Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn

What starts as an ordinary Sydney school day for Fin soon becomes a day never to be forgotten. He sits in school taking part in the banter and enjoying class with his favourite teacher, getting involved in the argy bargy of the bus trip home and talking to the girl he is keen on.  Meanwhile in a country not too far from his own, nuclear bombs have been released and this will change everything for Fin and his little brother Max and everyone they know and indeed everyone in the world. The temperature plummets as ash fills the sky and as food in the shops becomes scarce and people start to become aggressive and paranoid and then sick, life is getting very scary. Once warm, Sydney is now cold and grim. Fin is looking after his little brother and frantically worried about his parents.

This is a brilliant book about resilience and personal strength.  A book which feels very plausible and the characters are written very well, you feel that you know them.  The story of these boys coping alone, dealing with neighbours in trauma and the ongoing struggle to keep themselves fed and warm is a true survival story.  Eventually they will be forced to take action and team up with others and that will come with it's own set of challenges.
Below is a video review from an Australian book reviewer which is very cool.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

School Leavers - the website for you

Are you in your senior years at school?  Starting to wonder what you will do when you leave?  Or are you in year 13 with the end of the year sneaking up on you?

Time to start planning, make firm decisions and make good choices.  The website below can help.
Click this link and it will take you there.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blackline Poetry Competition

This term there has been a huge amount of interest in our Blackline Poetry Competition. Probably the most successful competition that the library has ever run at King's High.  We are using these as our inspiration.

We ripped out the pages of old books and trimmed the edges and made them available for anybody who wanted to make a poem or poetic artwork out of them.  Crikey!  It has been amazing.  The quality of the entries has been fantastic.  Staff as well as students have joined in. I will share some of the entries after they have been judged.  The competition will close at the end of next week, so if you are holding onto poems that you want to enter, act quickly to get them in.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Another beautiful world, like our own but with the wonderful Selznick twist. The absolutely gorgeous look and feel of this enormous art filled book is something to behold, it has gold edged pages and feels beautiful in your hands.  Anybody who loves to draw will enjoy this book from multiple points of view, those who can't draw will be full of admiration for the skill of the author/artist. I love the way he zooms in on his drawings, the distant view becoming more and more concentrated as you realise where his focus lies. Every time you look at a page you see more detail. The picture story fills the first half of the book, then you come to the written story which is also great, nicely tied to the pictures and really a continuation of the story from a different point of view.   This is a lovely book, and the fact that he bases his stories on real lives is always interesting, makes you want to follow up and find out more.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Attack on Titan - our most popular books

Since the library began stocking manga 3 years ago these books have consistently been popular, so popular this year, that in fact, they hold the top 10 spots in our most popular items.  Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama is the story of people who live within walled communities.  They are attacked by a huge human looking beings who seem to want to destroy them.  There seems to be no reason for this.

"The story initially centers on Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and childhood friend Armin Arlert, who join the military to fight the Titans after their home town is invaded and Eren's mother is eaten. However, as the story progresses and the truths about the Titans are slowly revealed to the reader, the narrative shifts to encompass Historia Reiss, squad leader Levi, and other supporting characters." From Wikipedia

These books are read by students from across the school - year 9 - 13 and we have to keep several copies of each of the books. Even though the manga are available as anime online the books just keep being borrowed.  It is fantastic to see.  Coming soon to the library are some new manga series (One Punch Man, Vampire Knight and some new episodes of existing series we stock such as Black Butler, Naruto, Fairytail and Bleach.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

The Stranger is a novel about secrets. It has been popular in our Year 12 classes but I think it would appeal to students across the school. Imagine being in a situation where you meet a complete stranger, someone you've never seen or met before and he starts talking to you as if he knows everything about you. He knows your secrets, he knows things about your family and you cannot figure out how or why. What does this guy want?  Where is all this going?

