Book Review: The Tiger At Midnight

The Tiger At Midnight – Swati Teerdhala – The Tiger At Midnight Trilogy #1 – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 23 April 2019

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Synopsis

Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.

Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.

My thoughts

The Tiger at Midnight is a sweeping fantasy novel, beautifully crafted and unique with its Indian-inspired setting.

Esha is an assassin, known as the Viper. She works to undermine General Hotha and King Vardaan who caused so much harm when they unrightfully stole the throne. Kunal is a solider. Raised by General Hotha, Kunal knows his duty is to the king and army. But when he at first unwittingly meets Esha and is then tasked with finding and killing the Viper, everything he knows about the world and his role in it will be challenged.

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Book Review: The Boy Who Steals Houses

The Boy Who Steals Houses – C.G. Drews – Orchard Books – Published 4 April 2019

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Synopsis

Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie. 

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

My thoughts

The Boy Who Steals Houses is an emotionally devastating, heartbreaking YA contemporary. Seriously. Pack tissues. Yet, also in parts funny and with characters who are totally loveable, The Boy Who Steals Houses is sure to steal your heart.

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Book Review: Driftwood Bay

Driftwood Bay – Irene Hannon- Hope Harbor #5 – Revell – Published 2 April 2019

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Synopsis

After tragedy upends her world, Jeannette Mason retreats to the tiny Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor to create a new life. Vowing to avoid emotional attachments, she focuses on running her lavender farm and tea-room–until a new neighbor with a destructive dog and a forlorn little girl invades her turf. But she needn’t worry. Dr. Logan West is too busy coping with an unexpected family, a radical lifestyle change, and an unruly pup to have any interest in his aloof and disagreeable neighbor.

Yet when both Jeanette and Logan find themselves pulled into the life of a tattered Christian family fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria, might they discover that love sometimes comes calling when it’s least expected?

My thoughts

Driftwood Bay returns readers to Hope Harbor, where faith and romance, friendship and community come together to give hope and new beginnings.

Jeanette likes the privacy her little lavender farm and tea rooms in Hope Harbor give her. She is good at shutting out the world and she likes it that way. When Logan West and his niece, along with their boisterous beagle, move next door they, along with the new refugee family in town, threaten the walls Jeanette has built around her heart. Will she let them in and risk her heart again, or will fear keep her from the chance of love and new friends.

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Display: Very Hungry Caterpillar Display – 50 Years

Display – The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Celebrating 50 Years

In 2019 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle will celebrate 50 years in print. To celebrate we decided to turn the Very Hungry Caterpillar day (March 20th) into a gigantic birthday celebration.

For years now, our Junior Reading Room has hosted a giant Hungry Caterpillar poster, created by the students many years ago. It is a much-loved favourite of our Head of Library Services and so it has held pride of place in the Reading Room. So, I decided to design and place the Very Hungry Caterpillar 50 Years display around this old poster.

The giant hanging leaf is a new addition to the reading room, purchased from Ikea, and it fit nicely into the display.

With a lot of help from our awesome student library helpers, we made 3D fruit for the Caterpillar to munch on, thanks to Mr Printables for the awesome templates. All the needed fruit is available in the free downloadable pack, we just had to colour the oranges orange to transform them from lemons. We also used these 3D fruits to create headbands to wear throughout the week (any excuse to dress up). We just hot-glued the fruit to a plastic headband.

Our handy Cricut cutting machine cut lots of coloured dots, which we strung together to add brightness to the area. (These could also be used for a Roald Dahl display, as it kind of looked like Willy Wonka had thrown a party with all the colour). A 3D caterpillar was made with styrofoam balls, green and red paint, a purple straw, goggly eyes and more hot glue.

Hungry Hunt

As well as dressing up throughout the week of celebrations, we also ran a Hungry Hunt. Students had to find the fruit cutouts hidden around the library and write down the secret clue hidden with each piece of fruit. Their answers went into the draw to win this awesome prize pack – thanks to Penguin Australia for previous supplying us with Hungry Caterpillar Posters, which were both included in the prize pack and included in the display.

Book Week 2019: Display Ideas

Book Week 2019 – Display Ideas

The theme for Book Week 2019 is Reading Is My Secret Power.

2019 Book Week web banner 1200x500

The theme and offical artwork offers plenty of inspiration for displays: powers, superpowers, secrets, transformations, hidden identities.

