Friday, October 26, 2018

Bookish - Perfect for Presents

Bonjour :-)

How is it that we're already in October?? Today I'm excited to talk about more books by excellent New Zealand writers. These would all make great presents for people in your world. If you buy them from your local bookshop you'll be supporting local and supporting local authors and publishers - triple win! :-)

Oh Boy: A Storybook of Epic NZ Men by Stuart Lipshaw is a wonderful contribution to the the profiles of inspiring people that are popping up at the moment.

Raising 2 boys means these kind of books are very welcome at our place. (We do have girl books too because we can be inspired by anyone.) This book has a great line up of men who have had a real influence in their chosen fields from artists to inventors, from sportsmen to surgeons there are so many great men to be introduced to. A great book for quick stories with a wide variety of illustrators there is also a real assortment of artistic styles. These kind of stories are great jumping off points for talking about ambition, hard work and resilience. This one stays on the coffee table or nearby at our place for easy grabbing - a perfect book for dipping in and out.

I love that these kind of books push us to realise their are so many great people who are kiwis and are doing/have done great things for Aotearoa and the world.

Super gift for any family in NZ!

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2018 RRP $45.00 HB

Wake Up Bear by Lynley Dodd

As an illustrator and writer Dodd is synonymous with excellent books created for small people. Her feeling for language and stories that last the test of time is so well established. Wake up Bear is a book full of delightful interactions as all the animals try to wake up bear for Spring.

Will anyone succeed in waking up bear or will someone very small offer a little incentive that will get past everyone else's efforts?? Fun, sweet and joyful - as can be expected of Dodd.

Details - Penguin Random House, August 2018 RRP $17.99 PB

Hero of the Sea: Sir Peter Blake's Mighty Ocean Quests by David Hill and Phoebe Morris

The next in this great series of influential New Zealanders. I hadn't appreciated that my littles wouldn't have heard of Sir Peter Blake. This story has all the wonder and joy of a life lived for ocean adventure.

I love that this book includes Blake's death by pirates - not in a gratuitous or violent way - but that it sits with the sorrow of a life cut short. Death by old age seems an acceptable thing in children's books but that can be limiting of the reality that we experience as people. It's good that this book gives a framework to discussions of loss and living onwards. (It includes the lives of Pippa and the children to the present).

My nine year old LOVED the red socks - especially on the elephant in the zoo. Like the others in the series it has a great timeline as well. I can imagine this series will be very enjoyed by small people with particular passions and also by people doing special projects on famous kiwis.

I hope as the series continues (I am assuming it will) that it will include Māori, Pasifika and other cultures. Super pleased to see a woman included and looking forward to more of them too.

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2018 RRP $25.00 HB

Love you more than being inspired on home turf xxx

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Bookish - Beautiful Bookish Gifts - middle sized people

Heya peeps,

I feel like I am so looking forward to mid-November when all assignments are done and my TWO day exam is finished. I have this large stack of books piling up for when I have some leisure reading time available to me.

I'm also starting to think about Christmas gifts. I often fall for books as an option especially for little people. I'm going to do a few posts with some line ups of books that have been recently added to the shelves at your local bookshop.

The Wizards of the Once by Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is one of those writers who seems to have a golden touch. Her How to Train Your Dragon books need no introduction. (I also have a real soft spot for her Emily Brown books). Her latest book The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic is filled with adventures and twists and turns and her classic relatable sense of fun and humour. The novel, which she also illustrated, follows Xar and Wish and how they meet again.

Mr 9 has been reading it and giving me feedback, he says 'My favourite bit is when it says the punishment cupboard would like to remind you that ALL MAGIC IS BANNED IN THIS CASTLE. No sprites, no spelling, no cursing, no charming and absolutely no enchanted objects. By order of the queen who will most unfortunately remove your head if you disobey. I like it because Wish is using magic inside the punishment cupboard. This book would be good for 7-11 year olds.'

Details - Hachette NZ, September 2018 RRP $24.99 PB

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson and illustrated by Laura Barrett.