The Stranger is a good mystery thriller and is really fast to read, the action drives you along, you need to find out what is going to happen next. Where will this stranger strike next?  How can he be stopped?  If you are a fan of Lee Child and his novels then this would be a great next read.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mobile Library by David Whitehouse

If you are a fan of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and books of a quirky nature, then Mobile Library might be the next book you fall in love with. In the book you will meet Bobby Nusuku, who is bullied at school and around his neighborhood and who only has one friend.  Bobby's mum has died and his dad has a new girlfriend, and Bobby is in their way.  In fact they are downright mean to him.  One day Bobby meets a kind woman called Val and her daughter Rosa, they have the keys to a Mobile Library and within it's walls Bobby discovers the power of books. As Bobbies life becomes more and more difficult, and his best friend's quest to become a cyborg to protect Bobby proves to be more complicated than they had thought, Val, Rosa and Bobby take off in the Mobile Library. They are on the run. Hiding out from the police who believe that Bobby has been kidnapped and not without reason. A police chase across Britain begins, these unlikely fugitives will meet all kinds of interesting people, will find love in unexpected places, will become involved in a quest and ultimately will have the time of their lives.

This is such fun, but it is also sad and moving and very easy to read. The story races along with no dull moments at all. Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

This book is a winner for boys who like to read something which is a little different, which has a setting which takes you out of your comfort zone and transports you to another unexplored place.  It is a beautiful story of a young boy, orphaned by AIDS, trapped in a world where he is indebted to a money lender to pay back the debt of a hospital bill caused by his Mum dying of AIDS. A horrible situation, a terrible life, not enough to eat, fighting to survive and living in squalor with a bunch of other children in similar circumstances. Then an interesting man turns up, convinces him to head into the jungle to help him study chimpanzees. What follows is the most beautiful story of bonding with animals that I've read in years. Such a lot going on, the behaviour of the creatures, the relationship between the boy and the professor, intruders, hunters, predators and all manner of danger which definitely includes the chimpanzees. A gem of a book. If you are sick of dystopia try this one.

Inner Fire by R.L. Stedman

Inner Fire is a contemporary young adult novel with plenty of tension and a fantastic premise. Corinne Peterson, with a passion for fashion and desperate to do well in her fashion studies at school, has a genetic disorder, which means that she becomes full of raging heat and can, if sufficiently enraged or stressed, set things on fire!  This disorder has been passed down to her from her rather fabulous and bolshy grandmother.  She is basically a good kid but when a friend tries to drag her into being an accessory to a petty crime, all in aid of getting hold of the right fabric, it all goes horribly wrong.

The setting is London, where CCTV is all pervasive, where your every move is watched and where sometimes the people watching might not want the best for you.  Corrinne is spotted during an altercation in a shop and now it seems that she and her family are being spied upon by sinister men.  Corrinne is removed to her grandmothers house, something she is less than pleased about, but the situation is improved by the fact that the rather gorgeous Rowan is there.  Romance seems to be on the cards and this is new to Corrinne.  But of course it is complicated, tension rises and suspicions are ever present.  

I really enjoyed this book, read it in an afternoon and was fascinated by the disorder Malignant hyperpyrexia, and how difficult that would be to live with. Corrinne is an engaging character and Gran is someone I really wanted to meet.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sam and Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

This is a book for everyone, a picture book which works for grownups as much as it works for little kids and teenagers of every age.  It is the story of Sam and Dave who go digging for something spectacular.  A long hard day ensues.  And that is about it, but that is not really it.  There is lots of funny stuff in the book, lots of quirky little jokes and you have to be clever to see them.  I'm a big fan of these authors, they have a special niche in the picture book world, capturing ideas that appeal to kids are logical to kids but spectacularly funny to adults. Below is the book trailer but also a TED talk by Mac Barnett about what it is to write for kids.  It is really inspiring and funny and well worth the 20 minutes watch. I'm pretty sure you will enjoy it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It has been ages!

