BWB Texts' Climate Change Series
Reviewed by Briar Lawry
All kinds of significant writers and experts from Aotearoa are called upon to contribute to BWB Texts, whether it’s for a whole (small) book or just a chapter of their expertise. Think Melani Anae on the Polynesian Panthers, Jess Berentson-Shaw on trustworthy communication in the modern era, Siouxsie Wiles on antibiotic resistance – not to mention micro-memoirs from the likes of Glenn Colquhoun, Albert Wendt, Rachel Buchanan and Kirsty Gunn.
We have a broad range of titles in the series with a particular focus on keeping titles related to climate change, especially as relates to Aotearoa and the wider Pacific. They are a fabulous way to learn from experts in an easy and readable way – and once you get started, you’ll be hungry for more!
Interested in understanding the borders that flow between the island groups of the Pacific? Try False Divides, by Lana Lopesi. Want to hear from a range of informed perspectives on the new normal of now and of the future? Try Living with the Climate Crisis, edited by Tom Doig. Investigating the specifics of freshwater challenges in contemporary Aotearoa? Try Mountains to Sea, edited by Mike Joy.
There are so many different ones to look into, so check them out in the library – or if you have an Auckland Libraries log-in, you can access digital versions here.
Light It Up by Kekla Magoon
Reviewed by Mrs. Walker
Light It Up is an extremely topical novel about racism and police shootings in the USA. The tragic events that take place in this book are, sadly, exactly what has just made headline news around the world, “Georgia killing echoes brutal days of vigilante lynchings”, (NZ Herald 11/05/20, p.A23). Yet another young, unarmed, innocent, black man, gunned down by white supremacists, who claimed they thought Ahmaud Arbery was a burglar. He just happened to be going for a run when he was attacked and shot.
The opening scene of Light It Up describes The Incident, which has just happened. A young girl, only thirteen, is running home in the Winter dusk, when she is shot in the back by a police officer.
In a very dramatic format, fifteen different characters, or voices, including TV interviews, prose poetry and a Twitter feed develop the story.
This book is a fantastic read; perfect for reluctant readers in years 9 & 10, who want short chapters, great male and female characters they can relate to, and a good strong theme. It’s a very sad story, which broadens our understanding of current social history.
I recommend this novel to everyone who has enjoyed The Hate U Give, or The Help. As the author, Kekla Magoon, says in her acknowledgements, she hopes her book will bring “awareness to acts of bias and violence occurring in our midst. I hope the book sparks conversation, reflection, and a desire to work for equality and justice for all.”
Get creative! The 2020 Competition is on once again. Entry is open to anyone currently attending a secondary school in New Zealand or in the Pacific Islands. There are two age-group categories for entries: Years 9-10, and Years 11-13.
Get your completed entry in by 5 pm on Sunday 19 July 2020. We will announce the winning results on 14 September 2020.
Read more here.
The Wolf Hall trilogy and The Mirror & the Light, by Hilary Mantel
Reviewed by Mrs Walker
With millions of other eager Hilary Mantel fans, I seized my copy of The Mirror & the Light just before Covid-19 threw the country into lockdown. It sustained me for the first two and a half weeks in brilliant fashion. The Wolf Hall trilogy is a literary masterpiece and Mantel’s devoted readers will, like me, have revelled in all its many pages of historical drama, pageantry and intrigue. The three books tell of the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell; a fascinating character, a truly self-made man with remarkable talent who, under the patronage of the ill-fated Cardinal Wolsey, eventually comes under the eye of King Henry VIII.
Five hundred years of history fall away as Hilary Mantel brings the Tudor world to life, in all its deadly richness. This a world where everyone knows their place and you’re supposed to stay in it, all your precarious life. Thomas Cromwell’s amazing rise from the dregs of Putney, running away from home at the age of fourteen, escaping from his brutal father, Walter, a local brawler, blacksmith, and brewer of bad beer, to become King Henry’s right hand man, the person to whom the king entrusted all power and the reins of state, is utterly astonishing.
Members of rock band Portugal. The Man are stepping into a banned-book controversy in their Alaska home town. Read More.
Nicholas Kristof’s Ten Tips for Writing Op-Eds
from The New York Times Learning Network
1. Start out with a very clear idea in your own mind about the point you want to make.
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2. Don’t choose a topic, choose an argument.
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3. Start with a bang.
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4. Personal stories are often very powerful to make a point.
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5. If the platform allows it, use photos or video or music or whatever.
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6. Don’t feel the need to be formal and stodgy.
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7. Acknowledge shortcomings in your arguments if the readers are likely to be aware of them, and address them openly.
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8. It’s often useful to cite an example of what you’re criticizing, or quote from an antagonist, because it clarifies what you’re against.
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9. If you’re really trying to persuade people who are on the fence, remember that their way of thinking may not be yours.
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10. When your work is published, spread the word through social media or emails or any other avenue you can think of.
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