Tag Archives: Gavin Bishop

Gavin Bishop’s Aotearoa is a splendid thing

 

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Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House, 2017)

 

‘There was plenty of kaimoana in the sea.’

This book is like a treasure house of New Zealand history with text and illustrations from one of our very best children’s authors – Gavin Bishop. Penguin Random House have produced a gorgeous hardback book (it is very big and very beautiful!) that celebrates such a wonderful labour of love through publishing care.

Gavin shines a reading searchlight in all directions. History is like a prism – it has many ways of being viewed.

Aotearoa should be in every home and in every school because it is a book where you can lose yourself meandering and you can discover all kinds of things. You have to peer closely into each page to find things in the words and the images. Magnificent!

Gavin begins the Aotearoa story when an asteroid hit Earth (65 million years ago!).

He takes us through arrivals of peoples, wars, treaties, more wars.

We travel through the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the sports we play and the way our country has extraordinary natural beauty.

He shows us famous people and people who have told our stories, made art, films and music.

He reminds us of how we have protested – how we speak out.

That makes the book political, but it is also personal because it feels like it is my story, your story, and our story.

 

The book is a taonga that reminds us of our taonga and how important it is for us to join hands and find ways to care for this place we love. I absolutely love it.

 

Penguin Random House page

Gavin Bishop’s web page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry fireworks: Storylines Hui poems from children’s authors Gavin, Stephanie, Melinda, Heather and Kerin

 

I took a poetry workshop at the Storylines Hui in October with about 30 children’s authors. It was fast-speed fun! We spent 90 minutes playing with words.

I loved the hui – so many highlights but what a treat to do workshops with Kate De Goldi and Joy Cowley and catch up with all my friends in the children’s book world.

I got the writers to send in some poems, even though, for most of them, poetry is NOT what they usually do. I think they are  word-sparkingly good and I just love the energy that sparks from their sounds and images and surprise!

Just the thing to say out loud in the rain!

 

from Gavin Bishop (who has the most amazing new book (Aotearoa A New Zealand Story) which I will review soon):

 

Mishap

 

Tongue and groove dripped ginger beer

onto the bench-top, onto the floor.

Like a guinea pig to the door, I slid,

like a pig through the door – the dripping kitchen door.

 

 

Window View

 

The Alps zig-zag between the frame.

The foot-hills scramble across the glass.

Looking down now, with kahu eyes, the city jives beneath my gaze.

 

 

Sun Shower

The sunshine is awash with water.

A blue raincoat flaps in light.

Sparrows spray aside as my daughter splashes by,

on her hydroponic bike.

 

 

 

from Stephanie Mayne (who has excellent poems in A Treasury of NZ Poetry reissued this month):

 

In My Pocket.

A blade of grass, a rusty nail

Marbles blue as a peacock’s tail.

Pale white shells, and out of reach

Sand, from swimming at the beach.

Half bus ticket, scrunched up note

(Hard to read what the writer wrote!)

Leaf I liked, old cough lolly

One glass eye from my sister’s dolly.

Half a biscuit, apple core

Yellow crumbs and ants galore.

Soft grey feather, cicada case

Fidget spinner? No more space!

 

 

from Melinda Szymanik (who wrote the completely amazing A Winter’s Day in 1939 among other excellent things):

 

Water’s for Ducks

Sun’s out

Birds try

Bird bath

Clouds come

Rain drips

Slow fills

Bath, spills

Clouds go

Sun’s out

Drips dry

Birds try

Bird bath

 

In Your Pocket

In your pocket

Are five pink

Shrink-wrapped sausages

Wriggling worms

In close white

Knitted tight

On knuckled digits

Hand in glove

In your pocket

 

 

Here. In School

I went to work

A school visit, close to home

And because I am polite

Not rude

I put my phone on silent

At morning tea

Messages are always checked

And this time,

This time

The message was different

“Is your boy home sick?” they asked

Just checking

Because he’s not at school.

