A Magic Steeped In Poison
– Judy I. Lin –
The Book of Tea #1
Feiwel and Friends
Published 22 March 2022
Like Mulan but more focus on the tea ceremonies. That’s how i think of this book. And don’t get me wrong, that makes it an awesome book. Imagine all of Mulan’s fight and guts and “I have what it takes” and take that energy and put it into making tea that can bewitch and enchant. It is super cool and unique and just the start of an exciting series.
Ning’s sister is dying. Poisoned by the same poison that killed their mother. Ning knows the only way to save her sister’s life is to lie to everyone she cares about and risk everything. Ning enters the competition to find the next shénnóng-shi, master of the ancient and magical art of tea making. The winner will be bestowed a favour from the princess and Ning plans to win and get the best healers available to tend to her sister. Ning was once trained by her mother, who was a master shénnóng-shi once, but she knows if anyone in the imperial city discovers her true identify, her life will be forfeit. But she has only just arrived in the city when she is drawn into the mystery of The Shadow, court politics and a corrupt competition. Winning and escaping with her life seem more and more unlikely, but Ning is determined to not give up.
Book Week 2020 – Activity Ideas
I don’t know about you, but Book Week has kind of snuck up on me this year. I went from super organised to, oh, it’s not happening until October, I’ll prepare later. The new dates means Book Week is being celebrated in the three schools I am working in this year from 17th to the 23rd of October.
More details are available on the CBCA website.
Here are some of the ideas for activities during, before (and maybe even after) Book Week this year. Most of them are pretty easy to throw together, especially if you are in a rush like I was.
Story Box Library Activity Pack
God bless the team at Story Box Library. They send out a link to the most AMAZING teacher resource kit for Book Week. Download it here. It is chock full of amazing activity ideas. I have done the Solve A Curious Message in two of my schools. The students are LOVING it. They might be going a little crazing trying to solve them all! I cut out the 11 clues and stuck them up around the library, so the students must first find and then solve each of the 11 puzzles. And they are not easy. The students have been reading the shortlist books to find the answers, teaming up and generally having lots of fun.
The kit also includes a digital escape room plan, a letter template for writing to a curious creature, and so much more.
Wildcard – Marie Lu – Warcross #2 – G.P Putnam’s Sons – Published 18 September
Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.
Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.
Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?
In Wildcard, Marie Lu once again plunges readers into the neon-coloured sci-fi world of Warcross, where computer gaming is taken to the next level and where the tech that enables a fully immersive experience is now a threat to the freedom of humanity.
After her accidental and startling exposure to the Warcross Championships that led to a fight that put her life on the line, Emika Chen is still reeling from her discovery about tech genius and love-interest Hideo Tanaka’s intentions for his NeuroLink technology. Torn between the boy she has always admired and recently fell in love with and her gut that tells her what he is doing is wrong, Emika is forced to join with the shady Blackcoats. But has she put her trust in the wrong people?
Reading World Cup Display
The FIFA World Cup is on everyone’s lips this June 2018. To join in the hype, our library is running a Reading World Cup. This display and voting activity could be tied into World Cup sporting event or literary celebration (Quidditch World Cup, anyone?).
This display was inspired by the creations of The Brown Bag Teacher and her Tournament of Books.
I started by finding our library’s most borrowed titles for the past year, choosing the top 8 from both the junior library and high school collections for our top 16. I printed the covers from these top 16 and created mini voting slips. I cut the lettering for the Reading World Cup title using our library’s Cricut machine, and recycled strips of white cardboard to create the match-ups.
The voting for the first round was open for half a week, followed by half a week each for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and then the grand final. Each time a voting slip was created for the voting, but using tokens and voting boxes would have also worked.
The books on display were selected from the top 16, and when they quickly disappeared, were replaced with soccer-themed titles.
An additional competition was run simultaneously with Reading World Cup voting, allowing students to try and guess which book would be the overall winner. Those who guessed correctly were entered into the draw to win a FIFA World Cup prize pack or a art prize pack (for those less soccer enthusiastic). These prizes were from additional items from magazine subscriptions.
