, read aloud book for little birds who need to know we all dance and sing our own way.

Details - Penguin Random House, May 2018 RRP $15.99 BB

love you more than a tui on a kowhai tree xxx 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bookish - You Are Awesome


How could I resist asking for a book called You Are Awesome? Turns out I am so glad I did. Matthew Syed author and former international table tennis champion has written this excellent, visually appealing and highly readable book.

In it he breaks down the difference being being average and being ordinary - and though there are plenty of big names scattered through out the book, he is at pains to paint the real story of how they got to where they are. There are sections of famous failures and what people see and what the reality is.

The book is a great exploration, at a upper primary to lower high school level, of the growth mindset. It has plenty of great tips along the way.

This is a book I will be recommending to our school library and encouraging my children and teachers I work with to read.

A timely, well written and challenging (must persevere more!) book to read.

Details - Hachette NZ, April 2018, RRP $24.99

love you more than a funny story about a bus to Norway xxx