Chinatown Girl: the Diary of Silvey Chan, Auckland, 1942 by Eva Wong Ng [My Story series]

It’s the anxious years of World War II. Silvey Chan lives above a shop in Auckland’s downtown Chinese district. Hers is a close-knit community with its own traditions and festivals and even a neighbourhood ghost. For a school family history project, Silvey asks her mother and her grandfather to tell her their stories of emigrating to New Zealand from China. She learns about the poverty of village life in China, about arranged marriages, and the hardships of making new lives in a strange country that often made them feel unwanted.

I really connected to this story because I have never looked into the Chinese culture before and it really drew me in. It is written as a diary and it felt as if Silvey Chan was telling me everything while I was reading it.

I liked how the book was looking at New Zealand from someone else’s point of view and it showed me an unfamiliar Chinese culture – I’ve always liked looking at other countries’ cultures. It was interesting to see that Silvey Chan’s life was a lot like any other 12-year-old girl with annoying siblings, chores and a good friend. Her story has a bit of everything; humour, sadness, and real-life issues.


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EJ12: In the dark by Susannah McFarlane

SHINE’s solar energy station is under threat from evil agency SHADOW. Special Agent EJ12 needs to lighten up. She must crack SHADOW’s codes and overcome her fears to stop them before they turn the lights out on the SHINE network. And that’s the easy part …

I liked this book because I like special agents and when I grow up, I’d like to be an agent – it would be fun. EJ12 has a little charm which has something on it that she can use when she needs to.

I liked this book because it is really easy to read and I enjoyed a lot.


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Geronimo’s Valentine by Geronimo Stilton

The most beloved, romantic, and famous painting in New Mouse City has been stolen! Geronimo Stilton has to help Private Investigator Hercule Poirat and impress his date Petunia at the same time. Holey swiss cheese, what is a gentlemouse to do?

Geronimo Stilton is a bit of a ‘cheesy’ mouse and thinks he’s romantic. Geronimo has a date with the prettiest mouse in town, named Petunia Pretty Paws BUT his private investigator Hercule Poirat needs help trying to find a missing painting on the same day as Geronimo’s Valentine’s date …

This book is for any age and is suited to both boys and girls. It is funny and is, in my opinion, the best out of the series. I sometimes think I am much like Geronimo and I am normally busy and then when arrangements change I am racing round like a headless chicken!

One of the things I like about the Geronimo Stilton books is the pictures – how they are colourful but also how they work with the words to show what is happening.

I promise you will love this book – I rate it 9.5 out of 10!


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This is actually my party by Lauren Child

It’s Charlie’s birthday and he has invited all his friends and Lola to an especially scary, hairy monster party – but Lola has other ideas! Not only does she make pink fairy cakes for his friends, she opens his cards and presents too. Lola says, ‘Oh I Love birthday parties’! How can Charlie explain to Lola that it is actually his party?

Charlie, Lola’s bigger brother, is having his birthday party … but Lola wants to join in! Their mum has told Lola to make sure that Charlie has an EXTREMELY lovely birthday, and to help out too, but Lola doesn’t understand what this means. She decides to (helpfully) open up his cards, presents etc. Lola needs to realise it’s not her birthday, it’s her brother’s …

I really liked this picture book because I love birthdays (and sometimes I like to take over parties) but this is mostly because I am jealous sometimes and jealous that the other person is getting heaps of attention and my birthday is still ages away! I also liked the way the illustrator has made everything actual real-life pictures (except the characters), for example, the bunny ears on Lola. I liked the telling of the story from Charlie’s point of view and the way the words are printed on the page – sometimes going up and down and round, not just left to right.

I would recommend this book because it is easy to read and the pictures are great . It would be great to read to a class or as a bedtime story.


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An urgent message of wowness by Karen McCombie

Somebody stop the mayhem! Heather thinks everyone in her family comes from Planet Perfect. Everyone except her, that is. Then dad drops a bombshell, and the world turns upside down … Life’s become surprising, exciting and just a little bit mad – but is this topsy-turvy new family somewhere Heather can fit in? This is a scrumptious new novel from best-selling author Karen McCombie.

Heather’s parents break up and life gets hard for her. Heather and her best freind Becca try to help her Mum, JoJo and Tallulah (Tallie) pull together.

Instead of being ‘An urgent message of wowness’, it is ‘An awesome book of wowness’!! OMG I loved it and would easily read it again! This book is exciting and sad yet funny all the way through (even in the sad bits). I liked how Heather behaves all the time because sometimes she can be quite clumsy, which is then really funny. The author describes the characters really well and each character has their own personality which makes them a lot clearer to visualise.

I rate this book 9.5 out of 10!!


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Sprite Sisters (Bk. 1): Circle of power

Each of the Sprite Sisters, aged between 9 and 13, has a magical power related to one of the four elements – Earth, Water, Fire or Air. When Ariel discovers her power on her ninth birthday, their circle is complete. The girls’ magic must be kept a secret, and used only for good; if not, the consequences could be bad …

This was so a ‘me’ type book and it was quick, easy and fun. I can’t wait to get the next book! It is definitely a girly book and easy to read as it doesn’t have long adult words we don’t understand. I really liked how their names matched with their power, e.g. Earth – Ash, Water – Marina, Air – Ariel and Fire – Flame.

I liked everything in the book – it was quick and easy to read, and a lovely book for a rainy day and you’re stuck inside. Also they had lovely describing words such as magnificent house with a wide mahogany staircase. It is definitely a girls book and would not recommend this to any boys (but boys are welcome to read it if they want to because it is a free country!).

Last but not least, I rate this book 5/5! It was a pleasure to read.


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Tormod: A templar’s apprentice by Kat Black

“While trying to harness his power for prophetic visions, a fourteenth-century Scottish boy joins a Templar knight on his sacred quest to unearth an ancient relic. Scotland. 1307. Thirteen-year-old Tormod MacLeod is different. He knows things before they happen. Even his own brother treats him differently, and all Tormod can do is bide his time until he’s old enough to leave the village and make something of himself. His chance comes sooner than expected when a Templar knight asks him to deliver a secret message. But Tormod’s efforts end up endangering both their lives. What follows is a desperate journey to escape the army of King Philippe le Bel of France. If he is to survive, Tormod must learn to harness the powers within.”

Tormod is different. He sees things before they happen. He gets treated badly by his brother and he can’t wait until he’s old enough to move from the village. Then, suddenly, a knight templar tells him to take a message to the Abbot. Then a whole new journey is about to unfold …

I personally connected to this book because he’s just an ordinary boy who just wants to get away when an opportunity comes. I liked the action and adventure and the setting with all the animals, knights and warships.

I would recommend this book because it’s a good action and adventure story. At the start he’s really scared about the mission until later when the templar says to be brave and focus.


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