A really long time since this blog was given love and attention and more importantly a blog post. This will be rectified. This will hum again. A host of new blog posts will come your way in 2015. The King's High School Library has plenty going on worthy of blogging about, soon you can expect to meet our student librarians (there are a lot this year), you can expect some great books to be reviewed, you can look forward to seeing some of the library life which has been a feature of this blog over the years and you can be introduced to some of the new cool things which will happen in the library over 2015. I'll be back soon. Watch this space!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Amnesty International Quiz

Yesterday we had a new event in the library.  Students coming to the library at lunchtime were offered the opportunity to take part in a quiz organised by Jehoon and the Amnesty Team as part of their Freedom Challenge, this aims to draw attention to those who have been tortured unjustly and to raise awareness of the terrible conditions that some people suffer when they are arrested and held in some countries.  The Amnesty team raised $200 for their efforts with the quiz and a sausage sizzle.  A great effort!  Here are some photos of their events.

Jehoon and Walli organise the participants in the quiz

Participants in the quiz

Will our Head Boy is a walking bulletin board at interval

Jake fully participates in the quiz!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Singing Home The Whale by Mandy Hager

This is a book to give you the feels!  You will meet Will Jackson, he is staying with his uncle in the sounds, in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business. His uncle is a kind man, but he is busy working and Will just needs to get on with things, doing his school work by correspondence and keeping a low profile while he recovers from a trauma which has left his with headaches and panic attacks.  Will discovers a young whale hiding out in the bay and the two lonely souls, Will and the orca whom he names Min form a strong bond. Will is a singer and Min seems to be soothed and somehow to be connecting with him through the songs he sings.  But Min must be kept secret, it is against the law to swim with or become close to these whales, when the local salmon farmer finds out that Min is around, and some of his fish pens are damaged, he is out for blood and reports Will to the local fisheries officer who is now also after Will.  Min's blood and Will must protect his new found orca friend at any cost.

This is a book with lots going on.  A story with lots of layers.  Will's friends and enemies, the people of the town some of whom want to help Will, some who want to harm Min.  So, there is Will's trauma, there is a lovely girl, there is a damaged boy who has been abused and who gradually becomes Will's friend and supporter.  Lots of story and plenty to keep you turning the pages.  I loved the characters and I became completely involved in what was happening to them.  Read this book for a great big story which will make you cry, laugh and for the experience of reading something really special. Highly recommended for everyone.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

This book is addictive.  You start it, and before you know it, you can do little else but read to the end.  The story is very unusual, and the structure is really interesting, but because it is a mystery I can't reveal too much of the plot, you'll have to read it for yourselves.  The story concerns a bunch of teenagers, wealthy teenagers, who holiday with their Grandfather and aunties every summer on their private island.  It is totally idyllic but there are tensions, unspoken complications. The main character in the story, Cadence, is telling you the story of their summer when it all went wrong with her family, with her cousins and with Gat a friend of one of her cousins, but you'll have quite a journey to get there, clues are dripped out about what happened, you know that tragedy occurred but until the end you aren't sure what it was and how it happened.  You know it happened the summer Cadence was 15, and you know that from that point she is suffering crippling migraines.  When she finally returns to the island, she slowly begins remembering the events of what happened in the 15th summer and what happened that changed everything.

This book will have appeal to all the John Green fans, but it does have a different feel, it is a suspense novel, the kind of book where you will have a 'big reveal' moment and finally understand the clues that have been coming all the way through the book.  Have a look at the Tumblr for the book  You can start reading it here!  We have two copies in the library, because this is going to be HUGE!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Reader Of The Month, Ben Duff

This is part of our very occasional series, The Reader Of The Month.  This time we meet Ben Duff, a regular in the library and a student with very particular taste in books.  Scroll down on the Smore to see all of it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Review by Cameron McLachlan, as part of the 50 book challenge