This classic story has been reimagined with the exquisite silhouetted illustrations by Barrett. Printed on concertinaing heavy card the final page becomes a pop-up castle. In the front pocket of the book are little stand up paper-dolls that you can use to reenact the story in the castle at the end. I imagine this would be a very precious gift for any little fairytale and imaginative play loving person. Because of the small pieces and the delicate nature of pop-ups I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under 7.

I could also see it being a very special grandparent or auntie/uncle book that would be anticipated each trip. Even without the words there would be much to love about this book for anyone who loved to tell their own stories. Just wonderful.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2018 RRP $29.99 HB

Stories for Kids who Dare to Be Different by Ben Brooks

You may remember the Boys Who Dare to Be Different book I reviewed recently. This one is in the same vein. It highlights is a range of heroes who come from a variety of time periods and cultures and whose life had an influence on others. Some of them had an impact while they were young and others just began their passion while they were young. There is a pleasing variety both geographically and in time periods. I love being introduced to new heroes whose 'sound bite' (one page) stories can be grabbed and shared easily.

I love that the book introduced me to women like Biddy Mason whose generosity and tenacity is inspiring others so many years on. I keep our growing collection of these kind of books under the coffee table and we all grab them now and again and discover a new inspiration.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2018 RRP $39.99 HB

love you more than a great stack of books and a fireplace to read them by xxx

Monday, October 15, 2018

Bookish - For those who care

Hi Again,

More amazing titles from Aotearoa authors who care for conserving our beautiful land.

New Zealand's Great Walks: The Complete Guide by Paul and Shelley Hersey.

This husband and wife team, photographer and writer, have put together a beautiful book of Aotearoa's nine great walks (one is actually a river journey). The book is a testament to their love for the land and the outdoors and opens with a challenge to all who walk the tracks to play their part in defending and protecting the amazing environment we enjoy here. The book includes great information for any walker, cycler, kayaker as well as very detailed descriptions of each walk. Included is a graph of the topography, a map of the walk, highlights and lengths and times for each day as well as plenty of other goodies.

This is a fabulous book for anyone who loves tramping and exploring. Plenty of details to whet the appetite! I can think of quite a few people in my life that would love this for Christmas.

Details - Penguin Random House, September 2018 RRP $45.00

Eco Home by Melinda Williams.

We're hoping to dive into a bit of a renovation project at our place and I'm keen for us to make as little impact as we can environmentally speaking. This book has a wealth of accessible, inspiring and detailed information for anyone who is wanting to make 'greener' choices in their own project. It's not just for builders or renovators though the book also has great info boxes throughout to help give ideas to anyone who would like to just live a little lighter on the planet. It's great to have a book like this written in a NZ context as often international books have things that we cannot source here.

I'm so enjoying all the things I'm learning and I love that there are plenty of photos scattered throughout to keep the inspiration levels high. A perfect gift for anyone whose making lifestyle changes or request your local library to get a copy I'm sure it will get plenty of borrowing.

Details - Penguin Random House, September 2018 RRP $45.00

love you more than treasuring what we have xxx

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Books to Enjoy With a Cup of Tea

Kia ora koutou,

I love having books that I can dip in and out of for a few quiet minutes. Two books that sit near me on the couch for that very purpose are Big Weather: Poems of Wellington and I Am New Zealand: Aotearoa Through My Eyes.

Big Weather is a book of collected poetry that capture the shapes and sounds of our capital city.

The authors range from established poets like Hone Tuwhare to emerging voices on the poetry scene. My husband grew up in Wellington and we have family who live there so it's familiar territory for me. This book would make a great gift for anyone who loves poetry and the land and cityscapes of our capital city. I love how a good poem can completely transport you in a few moments and words to another place.

Details - Penguin Random House, June 2018 RRP $30.00 PB

I Am New Zealand is a book of stunning photography capturing their NZ.