Warcross – Marie Lu – G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers – Published 12 September 2017
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem…and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
Warcross is a dramatic and thrilling science-fiction. All-too believable technology, fast-paced action, a compelling mystery, complicated and forbidden romance, and a really likeable main character – Warcross has everything that will keep readers glued to the pages.
Emika Chen is a bounty hunter. She hunts criminals who gamble on the world-wide phenomenon, virtual reality game, Warcross. It’s the only way she can afford to live and slowly repay her father’s debts. But in a moment of desperation, Em accidentally glitches herself into the biggest Warcross game of the season, instantly displayed across the vision of millions of people. Instead of begin arrested, though, Emika is recruited by the game’s founder, Hideo Tanaka, to play in the Warcross championship, working undercover to help him find the person responsible for dangerously hacking into the games.
Dare Mighty Things – Heather Kaczynski – HarperTeen – Published 10 October 2017
THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.
Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.
As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.
From the very beginning this book was completely exciting. I had a huge grin of anticipation that I couldn’t wipe off my face – but maybe that was more to do with Cassandra’s smarts and humour. It’s so much fun hanging with someone who is clever, knows she is clever, and isn’t afraid to correct her internship boss’s math in front all his coworkers – go girl.
Cassandra knows she was born for something great – it’s expected of a child who was one of the first genetically engineered babies. When she is offered a place in a competition for a highly secretive NASA mission, Cass jumps at the opportunity. Leaving her family behind, Cass spends the next few months being tested to her limits and trying to outclass the other competitors. But no amount of physical or mental aptitude can prepare her for the challenges she will face, including making friends amongst her competitors. But the greatest challenge will be revealed if she makes it to the top spot and discovers what this mission aims to achieve.
Dare Mighty Things is set 26(ish) years in the future. Cass’ world largely resembles our own. Most things appear to have remained the same, despite increased weather disasters and decreased fertility levels. There also hasn’t been a space exploration – no funding – for years, which is why Cassandra is surprised to be asked to join a competition that offers a chance to travel into space.
Book Week 2017 – Competition Ideas
Book Week is the perfect time to encourage readers to engage with libraries. I have found that running competitions is a great way to connect with students. Here are a few competitions ideas that can also be used to tie in with this year’s theme, Escape To Everywhere.
CBCA Shortlist Winner Guessing Competition
Who will win Book of the Year? The CBCA Shortlist can be found on their website. Every year during Book Week, our library displays the Short-listed books and encourages students to guess which book will win in each category. I simply added a picture of each cover into a Word document to create an entry form. Students circle the book they think will win. Alternatively, you could create a point-counting systems with stickers or counters.
Bookmark Design Competition
Students are encouraged to design a bookmark that ties into the Book Week theme. The winning designs are then reproduced and shared with other readers.
A literary scavenger hunt. Ten clues are compiled that relate to the Book Week theme, book quote posters and current library displays. Students then hunt around the library to find the answers. Examples of questions for this year include…
- Complete the quote by J.K Rowling. ““I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very______ can happen when you read a good book.”
- Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund escape to Narnia through what? ____________________
Book Week 2016 – Activity Ideas, Vol. 2
Looking for fun ways to engage readers this Book Week? Here are a few more activity ideas, both my own and adaptions from others’, for this year’s Book Week. Also, check out my post Book Week 2016 – Activities Ideas post.
Book in a jar: This is already a wildly popular guessing competition. Give it a Book Week 2016 twist by choosing an Aussie title to shred (or cut into squares).
Who Am I?: I was born in 1974 in Bendigo, Victoria. Before becoming an author I was an actor, university lecturer and artist. I write and illustrate books for children. This year, my book is nominated for Book of the Year: Early Childhood. Who am I?
The name you know me by is actually a pseudonym, a fake name to conceal my identity. I grew up in Sydney. I have written over 50 books for children. This year, my novel has been shortlisted for Book of the Year: Younger Readers. Who am I?
This guessing competition might also need a few author information posters displayed nearby or perhaps hidden around the library, or students can use their devices or the books’ author pages to find details to help them solve the clues.