This is a required post for 72276: Literature and Information for Children and Young People at The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
Favourite Websites and Resources
Reviews of literature and information resources for children and young
people – a New Zealand website and an overseas website
Books for Keeps. (n.d). Books for Keeps. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/
Books for Keeps is one of the UK's most well known children's book periodicals. The website contains excellent reviews of children's literature for all ages, as well as books relating to children's literature. It also contains a blogroll for children's literature news, links to a sister site designed to assist parental selection and an extensive author/artist database.
Broadbent, A., Gill, M., & Orman, L. (n.d). KidsBooksNZ. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://kidsbooksnz.blogspot.co.nz/
Kid's Books NZ is a New Zealand children's book review blog, covering both fiction and non-fiction titles for all age groups. It is authored by three New Zealand Children's authors whose past lives include librarianship and primary school teaching. The reviews are succinct, but frequent and special attention is paid during school holidays and other such events where children might be seeking out extra reading.
Booksellers New Zealand. (2011). New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://www.booksellers.co.nz/awards/new-zealand-post-childrens-book-awards
The website of the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards primarily contains information about the current awards year. However, it also has an extremely useful breakdown of previous award winners going back to 1997. It also has a series of activities under the heading 'General Literacy Support' that explore how the awards can be used to extend literacy both in the classroom and at home.
Christchurch City Libraries. (n.d). Children's Literary Prizes and Awards. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Kids/LiteraryPrizes/
The Christchurch City Libraries literary prizes page gives a breakdown of the major children's book awards from across the world. It includes links to each award's own website, as well as breakdown pages of winners for the major awards (such as the Carnegie Medal). One particular feature is that the list highlights which have most recently been awarded with an 'updated' symbol.
Organisations involved in the promotion of reading and literature
Ministry of Education. (n.d). Literacy Online. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://literacyonline.tki.org.nz/
Literacy Online is a branch of the Ministry of Education's website and aims to help teachers develop learning programs based on their student's literary needs. Despite this aim, it holds a large database of information highly relevant to anyone working with children in this area. Particular features I found useful include a web seminar on the importance of literary leadership and links to resources for supporting the needs of Maori learners.
New Zealand Book Council. (n.d). New Zealand Book Council. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/index.html
The New Zealand Book Council website contains a huge amount of information on all things related to New Zealand Books. It gives up to date information on author events and book releases, contains detailed author biographies for over 500 New Zealand authors and has a dedicated section for kids and education. This section includes kids activities, as well as book recommendations for parents and details about their authors-in-schools program.
Publishers or booksellers
Gecko Press Ltd. (2013). Gecko Press. . . Curiously Good Books. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://www.geckopress.co.nz/
The website of New Zealand publisher Gecko Press holds a wealth of information about their titles (many of which are award winning), including author and illustrator bios, links to media reviews and an onsite review feature. Although the websites primary feature is its shop, you can also find an informative blog and publishing details such as manuscript submission and requesting advance copies.
Penguins Books NZ. (2010). Penguin Books (NZ). Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://www.penguin.co.nz/
The website for Penguin NZ is dedicated to the entirety of the publishers New Zealand publications. However, it also includes a dedicated kids section with activities, games and links based on its most popular children's titles (eg: Young Samurai). It also has a particularly helpful teachers resources centre, that contains notes for learning and the further exploration of many of the publishers children's titles.
Fiction reading and reviews for primary school children
Docherty, B. (n.d). Bob's Books. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://bobsbooksnz.wordpress.com/
Bob's Books is the children's book review blog of Bob Docherty, a former librarian for the national library and now a children's literacy consultant. The blog benefits from being written in the New Zealand context and is frequently updated with new reviews. Consistent tagging makes navigating between reviews easy, especially by subject.
Christchurch City Libraries. (n.d). Christchurch Kids Blog. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://christchurchkids.wordpress.com/
The Christchurch Kids blog contains book reviews, news and giveaways of children's books. It also includes frequent author interviews and a useful blogroll of New Zealand children's library blogs. One particular feature of the Christchurch Kid's blogs is that reviews are written by both children and adults, giving a broad perspective on reviewed titles.