Powers and Superpowers

There are plenty of ideas surrounding “Reading is my superpower”, so I am planning to use those ideas and adapt them for a fresh Book Week look.

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Book Review: The Center of the Universe

The Center of the Universe – Ria Voros – Kids Can Press – Published 2 April 2019

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Synopsis

Grace Carter’s mother — the celebrity news anchor GG Carter — is everything Grace is not. GG is a star, with a flawless wardrobe and a following of thousands, while Grace — an aspiring astrophysicist — is into stars of another kind. She and her mother have always been in different orbits. 

Then one day GG is just … gone. Cameras descend on their house, news shows speculate about what might have happened and Grace’s family struggles to find a new rhythm as they wait for answers.

While the authorities unravel the mystery behind GG’s disappearance, Grace grows closer to her high school’s golden boy, Mylo, who has faced a black hole of his own. She also uncovers some secrets from her mother’s long-lost past. The more Grace learns, the more she wonders. Did she ever really know her mother? Was GG abducted … or did she leave? And if she left, why?

My thoughts

The Center of the Universe is an fascinating YA contemporary novel about growing up, about family, about love and friendship, about horrible events that change and shape lives, about waiting and overcoming, about learning to listen, and about watching the stars. Part mystery, part coming-of-age contemporary, The Center of the Universe is sure to delight and surprise YA contemporary readers.

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Display: Storey Treehouse

Storey Treehouse Read-a-likes Display

The Storey Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton is a huge favourite with our young library readers. We have numerous copies of each of the, currently, eight books in the series and they are usually all on loan.

This display is to help readers who love the Storey Treehouse series find some similar titles to enjoy.

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Book Review: Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking – Isabel Sanchez Vegara and lllustrated by Matt Hunt – Little People Big Dreams – Lincoln Children’s Books – Published 5 February 2019

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Synopsis

When Stephen Hawking was a little boy, he used to stare up at the stars and wonder about the universe. Although he was never top of the class, his curiosity took him to the best universities in England: Oxford and Cambridge. It also led him to make one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the 20th century: Hawking radiation. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the brilliant physicist’s life.

My thoughts

I have heard great things about the Little People, Big Dreams series, so I was eager to read this instalment which features the great scientist Stephen Hawking.

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Book Review: Objects in Mirror

Objects in Mirror – Tudor Robins – Stonegate #1 – Published 18 April 2017

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Synopsis

Starving, starving … Grace is always starving these days. 

But Grace is also strong, and determined, and skinny. For the first time ever Grace is as thin as she wants to be – nearly – and there’s no way she’s giving that up. 

Except, what if she has to give up other things to be able to keep wearing her new “skinny” breeches? 

What if it comes down to a choice between all the horses she loves – Sprite, the ferocious jumper, and Iowa, the sweet greenie, and Whinny, the abused but tough mare – and the numbers on the scale, the numbers on food labels, the numbers always running through her head? 

Grace knows what her stepmother, Annabelle, wants her to decide. She knows what Matt – gorgeous, amazing Matt – wants her to do. She knows what the doctors think. 

But she also knows nobody else can make this decision for her. And sometimes she’s not even sure if she’s got the strength to do it. 

My thoughts

Need a horse book for older teen readers? The number one author I always turn to is Tudor Robins. In Objects in Mirror, as in all her books, she expertly combines stunning horse knowledge and the precious bond between rider and horse with the every day challenges of being a young adult, growing up, and falling in love. Objects in Mirror also incorporates themes of mental health and anorexia. It is a beautiful, easy-to-love story that is sure to delight readers.

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Book Review: Your Mind Is Like The Sky

Your Mind Is Like The Sky: A First Book of Mindfulness – Bronwen Ballard, Illustrated by Laura Carlin – Lincoln Children’s Books – Published 5 February 2019

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Synopsis

Your mind is like the sky. Sometimes it’s clear and blue – but sometimes a raincloud thought comes along and makes everything seem dark. So what can we do about rainclouds?

My thoughts

Mindfulness is a hot topic and this book is a wonderful way to introduce the concept to young readers. The story is simple and very clear in its descriptions of mindfulness techniques, using a metaphor of the sky, with both cloudy and clear sunny days, to illustrate the concept, and yet also clearly explaining the process of controlling your thoughts. The illustrations, a mix of watercolours and coloured pencil outlines contribute to the dreamy state of the book and give it a child-like air. The main character is consistently done in full colour while many of the background characters and objects remain as simple outlines.

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