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Posts Tagged ‘School’

Funny Kid for President by Matt Stanton.

June 14, 2017 Comments off

funny kid presidentFunny Kid for President by Matt Stanton. Pub. ABC Books imprint HarperCollins, 2017.

If you want to make an impact with primary and intermediate school students in order to get them reading then hitting on the poo, bum, weeze formula is the way to do it. Make the school the setting and introduce a range of characters from bullies to total weirdos and you’ve got it made.

Matt Stanton is the latest to take up the challenge of getting boys in particular to read and he does it so well I think I will read them all myself.

Max is a bit of a clown, he doesn’t think too deeply about things but he is not a dummy. He is Mr average and that covers a lot of kids. He decides to run for class President because it is a first and he sees it as a way to get back at his mean teacher Mr Armstrong who has accused him of pooping on the floor. Max wishes to clear his name as the phantom pooper and to combat his nemesis Abbey Purcell at the same time.

He is assisted in this mission by his best friend, but only on a temporary basis, Hugo, and has an ally that he would rather not have in the form of a duck who keeps chasing him around and biting him on the bottom.

Elections are in the air so compare this election to the alleged serious elections that are to come, you might find that there is not much difference.

Easy to read with a variety of large fonts and splendidly perceptive black and white illustrations. This series is destined for legendary status.

Like Nobody’s Watching by L.J. Ritchie.

June 8, 2017 Comments off

nobody watchingLike Nobody’s Watching by L.J. Ritchie. Pub. Escalator Press, 2016.

This first novel is a finalist in Young Adult section of this years New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It is also up for best first novel and the subject is surveillance culture.

When Oscar’s high school fits 36 cameras in the school grounds to curb vandalism it changes the culture of the school but not in the way it was intended.

Oscar and his friends are not high profile year 10’s but they have a sense of justice. When Oscar’s friend Bronwyn alerts him to boys bullying her brother Will, Oscar finds a way to hack into the school system and view the surveillance video, then uses the video secretly and without trace to shame the bullies and blackmail them into to ceasing the bullying.

At first it works a treat, then they use the same system to stop year 11’s bullying the year 9’s. This time however it is complicated so they use  a social media site to shame the bullies again to great success.

The Internet never forgets and while Oscar and his friends don’t feel they are doing anything wrong because all is anonymous and bullying is unlawful, will they slip up and get caught?

But viewing the surveillance videos could be used in a more sinister way such as stalking. The students rebel and set up a petition to remove the cameras. Read it and find out what happens.

The novel is narrated by an eye of god technique and is told in short sharp sentences which took me a while to get used to. Nonetheless it impressed me with it’s perceptive look at teen culture in this hi tech wired up world we live in.

 

 

Too Clever by half by Aaron Moffat.

March 15, 2017 Comments off

clever by halfToo Clever by half by Aaron Moffat. Olympia Publishers, 2016.

I enjoyed reading this school story for middle and intermediate students because it dealt with a lot of social and economic issues that reflect the equalities and inequalities of today’s society. Plus it would be a great read-a-loud for years 5/6, 7/8 students.

Septimus is a bright boy, top of his class, a little out of condition, well nourished but with a father who is of the born to rule class who looks down on Septimus’s class mates whom he labels riff raff.

Septimus is bullied at school until there is a split in the ranks amongst the alleged riff raff. The nasty Jasper and Rico think Jamie has snitched on them, so he is pushed to the outer and develops a friendship with Septimus. This relationship is awkward at first because Jamie is a foster child but Septimus is glad of the company.

Difficulties arise when Septimus’s father meets Jamie and becomes determined to take Septimus out of school and put him in a Private school where he can mix with children of his own class. Septimus’s mother takes the opposite point of view and this conflict is one of the key sub plots within this novel.

Trouble with a neighbour who is reported to be a witch and a broken window polarise positions within Septimus’s family. Then the school enters the Krypton Kids TV  competition with Septimus, Rico and a saucy young girl called Antonia entered.

You will have to read the rest yourself if you want to know what happens.

Well written but the chapters may be a bit long at times. I call it lofty writing with all the social differences well argued. Some may be deterred by this but the school matters will be familiar to all students.

Interested parties can contact the author at  astmoffat@gmail.com

 

Bad Grammar by Nathan Luff

January 7, 2013 Comments off

bad grammarBad Grammar by Nathan Luff. Pub.  Walker Books, 2013.

Marcus is a computer game warrior. He is very good and spends hours playing on line but he has no friends and his parents are worried about him and his social development. They decide to send him to a private school out in the country where there are no computers.

The school proves to be nothing like anybody would think. The staff and the Principal are weird and leave discipline to selected prefects who rule by bullying and intimidation. Head bully is Scarface who is big mean with a neck thicker than most boys are wide.

Marcus gets hammered first day and has his flash drive, on which he has stored all his gaming information, taken by Scarface. He does make a couple of friends but has to apply the skills he has learned as an on-line warrior to survive at school.

Very funny and exciting with a message that you need friends and if bullies are to be beaten you have to confront the problem head on preferably when the odds are in your favour.

The novel is written in Levels rather than chapters and some of the action is comically absurd yet meaningful. I enjoyed this story which has hooks at the end of each chapter to help the most reluctant of boys want to keep reading.

Primary and Intermediate in appeal.