Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New review 5 years on...

Still scary (in a good way) 5 years on - check out this review by writer Raymond Huber here. And I can happily report that children are still loving this book when I read it in classrooms on school visits! Being frightened (as Raymond says, in a manageable way) never gets old.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Still magic...

I visited the school my sister teaches at last Friday. I read my new picture book The House That Went to Sea (Duck Creek Press, 2011). I also read a short story of mine The Monster Under My Bed, recently published in Pick 'n' Mix: Volume 2 (Scholastic, 2011) to two class groups. They laughed at the monster's voice and were already joining in with it before I finished reading the story. I had visited the school in 2009 and talked about and read The Were-Nana (Scholastic, 2008). This time after chatting with the 2 classes I visited with just my sister's class. They wanted The Were-Nana read to them although they have heard it before. Their pleasure in hearing the story hadn't diminished. They loved the tension the book plays out. My sister said she thought the book would stay around for a long time. It's timeless and a keeper. I know in reality few books get to stay, but I very much appreciated how much the children enjoyed it although they must have heard it a number of times before, and my sister's kind words about my book.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm a finalist for the Sakura Medal

I am thrilled to say that my picture book The Were-Nana is one of the finalists for the 2010 Sakura Medal. Books are selected by international school librarians across Japan, students then read the books and vote for their favourites during the last week of April and the winner is announced in May. There are some incredibly starry books on the list and I feel very honoured just to even be in their company. It's exciting knowing children in other countries are reading my books.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A new review from Australia

I came across a new review of The Were-Nana today online at bookseller, Austral Ed.

here it is:-

The Were-Nana (Not a Bedtime story) by Melinda Szymanik & Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson pb $16.00Simon loves to scare his little sister Stella Rosa with spooky stories. He manages to convince Stella Rosa that their Nana Lupin who is coming to visit them for the very first time is a were-nana. As Simon describes Nana Lupin his sister conjures up terrifying images of her nana, not so difficult to do since their only photos show her Nana Lupin wearing a dark coat and scarf. The illustrations and text manage to combine the true spookiness of the images in Stella Rosa’s imagination but at the same time there is also humour at Simon’s lurid descriptions. When Nana Lupin arrives at the airport, poor Stella Rosa is terrified but there is a satisfying denouement as Nana Lupin takes off her coat and scarf to reveal an attractive smiling grandmother. Kids will understand how mean Simon is but at the same time will delight in the spookiness of the tale and the way in which Simon looks distinctly apprehensive at the end of the story as Nana Lupin whispers in his ear that she may not be a witch but many of her friends are “and they save their most horrible spells to use on bad brothers! (5 – 9 years)

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Were-Nana makes another appearance on a list...

The Were-Nana makes another appearance on a list...Celebrities have been reading submissions from NZ publishers over the last months and have now picked their personal favourites to promote during NZ Book Month. A (list) of these titles will be available from the NZBM website in September.

Kids Category – Cast of ‘Studio Two’‘Studio Two’ is New Zealand’s most popular after school kids television program.
1. The Were-Nana – Melinda Szymanik and Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson (Scholastic)
2. Awesome Aotearoa – Margaret Mahy (AUT Media)
3. Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms? – Dawn McMillan and Bert Signal (Penguin)
4. Salt – Maurice Gee (Penguin)
5. Five (and a bit) Days in the Life of Ozzie Kingsford – Val Bird (Random House)

The list and our celebrity readers’ reasons for their picks will appear in newspapers and online in October and will be promoted by our TV and radio personalities on-air.

This was totally unexpected. But it is very exciting to think someone else has seen something special in this book and that it gets to shine for a little while longer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Whats too scary?

I was interviewed on National Radio by Gordon Harcourt over the past weekend. Although we moved over a wide range of topics with our discussion he did ask what I thought was the line at which things became too scary for children.

Whats too scary? Its hard to say. What scares one child to nightmares will make another laugh. Children need to know its okay to say stop if they aren't enjoying a story, but we should also always be talking to our children about what they've just heard/read. And helping them understand and process it.

I have been delighted at how children have loved the Were-Nana. I wanted to create a dramatic story with a satisfying resolution. There is a lot to see and think about in this book. There is a lot to relate to. We are all part of families and families can be tricky things. Children have embraced it all and happily enjoyed the ride. Where is the too scary line? All over the place. Being scared is within the full spectrum of feelings and responses. Its good to have a chance to explore this. I got scared over things as a child. I still get scared now. I was scared at the prospect of appearing on National Radio. Fortunately I had some strategies to help me through. Children need these too. A little bit of being afraid can be a good thing. Don't be afraid to be afraid. Good things can come from it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Were-Nana is a winner

The Were-Nana is a winner. Please excuse shameless skiting but I am very excited. At the NZ Post Children's book Awards ceremony last wednesday The Were-Nana was announced as the Children's Choice winner for 2009. To know you have connected with your readers is the best reward. I am so thrilled children are enjoying the book.

Thank you to all the children who voted for The Were-Nana. And extra gold stars for all voters. Books are the best non-edible brain food ever. Happy reading!