I’d seen him off that morning

Uniformed, lunch packed, back pack hoisted.

Heart sick.

I felt heart sick

My boy was not in school

As he should be

Not in school

The message was different

Had I heard it right?

At lunch

The message was different

They had not heard him

Right?

When he said “here”

In school.

 

 

from Heather Haylock whose first picture book is to be published by Penguin Random House next year (Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter – the current Gavin Bishop Award book, illustrated by Lael Chisholm):

 

River Fog
Low and slow, the dampness creeping.
Hid beneath, the river weeping.
Dark and deep, moving, masking,
underneath, the dragon dancing.

 

Pocket
My pocket left home this morning,
empty.
Full of possibilities.

My pocket came home
bulging with shame.

Two detention slips.
Another teacher’s note.
Grades too far down the alphabet.

My pocket, my friend,
hid my shame.

Until washing day.

 

From Kerin Casey who is busy writing children’s stories:

 

Griffin’s Hug

 

Wiry warm arms

Wrap tight around my neck

Squeezing love in

Wringing forgiveness

Unconditional

All-encompassing

Snug as a bug in a rug

Griffin’s hug

 

Humid

 

This soggy day of bedraggled entanglements

Drips and slips

Through my melting fingers

Sticky and limp

Deflated

Defeated

 

In My Pocket

 

In my pocket is a small round stone

Sea green

Warm heart

Whipped smooth by sand on a cold surf beach

Foam flying

Waves smashing

Found, weighed, then tossed by a friendly hand

Moves on

Reconsiders

Returns and seeks it out, desperate

Sea green

Warm heart

Smooths a gnarled thumb across its surface

And thinks of me

 

 

 

 

 

A delightful bundle of Gecko Press books with TWO hidden poem challenges for you

Four gorgeous books from Gecko Press to share!

 

The illustrations are

s   c   i   n   t   i   l   l   a   t   i   n  g .

The stories are

m   o   u   t   h   w   a   t   e   r   i   n   g.

Which means I gobbled them UP in a F L A S H.

And then I came back for a   l o n g          s   l   o   w       feast.

 

Thanks Gecko Press!

 

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Bathtime for Little Rabbit by Jörg Mühle is a small board book for very young children about a rabbit that needs a bath so he gets to be SQUEAKY clean.  I love the way Little Rabbit gets dried. This is a FUN read.

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The Lost Kitten is a scrumptious picture book by Lee with illustrations by Komako Sakai. I loved reading this book, because as you know from my children’s poems, we have cats. In fact Charlie arrived at OUR door lost and hungry and wanted to stay with us for EVER and EVER. We seemed to become a magnet for lost and hungry kittens, but now we live in the country we are too far away.

In this story though, a mother cat brings her hungry kitten to Hina’s place because she knows it needs looking after. You will see it is the cutest little ball of fluff that deserves a warm and cosy cat basket.

Just like us, Hina and her mum feed the cat and make it a cat box and take it to the vet.

Just like us, the kitten makes Hina very, very happy.

But NOT like us (and Charlie), the sweetest cutest little ball of kitten fluff goes missing.

I especially loved the illustrations by Komako Saki. She is a famous and much-loved illustrator in Japan where she lives. You feel like you are inside the story when you look at the pictures, because she knows just how to paint how Hina feels.

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Bruno: Some of the more interesting days in my life so far is a splendiferous read by Catharina Valckx. There are six linked stories with very cool illustrations by Nicolas Hubesch that make me want to get my pencils and draw.

Catharina has written over 30 books and is published in over 11 languages and has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Awards 4 times.

Nicolas Hubesch lives in PARIS where he also draws comics. I LOVELOVELOVELOVE his drawings. They do have a PARIS feel about them.

The first story starts like this: ‘The peculiar day started out as an ordinary day.’

