It’s all here, kids: burps, farts, aliens





Row, Row, Row your Waka / Hoe, Hoe Hoea te waka By Rebecca Larsen, Bateman Books, $21.99 .. .. .. .. .. This is a new edition with Ma¯ori translation by Justin Kereama and Tania Solomona and includes a CD with waiata sung by Paul Inia with music by Richard Larson (also included in the book). It tells the tale of three friends who go on a journey in a waka. You can sing along and do the actions while you row, row, row your waka / hoe, hoe hoea te waka. Great book. — Linda Hall Roo and Vladimir (An unlikely friendship) By Minky Stapleton, Scholastic, $19.99 .. .. .. .. .. Roo the dog is big, really big. So big he accidentally inhaled Mrs Dunkirk's ham. All the other dogs are afraid of him which makes him sad. Then he finds a friend — Vladimir the Pekingese, who is as small as Roo is large. One day a storm comes and washes out the bridge, leaving Roo to come to the rescue and become everyone's hero. A lovely tale of friendship and some great, funny illustrations of dogs. — Ann Kilduff Atlas of the Heart By Brene Brown, Penguin / Random House, $45 (hardcover) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Author Brene Brown takes readers through 87 emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. She explains how to access a universe of new and second chances. Chapters include Places we go when we compare, places we go when things don't go as planned, and places we go when we are hurting. — Linda Hall IN HIS SEQUEL TO the Battle of Bash, Kiwi author Mr Mac has Norm, Ruby and The Super Weirdos battling a new enemy, Queen Roodle. This book has everything kids could want, an army of spaghetti and meatballs monsters, fart jokes, burps, space travel, aliens, adventure, secrets and more. We asked Mr Mac some questions: What inspired you to write and illustrate this book? I am a primary school teacher and I love helping kids gain confidence. I started writing to get kids to really enjoy reading, to have them laughing and, importantly, to help all kids, not just the ones who already like reading. When I saw how successful my first book (The Battle of Bash) was with kids aged 7-13, I couldn't wait to write another one. I love the idea of Carol Dwek's growth mindset. I have tailored this book to teach kids my alien secrets through the life of Norm. My alien secrets are 1: Never give up! Never surrender! 2: Just get started! and 8: Stop, breathe, smile, focus. I love hearing from teachers who say things like, ‘I said ‘remember alien secret number 2' and the kids just started working. Amazing.' I want to build a series that helps kids learn the skills needed to achieve their goals in life while making them laugh and love reading. What age range is this book aimed at, and what should your readers expect? My books are aimed at readers aged seven to 13. Every time I write my books I always make sure I test them on the kids in my class. I get feedback from them and try my best to add jokes I know they'd like because I've used them in class or heard them say them to their friends. I teach years 5 and 6 (nine, 10, 11 year-olds) but I know many intermediates and colleges used them, too. How does being a teacher help when writing for children? For me, it's my point of difference. I have my target market in front of me every day. I can use my writing to help me teach literacy, which engages all of my readers. I can ask them for ideas that I really will put in my book. If they don't like it, I can edit it in real-time to make it better. If they suggest a change, I can make it there and then in front of them. I have been blown away by the number of kids, boys, especially who have said to me, “I'm writing a novel, can you read it?” I love that they see writing as an achievable goal because they have someone at their school who is doing it. What is your view on ‘reluctant’ readers, and what can parents do to help their children who aren’t keen on reading? I think of this a lot. A teacher I respected once said to me, “You wouldn't drive past a half-built house and say that frame will never amount to much, so why do we expect kids to be able to read straight away? These kids are under construction.” I see a lot of parents put pressure on their kids, which puts the kids off. Happy kids learn best. Listen to what they are interested in and print some information about that topic. For example, if they like gardening, rugby, penguins, Africa, cars or space, find some information about that topic and print it off. Leave it sitting somewhere obvious and if it has a picture on it, the child will find it and they will be curious. Support the child to read what they want to read and they won't look back. Is there another Super Weirdos book in the pipeline? Absolutely. I love the writing process and I am already busy writing my third book, The Super Weirdos and the Death Beard Domination. I've been laughing away to myself for a couple of weeks now while writing. I have a plan to write 10 books in this series with a range of alien secrets to help kids learn how to get the most out of their life. Impossible — Young Readers’ (10+) Edition By Stan Walker, Harpercollins, $24.99 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Whoever came up with the idea of a Young Readers' edition of Stan Walker's autobiography deserves a fistful of precious metal stars. The 2009 Australian Idol winner is no stranger to precious metal. He has walls full of platinum and gold discs and has featured in box office hit movies. All of which makes him the type of role model youngsters will bond with. That Walker's story features his no-holds-barred account of the domestic violence he suffered as a child is, regrettably, something many of them will have experienced too. Life hasn't been easy for Walker. This first person memoir candidly tells how Walker has conquered so many charactertesting road blocks. Perhaps a more apt title for younger readers would have been Inspirational. — Jill Nicholas