‘To the Boy in Berlin’ by Elizabeth Honey and Heike Brandt

To the Boy in Berlin‘ was shortlisted for the CBCA Awards Younger Readers category. Elizabeth Honey teams up with Heike Brandt to create a compassionate and tolerant duo of mystery solvers. The characters based in Australia and Germany email one another to satisfy the curiosity of Henni who has found some old things and began asking questions about the past. The kids share their current lives and the uncovering of the past. In usual Elizabeth Honey style the characters are powerful, proactive young people who use their resources and their communities to get their mission accomplished. It is also a very funny read.
Elizabeth Honey’s Books
The character Henni, was earlier seen in the Stella Street books, which are among my favourite kids books. ‘Remote Man‘ has been taught at our school to year 7 students and although I have read it to classes for over 7 years, I still get fresh insights from it. I enjoy the way Elizabeth Honey’s characters use technology in empowering and positive ways. I love that they overcome distance to learn from kids in other countries. I always laugh and smile along the way.
Melbourne Writers Festival
Heike Brandt and Elizabeth Honey are at the ‘Melbourne Writers Festival Schools Program’ tomorrow, as well as at other events, but they are speaking at the grade 5/6 level. I won’t get to listen, but I would love to hear about their processes. Heike Brandt is a German author/translator, among other things, so their work would have been a great collaboration just like the characters in Honey’s books. They write about their exchanges at the end of the book.

CBCA Winners 2007

2007 Winners
I am delighted that ‘Red Spikes’ has won the Older Readers category. Although I totally enjoyed each book that was shortlisted and we are considering using ‘Don’t Call Me Ishmael’ for our year 9s, my favourite’s were ‘Red Spikes’ and ‘The Red Shoe’. Margo Lanagan is an amazing writer and I have another of her earlier books to enjoy when I have completed two others I have began.
Catherine Bateson has taken out the Younger Readers book of the year with ‘Being Bee’. I am yet to read the rest of this category, but I can say I really enjoyed this one.
I am even less familiar with the other categories the CBCA Award Winners for 2007, I enjoyed Shaun Tan’s ‘The Arrival’, which won the Picture book category as well as the Honour books for the 2007 Eve Pownall Award for Information Books.

Sally Murphy at Scribblings has a great post on the CBCA Junior Judges Project. She has also created a list of 12 books to read before you turn 12. I want to create my own and will attempt it on the weekend perhaps.

Being Bee by Catherine Bateson

Catherine Bateson
I have enjoyed many of Catherine Bateson’s novels. My favourite was ‘Painted Love Letters‘. She sensitively handles times of change and relationships for young people and creates such interesting and alive characters.

Being Bee
This latest novel tackles the stepmother and tells a tale of a father and daughter team including a new woman in the house. It has been shortlisted for the CBCA Awards 2007 for Younger Readers. It replaces the stereotypical wicked stepmother with a new type of stepmother who is flawed and annoying yet gradually appreciated. It was an enjoyable light read.