This is how poems start sometimes and it means you can begin with what you know and end up somewhere rather marvelous. Catharina has a very BOUNCY imagination because Bruno gets followed by a flying fish that is a tincy bit lost and is nowhere near the ocean. In fact this is a story of strange things in an ordinary day, AND to make it especially GOOD – normal things on a normal day.

In ‘A rainy day,’ Poor old Bruno finds his house is just as wet inside as it is outside when it is RAINING RAINING RAINING. All his friends turn up WET WET WET and EAT EAT EAT all his food. Everyone makes a MESS MESS MESS.

We get to read about:

A peculiar day

A rainy day

A day when the power went out

A much less interesting day

An almost perfect day

A stupid day (that ends pretty well)

This is a very INTERESTING book to read!

 

 

a    l i t t l e   c h a l l e n g e   f o  r   y o u        (YO – Y8 in NZ)

 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these titles so much, I am challenging you to use one as the title for a poem (You can do more than one!). Let your imagination BOUNCE with what you know and what you make up!

 

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 5th MAY. I will post some favourites on MAY 10th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

Include your name, age, year and name of school.

Put GECKO challenge in the subject line of the email please.

 

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I am a HUGE fan of Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop and I especially love their Snake and Lizard books.

 

So on a very wet Sunday afternoon I gobbled up the new one: Helper and Helper.

 

Gavin’s illustrations are sheer beauty.

Joy’s stories are warm and wise and witty. Her sentences are like clear shiny streams.

 

Snake and Lizard are full to the brim with life and show us the power of friendship. Being friends is bumps and hills and new days and arguments and listening and kindness and discoveries.

When I read these stories I fill with warmth and good feelings and just want to write poems or even give stories a go.

 

a n o t h e r   c h a l l e n g e

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these stories so much I am challenging you to write a ‘Snake and Lizard’ poem (You can do more than one!). Read the book first to get inspired by the characters. Make up what happens. It can be something very small and curious.

 

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 5th MAY. I will post some favourites on MAY 10th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

Include your name, age, year and name of school.

Put SNAKE and LIZARD challenge in the subject line of the email please.

 

PS: I won’t answer your emails until May as I will be away!

Teddy One-Eye: Gavin Bishop’s autobiography of a teddy bear is such a treat

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Teddy One-Eye: The autobiography of a teddy bear by Gavin Bishop, Random House, 2014

Gavin Bishop is one of our most beloved authors and illustrators and he has a new book out. It feels like a brother or sister to his fabulous memoir Piano Rock. I met a number of teachers on my tour who have used Piano Rock a lot with their classes. I can see why.

Like Piano Rock, the new book is gorgeously produced by Random House (it is hard cover) and has equally beautiful illustrations. Illustrations that belong in the time of the teddy (the 1950s)!

The book is an autobiography of a teddy, but it is also an autobiography of a boy (partly Gavin) as well as being a time machine as you get to go back to another time. I loved that! Boy gets to read Janet and John books (just like I got to read Janet and John when I was little). He gets to go the diary with his pocket money when he was 6. He loves doing spelling (just like I did!). He gets to eat homemade (not shop bought!!!!) Louise cake, beetroot chutney (well it got made in the kitchen even if he didn’t eat it himself), and roast mutton.

You even get bits of history in this back-in-time travel. Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing reach Mt Everest’s peak and Yvette William’s is New Zealand’s first woman to get an Olympic medal. There is even teddy-bear history to be discovered too! 2002 was marked as the 100th anniversary of the first teddy bear made.

Teddy One-eye is special because there is a special story story about him (this may or may not be true!). I love the way the Grandmother reminds everyone that Teddy One-eye is special and he needs to be looked after well. The teddy certainly knows what is going on in the world around him and he gets to be very good at reading. Boy loves him, then little baby brother loves him —  but he gets to spend days or years or months in all kinds of surprising places (the pot cupboard, a plastic bag).

Reading this book means you get to do all kinds of wonderful things: fall in love with a raggety (at times) teddy bear, go on adventures and go back in time. I loved the way this book made me think about my own toys and my own childhood and what I loved to do and what was important. It has scary bits, funny bits and even slightly sad bits.