The world is in the middle of WWIII which is being fought in space, the war is about the world's resources and it looks like the enemy might be going to win. Tom Raines is homeless and living with his father, constantly on the move.  They live by gambling and staying in hotels each night.  Tom gets the opportunity to go to the military and fight the war against the Russians in outer space, he has special skills which mean he might be the man to help turn the war around, his gaming talent might be just what the world needs.  Tom has one problem though, the girl that he's fighting, he also really likes.
I really liked the style it was written in.  I really couldn't stop reading it, it was unputdownable!  I think that if you liked Enders Game you would really like this book.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kate De Goldi visits King's High School

Well known writer and reviewer Kate De Goldi spent the day at King's last Friday.  She spent the day in the library and worked with students developing their writing skills.  It was a real treat for the students to work with one of New Zealand's best known writers and as a result we have had a rush on her book The 10pm Question which the boys are really enjoying.  Kate was here in Dunedin for the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival and ran a workshop for young writers and also chaired a session with another well known New Zealand author Elizabeth Knox.  As part of her day at King's Kate came along to BookGang and was amazed to see the rush for the new books.  She said that our BookGang and BookMafia are proof that it is a myth that boys don't read!  She was very impressed with the enthusiasm for reading which she saw at King's.

Here is a photo of Kate working with senior students.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival - Teen events

The Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival is on next weekend the 9 and 10th May.  It is a major event for the city and the people organising the festival (of which I am one) have arranged some events for you guys.

Murder in the Bookshop!
Come along to the University Book Shop on Friday night at 8pm and solve a murder crime.  Write it up and submit it to our illustrious judges to win a prize.  You will meet two of Dunedin's most famous writers.  Vanda Symon who writes crime novels which are clever, keep you guessing and which are loved by crime readers around the world.  You will also meet Ella West who has written a dystopian series and has a new crime novel out for teenagers called Night Vision.  These two writers and a team of helpers will help you with the writing while you figure out the clues to solve the mystery of who murdered the victim.  See Ms Schaumann for more details.  Or look on the website for prices and booking information.  UBS, 8 - 9.30 pm, $25.00

Young Adult Writers Panel
Come and meet Melinda Szymanik and Sandy McKay, both well known authors of books for young people.  They have both written books about war this year, and even more interesting the books they have written have connections to their families.  Melinda's book A Winters Day in 1939 is a book about surviving the second world war as a displaced Polish person being moved around the country in the most horrible conditions and being used as slave labour for the troops.  Sandy's book When Our Jack Went To War is the story of two brothers, one who is off fighting at the front during the first world war and the younger brother who is at home looking after his Mum and becoming frustrated that he can't go, until the experiences of his brother make him realise that war is not all glory.  Both books are great!  Highly recommended reading.  Come and hear the authors talk about writing, how to get started writing and how to get finished and published.  Saturday 10 May, in the Dunningham Room at the Public Library, 11.30 - 12.45, $18
Come and see Ms Schaumann and she may have a free ticket for you to this event.

Write You Are
A workshop with the fantastic Kate De Goldi.  There are very limited tickets available for this event.  Come and learn how to develop your writing style, learn techniques for improving how you write creatively and meet one of New Zealands most respected writers and broadcasters.  Kate De Goldi is often to be heard on Kim Hills Saturday morning radio programme on National Radio, she teaches writing at various festivals and venues around the country regularly.  One of the most respected voices of literature in New Zealand we are very excited to have her in our festival and King's is delighted to tell you that students from King's High School will have the opportunity to work with Kate on Friday next week at school.  Sunday 10am - 1pm, in the McNabb room at the public library. $30  (Tickets will sell quickly for this event, so get in quickly)

Knox @ Knox
Elizabeth Knox is most famous for her book The Vitners Luck, but she is also the author of the Dreamhunter series.  High fantasy and something that will take you on a trip of the imagination unlike any other.  Her latest book is Mortal Fire and promises to be a huge hit here at King's.  She also has a very recent horror novel which is a rival for anything Stephen King has written.  Come and listen to Elizabeth Knox talking about her writing at Knox Church, Sunday 11 May, 4 - 5 pm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Divergent and TFIOS

Divergent - the books are hugely popular here, and now the movie has hit the movie theatres. Unfortunately the BookGang hasn't been able to make it to the movie as a group because end of term madness intervened, but I encourage you all to head to the movie if you've read the book, or even if you haven't, because then you could head straight to book 2, Insurgent.  Here is the trailer.

