Friday, June 07, 2013

Friday Recap: Week 6

Each Friday, I’ll be posting a recap of the week’s events in case you missed them and invite you to tell us what you’re reading. If you’d like a recommendation for new books to read, send a comment telling us what sorts of books you like and other readers may be able to give you some suggestions.

This week, by chance rather than by design, the theme seems to have been journeys.  

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised.  As Wayne Mills, the Kids' Lit Quiz founder and quiz-master says, "it is no mistake that books are shaped like doors"  and all books take us on journeys.

On Monday, C.S. McMullen compared the process of making a TV series with that of writing a book and gave us an insight into a new TV series for kids called Nowhere Boys.

The series, which will screen on ABC3 in late 2013 or early 2014, is about four mismatched teenage boys who return from a school trip, only to discover that they have come back to an alternate world where they no longer exist because they’d never been born.

Lots of journeys here:  the school trip, the journey home and the journey of self-discovery that comes with having to adapt to the alternate universe. How do you think you'd cope if you no longer belonged in your own life?  How would you re-invent yourself?

Hazel Edwards took us along on some of her research trips on Tuesday.  I liked Hazel's observation that,  "when things go wrong it's called research" and I especially liked reading about her trip to Antarctica.   How cool to have an iceberg named after you.  I wonder what's happened to the Hazelberg since it was named.  How long do icebergs last?

Hazel also wrote about her favourite book as a child, Enid Blyton's The Land of Far Beyond.

I, too, loved Enid Blyton as a child so it is just as well (for me) that she was so prolific:  The Secret Seven, The Famous Five, The Magic Faraway Tree, Mallory Towers, The Naughtiest Girl in the School, I read them all.  But I'd never come across The Land of Far Beyond.  It sounds like it would fit with our journey theme, doesn't it?

On Wednesday, Nette Hilton's reflection on the books she loved as a girl growing up in the Australian bush, took us on a journey into the past and introduced some classic Australian children's books to new readers, perhaps also reminding older readers of titles they may have forgotten.  These are stories that deserve to be revisited and passed on to new generations of book lovers.

Readers who are interested in classic Australian children's books should also have a look at the comments section of Nette's post where I've added some more classic Australian children's book titles and a couple of links.

Paul Collins detailed the mythic journey that forms the underlying structure of most successful fantasy novels on Thursday. 

Originally built as a workshop for writers, Paul reworked his 12 point structure to include texts which are familiar to most of us such as  The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Hunger Games and the Star Wars film, so we can see the structure in these familiar story lines.

"Of course", we say with the advantage of this clear explanation, "that's what the writer is doing!"  Does knowing about the underlying structure of fantasy novels take away from enjoyment of the story? I think not, because it is the cleverness of the plot and the strength of the characters, the skill of the author in bringing the elements together, which compel us to suspend disbelief and join the hero on the mythical journey.

Finally, two more reviews - here and here.  You can also scroll down the left sidebar to see all the books reviewed by kids on the site.  If you would like to review a book for us, have a look at the "Kids' Contributions" tab under the header at the top of the page.

If you are new to this blog, once you've looked at this week's events, have a look at the previous Friday recaps, Week 5Week 4, Week 3, Week 2 and Week 1 to see what else is going on here at Reading for Australia and feel free to add your comments to any of those discussions.

And, finally, if you can think of a new name for our blog, go here - it's your chance to win a book!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  

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