Warner Bros. Studios released this week a sneak peak at the movie adaption to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby. Filmed in Sydney, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardio DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, the movie is set for release in December 2012.
Did you like the movie trailer to The Great Gatsby? Do you think the movie will live up to expectations? How might the film compare to the classic American novel? Are you excited to see actor Leonardo DiCaprio star as Gatsby?
Diary of a Whimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney will be appearing in Melbourne in May.
On his first visit to Australia, Jeff Kinney will be at the Melbourne Town Hall (90-120 Swanston Street) on Sunday May 20 from 2-3pm.
Kinney, a very popular author with OLMC students, will be talking about his cartooning career, how the character of Greg Heffley orginated, the Whimpy Kid films and this newest book Whimpy Kid: Cabin Fever. You could even get your books signed.
During the holidays the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announced its Children’s Book of the Year 2012 Shortlist. The books are judged on literary merit, quality of illustrations, book design, production, printing and binding. The CBCA Book of the Year winners will be announced on Friday August 17.
The OLMC Library has most of these books already, with others on this list arriving soon.
Book of the Year: Older Readers (Year 7 + Young Adult Readers)
Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel by Michael Gerard Bauer
A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon
The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky
The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner
Ship Kings: The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan
When We Were Two by Robert Newton
Book of the Year: Younger Readers (Appropriate for Year 7 and 8)
Students who seek to read books similar to The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (John Boyne) and Morris Gleitzman’s Once series will not be disappointed in Suzy Zail’s The Wrong Boy. Australian born Zail is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, whose first person account features Hanna Mendel, 15, living with her family in theDebrecen Jewish ghetto inHungary. Hanna is a talented pianist and has dreams of being a famous musician like her idol, German pianist Clara Schumann. However, her dreams and that of her family, along with the dreams and lives of other Jewish families, are shattered by the Nazis.
When the Nazis arrive and close the ghetto, Hanna and her family, along with other Hungarian Jews living in the ghetto, are being “resettled.” A long and arduous train journey in a cattle car takes them to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp inPoland. Hanna, her mother and sister Erika are separated from her father. Life atAuschwitzis harrowing with Hanna’s mum becoming mentally ill and Erika slowly starving to death until they are taken away ‘somewhere’. But Hanna is chosen to be the camp commander’s (Captain Jager) pianist in his house and while there meets Jager’s son, Karl. The more time Hanna spends at Jager’s house the more she discovers about what is really going on atAuschwitzand the more she falls in love with Karl “the wrong boy”.
The Wrong Boy is a well-written novel that keeps the reader hooked until the end. With a fast-paced and vivid storyline thanks to Zail’s descriptive language makes Hanna and her family’s plight (and those of the other captured prisoners atAuschwitz) seem so real. This is truly a moving and compelling novel, yet is accessible for students from Year 7 onwards.
Joey, a thoroughbred horse, starts off life as a working horse in England but quickly finds himself confronted with the battlefields of Germany during World War I. War Horse is a re-released novel by British children’s and young adult author Michael Morpurgo and is a tie in with the movie directed by Stephen Spielberg. It is a tale of the special bond between Joey and a young boy named Albert and is told from Joey’s perspective.
Joey as a colt is sold to an often bad-tempered and drunk farmer. Luckily for Joey, the farmer’s son Albert loves and cares for Joey. However Albert’s father sells Joey to the British Army to be trained as a cavalry horse during World War I. Albert is devastated and pledges to find Joey. At 16, Albert enlists in the British Army, but lies about his age in order to find Joey.
War Horse is a beautifully written story and is an engaging read for students in Years 7 and 8, but is equally enthralling for adults. The 182-page book is broken up into 21 short chapters making it easily accessible to students.
War Horse the film will be released on DVD on May 2, 2012. Check out the movie trailer below.
The Horses Didn’t Come Home by Pamela Rushby is a beautiful story of loyalty and courage that highlights the bond between the Australian Light Horse soldiers and their horses. This Australian novel tells the story of the victorious cavalry charge at Beersheba in the Sinai Desert in 1917 during World War I, which is in contrast to the horrific events at Gallipoli.
The story begins with 16-year-old Harry and his family on aQueenslandproperty in 1914. Army officers arrive at Henderson’s Run seeking horses for the Light Horse regiments forFrance,England,Egypt and the Middle East. Harry and his friend Jack decide that they want to serve in the Australian Army as Light Horsemen. When Harry’s horse becomes lame prior to departure, Harry’s sister Laura allows him to take her beloved horse Bunty.