And if you like the actor playing Triss in Divergent, you'll be able to see her in The Fault In Our Stars in a few weeks.  And we lurve TFIOS!  We love anything John Green here at King's.  Get out your tissues in preparation.  That book has been known to make Yr 13 boys cry.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Read it, Loved it, Share it

At BookGang the last couple of weeks, students have been given a big pile of brand new free books to read, share and then comment about on the Penguin Teen Facebook Page.
The books they sent us were great, but none of you lot have been to the FB page yet! They sent us lots of copies of The Fault in Our Stars, a new book called Half Bad by Sally Green and The Awakening and The Vampire Academy.  Please please go to the Facebook page if you received one of the books and give some feedback.  We want to give you more free books, the whole idea is that you give feedback on the FB page.  Go on.  You know you want to.  You could win some great prizes.  Click here to go straight there and tell them what you thought of the book.

New eBooks in the Library

Today the library purchased a whole bunch of new eBooks for you to read.
You can get to the ePlatform via The Moodle (Virtual Learning Centre) or you can come into the library and pick up an info sheet.  New books added today include:

  • Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
  • Arrival and Contact by Chris Morphew (The Phoenix Files)
  • Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
  • Pookie Aleera Is Not My Boyfriend by Steven Herrick
  • Murder at Mykenai by Catherine Mayo
  • When We Wake and While We Run by Karen Healy
  • Scott Pilgrim (2 volumes) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick
  • Severe Risk by Ray Garton
  • Why We Took The Car by Wolfgang Herndorf
  • A Boy Called Hope by Lara Wiliamson
  • Gingerbread by Robert Dinsdale
  • The Testing and Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green

Some of these are ecopies of books we have in the library and others are new to us and will only be on the ePlatform.  Why not borrow an ebook on your phone, iPad, iPod or Tablet.  They work on all those!  If you need help come and see Ms Schaumann.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

You are never too old for Poo Bum by Stephanie Blake

Today in the library office, while the rain tipped down outside.  The wind whipped around every corner and blew all the doors open around the library, driving in all the terrible weather from outside, there was a moment of perfect peace and tranquility in the library office.  Jake read a story to Mackenzie and Nigel his year 13 classmates.  It was really appreciated and while Mackenzie was able to predict the end of the story there were enough surprises to keep them interested.  Nice job Jake!  And see, nobody is too old for Poo Bum!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book reviewers wanted

The opportunity you have been waiting for!  Share your thoughts on the books you read, write a short - or long - review of a book you've read from the King's High School Library and you will receive a reward. 
Juniors or seniors we want reviews from you all.  If you are a BookGang member you are getting access to the new books before everyone else, why not tell everyone about the new cool books, but any book can qualify. 

If you write a review you can send it to and it will be put on the blog.  If you want to comment on a review which is already on this blog you can do that by yourself.  Just click the comment button at the bottom of each post, your comment will automagically be added.

Any questions?   Come and talk to us, Ms Schaumann or Gill, in the library.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

Poor Jamie!  Five years ago his little sister Rose was killed in a terrorist attack in London.  It was shocking and terrible and it has caused Jamie's family to gradually crumble.  Jamie is only 10 and he struggles to understand what is happening.  Jamie hasn't cried in that whole time and he has bottled up all his feelings and emotions inside himself, but he can hardly remember his sister but her ashes are in the urn on the mantlepiece in the lounge and he can see that every day.

This is one of the saddest books I've ever read, it is gut wrenching, taking you into Jamie's world, his feelings, his poor struggling Mum and his Dad who is full of troubles.  While the book is only small and very easy to read, it might be the most complex book you read this year.  Fabulous writing, perfect characters. Wonderful book. 


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