It stemmed from a Nikon photography competition. The book travels from Cape Reinga all the way to Stewart Island and the variety of images is stunning. It's a book that makes me want to travel the length and breadth of my own country. It's a wonderful testament to the beauty of this whenua and the creative ability of those who dwell in it behind the camera lens.

This would make a fantastic gift for anyone and I am so enjoying the way it expands my heart as I linger with different images over a cup of tea and the sound of birdsong. Also all profits from the book are being donated to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, wins!

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2018 RRP $45.00

It is so good to see books being published in Aotearoa by our own. I think it's especially important to support these kind of books.

Love you more than a cup of tea and birdsong xxx

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Bookish - Is it Bedtime Yet?

Heya Readers,

My fabulous sister is a real fan of Emily writes so I've asked her to guest contribute a review for this book for me.

Review – Is it Bedtime Yet?  Emily Writes and Friends

Ahhh… “Is it bedtime yet?”  How many parents have wondered, prayed and wished this question and it is a fitting title for Emily Writes’ latest book.
Those who laughed, cried and “amen-ed” their way through her first book, Rants in the Dark, will not be disappointed with Emily Writes’ latest work.  Of the 50 stories in the book, nearly half are penned by Emily, with the rest written by a range of parents, many also Wellington-based.
The unifying theme of the book is honesty.  Diverse parents share their honest truth about what parenting looks like for them.  And there is something for everyone here.  Parents will relate to topics such as the inner conflict about the kind of birthday party you want to host vs. what “everyone else” seems to be doing, the disproportionate negative impact of daylight saving on young families, fertility challenges and raising children who believe in themselves.  Some of the stories are raw and painful, others are challenging and humorous.  All are vulnerable and infused with love - “Oh, the capacity of our hearts for our children!” 
Emily Writes has a particular talent for retelling stories with humour and dialogue that makes you feel like you are in the room with her.  I also love her tendency towards hyperbole such as (on making a homemade birthday cake): “It took only 160 days, a two-month course on fondant, and a small piece of my soul but it was worth it.”  Some of the other contributors have a more poetic narrative.  I particularly enjoyed the imagery used by Thomasin Sleigh, Holly Walker, and Nichole Brown.  Thalia Kehoe Rowden’s imagery in the science of motherhood also appealed to me. Regardless of the authors’ writing styles the message hits home loud and clear: parenting is complex and hard.  We’re all doing our best.  Being honest about the journey - the highs and the lows - helps everyone.  Amid the laughter and tears is woven a steady thread of encouragement for struggling parents everywhere:  “We do our best.  Sometimes our best doesn’t feel like it’s good enough.  But it is.  And we keep doing our best.  Every day.  For the best things that have happened to us, we do our best.”  And “You will survive this, and you will learn that you are stronger than you know.”
This book will resonate with any parent with under-fives in their care, and perhaps also with parents of older children if they haven’t already blocked the early years from their memory.  You will see your own life, conversations and thoughts reflected here.
For readers who are undecided about starting a family, it might pay to save this book until it’s too late to change your mind!  (Perhaps not a suitable gift for your childless daughter-in-law if you’re hoping for grandchildren any time soon).
Health warning: this book contains traumatic birth, swearing, sleep deprivation, sexual references, bodily functions, alcohol and substance use.  Prepare to laugh.
 A few choice extracts:
[Advice for Dads] “Unfortunately, the world isn’t ready to see you spray-foamed into yoga pants, downward dogging.  Until times change, wear good trainers and bend at the knees when lifting”.
“If you go to sleep now, I promise you I will buy you a car when you turn sixteen, we can work this out.”
“’Any day now’ the midwife says.  Any day.  But not today, or today, or today.”
 “Our roots are something to be proud of.  Our stories are begging to be told.”
 “Attempt, if you can, to halt the Earth’s gravitational pull.  It can impact the sleep patterns of your baby.”

Guest review by (my sister) Abi Vink of Wellington.  Abi is a Strengths-based Career Coach, avid reader and mother to 3 small children.

Details - Penguin Random House, July 2018 RRP $35.00

love you more than sharing the love xxx