Twitter_profile_imageWelcome to Penguin Australia’s blog for teachers, librarians and educators – bringing you professional development opportunities, book reviews, resources, guest bloggers, book trailers and much more. Have a question about books? Ask us and we will answer on the blog.

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid Old School Read-a-thon Challenge

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How would you like a trip to Sydney to meet Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney? This awesome once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is the grand prize in the 2015 Diary of a Wimpy Kid Read-a-thon Challenge. Plus, you can get a Wimpy Kid yo-yo just for signing up!

 

The ReaPrizesd-a-thon Challenge starts on September 1st. It’s open to everyone in Australia and New Zealand, and you can sign up right now.

Here’s how the challenge works: You need to read all nine Diary of a Wimpy Kid books between now and October 16th. After you finish reading each one, go back to the Read-a-thon Challenge site and take a quiz about that book. Complete all nine quizzes before October 16th, and you’ve beaten the challenge!

You’ll get a special congratulations video message from Jeff Kinney, and unlock the entry form for the grand prize… A trip for 2 people to Sydney, where you’ll meet Jeff Kinney on his Old School World Tour! You’ll even get to interview him for K-Zone. To win, you’ll have to answer this question: Who is your favourite Diary of a Wimpy Kid character, and why? Best answer wins! You can sign up and play by yourself, or challenge some friends and race to the finish! You could even ask your teacher if the whole class at school can try the Read-a-thon Challenge together.

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On November 3rd, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School will be released around the world. Finally! To celebrate, there will be a special Read-a-thon bonus round, with even more cool prizes to win. Stay tuned! More information on this website during the Read-a-thon Challenge.

 

 

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Your unique chance to experience Matilda the Musical!

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Matilda is the captivating musical masterpiece from the Royal Shakespeare Company that revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dares to change her destiny. Inspired by the genius of Roald Dahl, with book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda the Musical is now playing at The Sydney Lyric Theatre to rave reviews.
Penguin Teachers’ Academy is delighted to offer a writing challenge to earn the opportunity for the winning student and their teacher to see Matilda the Musical at the  Sydney Lyric Theatre.

Teachers, ask your ‘REVOLTING’ students to write and submit 500 words or less using one of the following writing prompts:

Imaginative Text – “Change your story” Write a different ending for Matilda by Roald Dahl.
Information Report– “Be Miraculous” Write a faux scientific report about Matilda’s powers.
Persuasive Text – “Even if you’re little, you can do A LOT” Convince us that YOU are Matilda’s biggest fan.

One lucky student will receive:
2 x A Reserve tickets to Matilda The Musical at the Sydney Lyric Theatre
Merchandise Pack including a CD sampler, special edition Matilda book, programme and other “Fantastico” goodies.
The lucky teacher of the winning student will receive:
A double pass to experienceMatilda The Musical at the Sydney Lyric Theatre
Complimentary programme.
Complimentary refreshments on arrival.

PLUS there are 10 student runner up packs of a Matilda book and CD sampler.
(PLEASE NOTE TRAVEL TO AND FROM MATILDA THE MUSICAL IS NOT INCLUDED AS PART OF THIS PRIZE).

 Submit your entry HERE

Terms and Conditions Apply

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Activities for #NLNW2015

nlnw_logo_smallAs the 17th National Literacy and Numeracy Week approaches ALEA has shared some great ideas to assist the celebrations and activities in your school.ALEA 40th LOGO landscape sm

 

Free book packs for ALEA members organising a teacher book club 

Teachers might like to form a book club to read and discuss A Fortunate Life and ALEA have free book packs available. A fabulous opportunity for members to meet for a coffee and a chat during #NLNW2015.

Activities for schools

Organise book club for students. Visit Reading Australia and explore the extensive teacher resources for each of the selected books. The activities are all linked to the Australian Curriculum and the English K-10 syllabus. Engage in the unit, select from the activities or introduce the book to your class through independent reading or reading aloud. Let parents and caregivers know your book choice so they can join in your book discussions.

Suggestions include –

Prep-1: Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen
Years 2-4: The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild
Years 5-6: The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett
Years 7-8: Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

What else can you do? 

If the book clubs are not possible, select a book and read it across the whole school. One School, One Book is designed to create a shared reading experience within a single school community. Select a picture book and provide the opportunity for every student to read or listen to that book, and encourage every family to read the book at home during National Literacy and Numeracy Week. Activities at school can coordinate, promote and enrich the shared reading experience. This will get everyone talking and the activity may become a regular event at your school. You might like to select your own book or you may like to choose one from the Reading Australia lists.

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Roald Dahl’s Twit or Miss App

Twit_Or_Miss_IconIn Twit or Miss, two of Roald Dahl’s most disgustingly memorable characters have made the journey from book shop to app store for the very first time – but Mr Twit’s eating habits are just as horrible as ever, and Mrs Twit is still a grumpy old hag…

Now available in iTunes we just know your students will love exploring this fabulously disgusting app!

