Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Month: August 2018

Lyla Through My Eyes by Fleur Beale

Lyla Through My Eyes - cover image and web link

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Lyla is a gripping and personal story about one girl’s experience of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and its aftermath.

Lyla has just started her second year of high school when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes Christchurch to pieces. Devastation is everywhere. While her police officer mother and trauma nurse father respond to the disaster, Lyla puts on a brave face, opening their home to neighbours and leading the community clean-up.

But soon she discovers that it’s not only familiar buildings and landscapes that have vanished – its friends and acquaintances too. As the earth keeps shaking day after day, can Lyla find a way to cope with her new reality?

This is a page turner of a book exceptionally well written by Fleur Beale. A young person’s life turned upside down with the major earthquake and then made even worse as the shakes continue and liquefaction of the soil makes moving around incredibly difficult.

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As she finds herself alone, with her parents helping others, Lyla establishes a friendship with Matt, who she has previously thought of as a real loser. She rescues her friend’s documents by entering a building about to collapse.

The book is great to read, with references to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake plus a timeline, and a glossary, the reader will be well-informed plus an understanding of life through this natural disaster.

Fleur Beale is author of many award-winning books for children and young adults – with 40 books published in New Zealand, plus books published in the United States and England. She is a former high-school teacher and lives in Wellington.

Fleur has won many awards including; the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book: with Slide the Corner in 2007, and I Am Not Esther in 2009, the Esther Glen Award for distinguished contribution to children’s literature for Juno Of Taris in the 2009 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards, Fierce September won the YA category in the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and the LIANZA Young Adult Award in 2011.

In 2012 she won the Margaret Mahy Medal for her outstanding contribution to children’s writing, and in 2015 she was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature. In 1999, Fleur was Dunedin College of Education’s Writer in Residence Series editor and series creator

Allen and Unwin, Australia publish Through My Eyes series created and developed by Lyn White. Her work with refugee children motivated her to create the acclaimed Through My Eyes series of books set in contemporary war zones.

Lyn created and edited  Through My Eyes – Natural Disaster Zones series to pay tribute to the courage and resilience of children, often the most vulnerable in post-disaster situations. Lyn continues to teach EAL and is an education consultant and conference presenter.

We loved reading Lyla, a captivating book about this recent disaster.We recommend for children from 9-10 years and all ages.

Sue Martin

Books go Walkabout, stories across the world



Grandad Mandela – A special families’ event 15th August 2018

South Africa House - image

The family reading to the audience!

A very special event which raised the profile of this beautiful book, and enabled children to have a voice. 

It brought members of the Mandela family into South Africa House, in Trafalgar Square, London. The afternoon was full of significance. The happy family amidst a small group of 30 people, in dark oak panelled walls, of this diplomatic house visited by Nelson Mandela in 1996.

Nelson Mandela is a global icon of peace and forgiveness, a freedom fighter who spent 27 years in prison and went on to be President of South Africa. In 2018 he would have been 100 years old!

Zindzi Mandela, the youngest daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, talked about the need to write this book for children, seen in the eyes of children. Ziwelene and Zazi had questions about their great grandfather and the different world in which he was raised. The book gives a chance for answers to be given, which help in understanding some of the situation at that time.

Zindzi  said  she wanted to encourage all children to be involved in storytelling, as there is so much beautiful history in South Africa and  in where children are today. She asked all the children to find themselves in words, to find their expression in words and she added,

“For many years as black South Africans we were not allowed to have a voice, but now we have a voice. And we won’t stop talking! And we won’t stop writing!”

The High Commissioner for South Africa, Thembi Tambo, spoke highly of the book and work of publishers Lincoln Children’s Books, and also of The Mandela Legacy, which supported the book and also supports many endeavours in enabling people to create, produce and live their lives.

Grandad Mandela - cover image and web lnk

An inspiring story!

“… I can’t imagine a better way to allow children to access information, on their terms. It allows children to discover, in a way that is comfortable for them.”

Thembi praised Zindzi for her struggles in life as a young child and how she had to internalise her fears and her anger and to support her children and grandchildren in this story of Nelson Mandela.

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It was a real privilege for the Books Go Walkabout team to be part of this event. Our book review and blog has been widely read and we hope that it will enable a wider understanding of the struggles of Mandela and South Africa.

Sue Martin

Books Go Walkabout


Books! Books! Books!

Books! Books ! Books! - cover image and web link

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A book about books by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom. Explore inside the greatest library on earth!

A fascinating journey through literature via Shakespeare, Bronte sisters, Brothers Grimm, Dickens, Lewis Carroll  and many others  included at The British Library.  Opening the pages of  Books! Books! Books! is like stepping into The British Library itself in London. An enormous building full of hidden treasures and packed with books. Visit the cafe with a wall of very old books stretching from the ground floor to the second floor.

Mick Manning and Brita Granstorm work in partnership, this intriguing book is full of information and illustration; from man-eating monsters to lost children, from magical creatures to flying machines.  Mick and Brita’s Facebook page shows some of their award-winning titles, such as What Mr Darwin Saw, The Beatles and William Shakespeare.

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Otter-Barry Books has created and published this beautiful hardback book, which children of many ages will enjoy reading and adults too.

The book will act as a pathway for children to venture into libraries and explore, to follow their imaginations learning along the way.

We recommend for all ages and for adults too!

Sue Martin

Books Go Walkabout

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