Fiction reading and reviews for teenagers
The Book Report Inc. (2013). Teenreads. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://www.teenreads.com/
TeenReads is primarily a Young Adult book review website, but stands apart due to the extras it contains. As well as reviews it contains an author section for interviews and news, and a features section that contains categories like 'Books on Screen' (books that are being made into films). I found its reading list particularly helpful, such as 'Historical Fiction' and 'Adult Books you want to Read.'
Flannery., Tatiana., & Catie. [screennames]. (n.d). The Readventurer: Adventures in the Book World. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://www.thereadventurer.com/index.html
The Readventurer is a book review blog that concentrates on Young Adult titles. Although it is written by woman and thus somewhat female-orientated in its chosen titles the reviews are thoughtfully written and entertaining. Features include a weekly round-up of book news from around the web, and book 'walls' on particular subjects such as 'books for boys' and 'Australian authors.' I particularly enjoy the sites engagement with appropriate social media, such as Goodreads.
Jung, B., Dunaway, C., Mondor, C., Graziano, C., Elzey, D., Pincus, G., et al. (n.d). Guys Lit Wire. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://guyslitwire.blogspot.co.nz/
Guys Lit Wire is a book review blog aimed specifically at teenaged males. It primarily contains reviews of Young Adult fiction that males would enjoy. It also contains recommended reads lists in a variety of genres. Guys Lit Wire also runs an annual bookdrive to get male-orientated YA books into needed areas, including schools and juvenile detention centres.
Information resources for primary school children
Ministry of Education. (n.d). AnyQuestions. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://www.anyquestions.co.nz/
Any Questions is a New Zealand service where children can ask homework related questions of a trained librarian in real time; the set up is innovative and on the frontiers of digital librarianship. The librarian can direct students to appropriate sources of information, or help them explore their own knowledge to find the answer without the child leaving their computer. A particular feature is the websites offshoot, Many Questions, which holds well researched responses to the most frequently asked questions on Any Questions.
Yahoo!Inc. (2013). Study. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://kids.yahoo.com/learn
The Yahoo Kids StudyZone has a variety of multi-media resources on a bright, easy to navigate website that will appeal to a large number of primary school children. It includes clips from educational programs (although not all are available to NZ viewers), a directory of child-appropriate websites on a variety of topics such as 'science and nature' and 'around the world,' and a reference centre with access to dictionaries, encyclopedias and a world factbook.
Information resources for teenagers
Ministry for Culture and Heritage. (n.d). Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://www.teara.govt.nz/
Te Ara is a free, online encyclopedia of New Zealand. It contains over 700 articles and 30,000 images and media in a variety of over-arching topic areas (for example, 'Earth, Sea and Sky' and 'Social Connections'). It is extremely easy to navigate, with a keyword search, section search or A-Z search. It is also viewable in both English and Maori.
Youthline Foundation. (n.d). Youthline. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://www.youthline.co.nz/
Youthline is the website of the well-known New Zealand free teen phone helpline. It contains information resources relating to a large number of topics relevant to teens finding their way in society, from relationships and sexual health issues to information on the life choices they will face upon leaving school. The website is bright and inviting, encouraging teens to find the life information they need in a safe environment.
International Children's Digital Library Foundation. (n.d). International Digital Children's Library. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://en.childrenslibrary.org/
The International Children's Digital Library is a digitisation project of children's books from around the world which aims to make children's literature from varying cultures accessible regardless of physical location. Access to the books is free and does not require a registration (though registration does give access to extra features, such as saving favourite books to a bookshelf). Currently it contains books in 61 different languages, from 228 countries.
Fairfax Media New Zealand Ltd. (2012). Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from http://www.stuff.co.nz/
Stuff is New Zealand's largest digital news site, incorporating all of Fairfax media's physical newspapers with exclusively online content. As well as sections for national and world news, it contains a breaking news front page, blogs on various topics and a daily current events quiz. A new feature, 'Stuff Nation' allows members of the public to contribute their own perspectives and opinions on current affairs, contribute to assignments such as 'changing New Zealand's drinking culture' or simply tell their life stories to others.