Bravo Gavin Bishop! This book is a treasure trove. I loved it very much indeed.

A Christchurch Hot Spot Poetry Tour event photo album thanks to Paul Koster

Take the lovely Russely School Hall, loads of young participants, a handful of local authors, two new books, an audience of 200 plus, poems new and old —  and you get one very good event.

I didn’t know at the time, but Jenny Cooper, the very cool illustrator of A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, was in the audience. If I had known, we would have made a song and dance about her fabulous illustrations. Yes I would have sung a song for her! Her heavenly illustrations transform the book into the treasure box that it is. I keep replaying the whole event in my mind and these photos bring it all back. Thanks to a Russley parent for them (only Russley School children in these as we only had permission to post participants from that school). But great offerings from Fendalton School, Lyttelton School, Ilam School and Selwyn House amongst others. In one photo, you can see Caleb reading his poem from The Treasury and in other Ewen and Monica reading their pieces from the back of The Letterbox Cat. Special guests! A highlight at the end … a magnificent performance of Apirana Taylor’s poem, ‘haka.’ Definitely deserved that high five!

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The Treasury Interviews: Daniel interviews Gavin Bishop — I like poems that rhyme

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Bio about Gavin Bishop: Gavin Bishop is a very well known illustrator and writer of children’s books. He grew up in the South Island and he lives in Christchurch now. His first book is called Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant and was published in 1981. He has won a lot of awards for writing and illustrating. Now he writes and illustrates books for his full time job. Gavin has a new book out in time for Christmas called, Teddy One-Eye (Random House, 2014)

Daniel

Bio about Daniel Lovewell: Daniel Lovewell is 5 years old and lives in Porirua with his whole family. His favourite things in the world are books and cats and books about cats. He started reading when he was two years old and started writing poems when he was four. He also loves music and is going to be very famous one day.

 

The Interview:

What is your favourite kind of poem? I like poems that rhyme.

Have you had any poems written by school kids read to you? A few. But I don’t remember what they were, sorry.

Do you think good picture books need to rhyme? No. Most picture books are not written in rhyme. Mainly people who are not very good at writing try to write stories in rhyme.

What’s the best thing about being an author? Talking to people like you.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? An artist. I am not sure I knew what an artist was though. And in those days very few people could live by being an artist without having another job.

Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books? I like Margaret Mahy and I like The Hobbit.

What is your normal working day like? When I am working on a book, I work all day from about 9am to about 5pm. At the moment though I am cleaning up the garden because we have not been living in our house for 6 months and the place is a big mess.

 

What a great interview thanks Daniel and Gavin. Gavin has one long, deliciously fun poem in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children called ‘Raisin’ Chickens.’ Gavin is an extraordinary illustrator as this range of his book covers shows.

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An EYE catching book by Gavin Bishop

I am a big fan of New Zealand writing so, even though this is a poetry blog, this year I will tell you about new books I like the look of– stories, picture books, non-fiction as well as poetry! Here is one to start with.

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Gavin Bishop is one of my favourite New Zealand illustrators because his illustrations catch my eye every time and I just say, ‘Wow!’ And he writes tories too!

Scholastic has reissued and redesigned Gavin’s classic book Bidibidi and it is especially beautiful. I wish I could tell exactly how the illustrations are done but it looks like some kind of water colour (not oils) and ink pen. Such fine detail! Such gorgeous colours.

This is the story of a groany, moany sheep who lives in the high country of New Zealand. She always wants to be somewhere else (like under that rainbow she spots).

Stella the Kea nags at her to change her life if she doesn’t like it (at this point the story could take off to a marvelous anywhere!). And so it does.

Bidibidi finds all kinds of excitements and dangers— and where she ended up was a surprise to me!

This book has also been released in Te Reo Maori.

Gavin Bishop, Bidibidi, Scholastic, 2014 (first published in 1982 by Oxford University Press)