The story is told through two characters’ points of view – Jack and his sister Laura. Much of Jack’s story is told though letters to his family, even letters to Laura from Bunty informing them of his training and battles during his two year deployment in Egypt and the Middle East.
The book’s title pinpoints the story’s ending. The Horses Didn’t Come Home is an accessible and beautifully written historical war novel for students in Years 7-10. It is sure to provide readers with new knowledge and understanding about Australia’s Light Horse regiments during World War I and the infamous cavalry charge at Beersheba.
Deborah Ellis’, best known at OLMC for her Parvana trilogy, depicts the disparity between Indian social classes in her latest novel The Best Day of My Life through the eyes of a young orphan girl, Valli. Daily life for Valli in the coal mining area ofJharia,India, is hard to say the least. She fights to overcome hunger, overcrowding and her uncle’s abuse. Valli earns a meagre living collecting coal and she is not allowed to attend school. Her greatest fear is being thrown to the ‘monsters’ in the nearby leper camp. This is truly a story of courage, hope and resilience.
On the best day of her life Valli discovers that the people she believed to be her family were not. Seeking a better life Valli stows away on a truck headed for Kolkata (Calcutta). She calls upon her innate bravery and resourcefulness to survive by begging and ‘borrowing’, unaware that she too is infected with leprosy. Fortunately Valli meets a doctor to offers to treat her “magic feet” in a leprosy hospital. But first she must decide whether she can trust this doctor and overcome her fear of lepers who she once considered as “monsters”. Over time Valli becomes compassionate for her fellow leprosy suffers and finds her place in a community filled with support, love and care. Importantly Valli sees hope for her future.
The novel is a highly recommended read for students in Years 7-9. The author has included notes on leprosy and a glossary of Indian terms. With its short chapters The Best Day of My Life is an accessible and easy read for students and is a compelling tale of a person’s strength over adversity.
2012 has been declared the National Year of Reading (NYR) in Australia It is a year that will foster and promote the life-long love and pleasure of reading.
At the OLMC Library the NYR will be about encouraging students to read and to read more widely and ensuring that keen readers find new sources of inspiration. We want OLMC students, staff and parents to discover and re-discover the magic of books and storytelling. The library plans to mark this special year with reading and literary events and activities to highlight the importance of reading and literature.
For more information on the NYR 2012, you can check out the Love2Read website at http://www.love2read.org.au
No Safe Place emphasises the strength of human character and determination during times of adversity. Ellis, renowned for her Parvana trilogy, successfully captures the horrific experiences of young characters attempting to escape atrocities associated with war.
Orphaned 15-year-old Abdul flees war-torn Baghdad to a squalid, makeshift migrant community in Calais, France, with high hopes for a better life and opportunities in England. Following an altercation at the camp, Abdul escapes and in desperation sneaks onto a people-smuggler’s boat headed for England. He remains unseen until well at sea. On the boat Abdul meets Rosalia, a 14-year-old Romani girl who has escaped the white slave trade; 13-year-old Cheslav, a Russian military school runaway and 10-year-old Jonah, the people-smuggler’s abused nephew. Once isolated and hardened by their experiences, the four children form a friendship amid battling rough seas and a violent people-smuggler, who is eventually thrown overboard by the refugees.
While sailing toward England and enduring rough conditions, Abdul’s story merges with the stories of the other refugees, Rosalia and Cheslav, who dream of freedom and a life away from brutality and treachery. Flashbacks delving into the past experiences of Rosalia, Cheslav and Jonah draw the reader to a deeper understanding of their harrowing lives that now sees them with Abdul on the boat contemplating a brighter future. Together their myriad of stories of loss, despair and prejudice related in No Safe Place will evoke disbelief and sympathy from readers. During the treacherous boat journey the reader continually wonders whether the group will make it to England and what will happen if they get there.
No Safe Place is a story of courage and friendship based on the true experiences of refugee children seeking to find a place for themselves in the world. Strong and powerful themes emerge, including society’s attitudes to refugees, racism, desperation and hope, resilience, human rights and the importance of home. This well-written novel keeps the reader hooked until the end. With a fast-paced and vivid storyline, realistic characters that allow the reader to connect with their heart-felt stories and feel empathy for their plight, it is an easy-to-read and accessible novel for students in Years 7-9.
Copies of No Safe Place are available at the OLMC Library.