Monday, August 25, 2014

Michael Gerard Bauer : Top 10 Books


A few weeks back I shared author Michael Gerard Bauer's top 20 Australian Young Adult novels. Now, here's his top 10 international middle-grade and YA books.

1. The Knife of Never Letting Go (and entire 'Chaos Walking' Trilogy) - Patrick Ness
2. Will Grayson Will Grayson - David Levithan and John Green
3. Looking For Alaska - John Green
4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
5. Wonder - R J Palacio


6. Ostrich Boys - Keith Gray
7. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
8. Holes - Louis Sachar
9. Maggot Moon - Sally Gardner
10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie


For more top authors' top ten books click here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Barry Jonsberg : Top Ten Books

 

Barry Jonsberg's My Life as an Alphabet achieves a beautiful balance of pathos and humour. It has been named a Children's Book Council Awards 2014 Honour Book for Younger Readers. (See the CBCA site for all the winners.)

Here, Barry shares his top ten Middle-Grade / Young Adult novels of all time:


1. Holes - Louis Sachar

2. Just A Dog - Michael Gerard Bauer

3. The Messenger - Markus Zusak

4. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

5. Deadly Unna - Phillip Gwynne

6. Mice - Gordon Reece

7. Liar - Justine Larbalestier

8. Happy As Larry - Scot Gardner

9. The Abhorsen trilogy - Garth Nix

10. The Uglies trilogy - Scott Westerfeld

Plus many more...


Looking for a great Children's or Young Adult book? See other authors' top ten books lists.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Alice Pung: Room to Read Writer Ambassador



I first met Alice Pung in 2009 at Perth Writers Festival. I was struck by her intelligence and humour. In festival panels she is straight-faced and uproariously funny. She is the editor of Growing Up Asian in Australia and the author of Unpolished Gem and the upcoming Laurinda. Here she shares the  personal story that led her to become a Room to Read writer-ambassador.

1. Out of all the charities in all the world, why did you decide to become a writer-ambassador for Room to Read?
Room to Read focuses on literacy, especially the literacy of young girls and women. I grew up with a mother who was not literate in English, and barely literate in her first language. They closed down all the Chinese schools in Cambodia when she was in Grade 2. I can personally see the effects of literacy through a lifetime. Literacy changed my life. I became a lawyer and a writer, while my mother worked as an outworker and then a (very successful!) salesperson at Betta Electrical, where she continues to work. There is also a huge difference between my illiterate relatives in Cambodia and the literate ones.

Image courtesy of Room to Read.
2. What do you most love about Room to Read’s work and approach to what they do?
They involve teachers, students and writers - all groups that understand the importance of literacy. Also, the writer-ambassadors' enthusiasm is infectious.


3. What makes you care about education and literacy for children in other parts of the world?
Because if fate had not intervened, I would be that child on the other side of the world, looking after siblings or languishing in a refugee camp. Not a day goes by when I don’t realise how lucky I am!

4. You are a literacy hero. What kinds of things have you done to show your support for Room to Read?
I have spoken to schools, local and international, made donations, and right now Rebecca Thorpe and I (Room to Read in Melbourne) are planning a very exciting half-year ahead with an art exhibition and book launch!


5. What actions can schools and students perform to show their support?
They can support through Students Helping Students, and the World Change Challenge.

The 2014 Room to Read World Change Challenge is an attempt to raise $20,000 to buy 20,000 books for children in the world's poorest countries by the end of October. I would love you to help us here: http://www.tristanbancks.com/2014/03/room-to-read-world-change-challenge-2014.html

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wendy Orr : Top Ten Children's Books


Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island, Mokie and Bik and many other much-loved stories, has been kind enough to share her top 10 books for young people (actually a top 13 because she loves books so much she couldn't reduce it to just 10).

Wendy contributes to my growing list of top 10 favourite Children's and Young Adult books by some amazing authors. Here are Wendy's top 13 in no particular order:

Because of Winn Dixie, Kate DiCamillo,

Matilda, Roald Dahl

Divine Wind, Garry Disher

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

Museum of Mary Child, Cassandra Golds



Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan

Savvy, Ingrid Law

Winterling, Sarah Prineas

Northern Lights, Philip Pullman



Counting by 7s, Holly Goldberg Sloan

The Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff

Museum of Thieves, Lian Tanner

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 Byron Bay Writers Festival


Byron Bay Writers Festival kids' tent Sunday is one of the great days for kids and books on the lit calendar and I hope you make it there one day. This year I felt honoured to be appearing alongside Sally Rippin, Mem Fox, Asphyxia, Nick Earls, Jesse Blackadder and Andy Griffiths.

Here are the pics, taken by my beautiful wife and talented photographer Amber Melody.

Stage-diving with Prime Possum.
video
We howled like maniacs in this Instagram video as a tribute to the amazing volunteers who make the 
Byron Bay Writers Fest happen.


Raph, whose story appears in My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong, and his amazing artist mum, Claire.
Raph came up onstage to help inspire other young writers to submit their stories for inclusion in the third My Life book, out April 2015. (See details of my search for a young writer here.) 
The scab-ripping contest with Fruit Roll-Up scabs and mandatory eating of said scabs was second-to-none.
We played 'What Would You Rather Do?', a childhood game I used to play with my friend Luke that's featured in My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong. The audience decided whether they wanted to see me decorate Raph's head like a dessert or him decorate mine.
He won.
Question time. 
Kids stormed the stage. Chaos reigned.
Raph and I signed books. I wondered if Malcolm Fraser's session in the other tent was anything like this.
I decided to have a good, hard look at myself and perhaps grow up at some point. Then I decided against it.
Hope you've booked your tickets for next year. 2014 was a sold-out fest!

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