 

 

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OUT NOW – Off the Shelf July 2015

OTS_July_e-cardOff the Shelf is a FREE resource from Penguin Teachers’ Academy for teachers and librarians. Each edition contains articles, author interviews, teaching resources and new books from Penguin and Puffin. Available from the iTunes Store, in Newsstand.   For you to enjoy in this edition: an exclusive video interview with Morris Gleitzman about Soon, the latest book in the Felix series. Soon is an exciting surprise for those of us who were concerned that After might have been the last time we’d hear from Felix. In the video, Morris explains why he felt compelled to continue Felix’s story, and reflects on this world-famous series as a whole. Felice Arena talks about his writing career and his new series for younger readers, Sporty Kids. We’re thrilled to share such a candid and insightful interview with Felice, who has plenty to say about the special appeal of certain kinds of stories. And are we losing the ability to read deeply and savour long texts? Bec Kavanagh, head of the innovative and informative Stella Prize Schools Program, explores this important question in a thought provoking article. There’s exciting news, too, about a brand new Penguin Teachers’ Academy Special Edition. Women of the Sun is comprised of four stories that focus on the lives and struggles of four different indigenous women, each set in different times in Australia’s history. If you teach Years 9–12 English, contact us to get your free copy. As always, we have teaching notes and classroom resources for you (get them through the Penguin Teachers’ Academy iPad app) and plenty of new books to keep your students reading. Happy Reading!

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School Holiday Reads

Almost all the educators and librarians we encounter or converse with are avid readers. As former teacher librarians ourselves we know exactly how much reading is a requirement of the job. We understand that among all the books educators and librarians need to read for one reason or another, there is precious little time to read books simply for the sheer pleasure of reading. But with SO MANY books to choose from, and so little time to read them, where do you start?

We love when people recommend books to us, so we thought we would return the favour and recommend just a few of our top reads to date for 2015. It was s tough call, but here they are. And if you have a recommendation to share, please feel free to leave us a comment.

9781742758169For Today I Am A Boy by Kim Fu

Finding one’s place in the world can be hard, but sometimes even more elusive, is finding where you fit in your family.

Peter Huang and his sisters—elegant Adele, shrewd Helen, and Bonnie the bon vivant—grow up in a house of many secrets, then escape the confines of small-town Ontario and spread from Montreal to California to Berlin. Peter’s own journey is obstructed by playground bullies, masochistic lovers, Christian ex-gays, and the ever-present shadow of his Chinese father.

At birth, Peter had been given the Chinese name juan chaun, powerful king. The exalted only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter was the one who would finally embody his immigrant father’s ideal of power and masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he is certain he is a girl.

Drawing comparisons from Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex to the work of Amy Tan. Sensitive, witty, and stunningly assured, Kim Fu’s debut novel lays bare the costs of forsaking one’s own path in deference to one laid out by others.

Winner, Edmund White Prize for Debut Fiction. PEN/Hemingway Finalist, shortlisted in the Lambda Literary Awards. Longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. The novel’s long list of accolades include being chosen for the Barnes & Noble ‘Discover Great New Writers’ program, being shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award, longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and for Canada Reads 2015, and being named a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

9780670078585Relativity by ANTONIA HAYES

Ethan is a bright young boy obsessed with physics and astronomy who lives with his mother, Claire. Claire has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life, wanting to fill in the gaps.

Claire’s life is centred on Ethan; she is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son, and of her own feelings. When Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event from when he was a baby, Claire’s tightly held world is split open.

On the other side of the country, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart. Then a sudden and unexpected call home forces him to confront his past, and the hole in his life that was once filled with his wife Claire and his son Ethan.

When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that – like gravity – pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Heart-wrenching, absorbing and magical, Relativity is an irresistible novel about science, love, unbreakable bonds and irreversible acts.

‘Relativity is wonderful, a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel.’ SJ Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep and Second Life

‘A transcendental book that mangers to stay grounded and true in its warmth and pathos.’ Alice Pung, author of Unpolished Gem and Laurinda

9780670076284Guilt by MATT NABLE

He was glad he existed, ecstatic; he was so close to the edge of a new life, they all were, he and his friends. Without their parents to tell them yes or no. It was freedom.

Tommy is in love with Lani. Lani is going out with Paul. Paul is having an affair with Julia, and Julia has a crush on Chris. Life is intoxicating when you’re about to turn eighteen and finish school.

But something goes terribly wrong for this group of friends. One day they have the world at their feet. The next, they are all divided, destined to carry their own versions of guilt into adulthood.

What unfolds is an agonising, incisive novel about loyalty and jealousy, about the possibilities of youth and the weariness of middle age. Guilt is a heartbreaking examination of friendship, luck and the elusive nature of redemption.

‘One that you can’t put down . . . Nable’s characters are shrewdly and finely nuanced.’ Canberra Times

‘An intense, rewarding read about the futility of escaping the past.’ Australian Bookseller & Publisher

9780857522320-1-edition.default.original-1The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

Gripping, enthralling – a top-notch thriller and a compulsive read’ S J WATSON, bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep

9780241246238Reading Lolita in Tehran by AZAR NAFISI

‘That room, for all of us, became a place of transgression. What a wonderland it was!’

Every Thursday morning in a living room in Iran, over tea and pastries, eight women meet in secret to discuss forbidden works of Western literature. As they lose themselves in the worlds of Lolita, The Great Gatsby andPride and Prejudice, gradually they come to share their own stories, dreams and hopes with each other, and, for a few hours, taste freedom. Azar Nafisi’s bestselling memoir is a moving, passionate testament to the transforming power of books, the magic of words and the search for beauty in life’s darkest moments.

‘I was enthralled and moved.’ Susan Sontag

 

 

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Come with us…

OTS_Announcement_bannerBig news! We’ve updated our app (available for iPad via Newsstand) to pave the way for some great new features and resources we’re working on for teachers, educators and parents. You can get the new updated version of the Penguin Teachers’ Academy app right now from here – at its new home in the Apple store with Penguin Random House Australia. The current version of the app will be removed from the Apple store in July 2015. Questions? Download our handy FAQ information sheet OTS_UpdateAnnoucement

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