Archive for December 2015

Summer Reads: The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong

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In this, the second in the series of summer reads for teens, we have this absolutely fun novel that is also the debut novel of author Lindsay Tam Holland.

Like the previous book, our teen protagonist (sixteen-year-old Vee) has to investigate his family. Which is a bit of a mission since his Chinese Dad and Texan mother never talk about themselves, so the homework sucks, and Vee hates that he doesn't know much about his family. Its as if his father never had a life before going to the USA: Vee says:

"I hated my life. I hated brainless, cruel homework and the way I was supposed to figure out everything on my own. Other kids would have tough life stories: single parents, divorced parents, alcoholic parents, abusive parents, dead parents, all of the above. They'd be coddled and cooed over and given A's just for telling the truth. I wanted to tell the truth, I did, but there was no truth to tell. there was just this nothingness, this silence."

To make matters more interesting, Vee's best friend is Chinese and she does have a story to tell.
The novel chart's Vee's mission to find out the truth about both sets of grandparents, and includes along with it some good old angst, love interests, your basic teen confusion, and life as a kid of mixed parentage.

And of course he does find out the truth about his family although when his father tells him how he came to America, its not quite what Vee had imagined:

"The whole time I'd wondered in the back of my mind if he'd sneaked into America by hiding in some cramped cargo hold for months on end, or by bribing a high-level official, or by drifting the way Cubans do in a boat the size of a bathtub. Madison's family with their false papers and grueling interrogations were more interesting than Dad's immigration. His trip sounded about as exciting and difficult as an excursion to 7-Eleven."

You can check out the book on the library catalogue here. Like all great YA novels, there's no reason why folks well and truly into adulthood shouldn't read them. Take no notice of those critics who say reading young is beneath you!

For more info on Lindsay Tam Holland. Check out her website.

I sure hope she's writing another book because The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong is a winner.

And have a great reading-filled 2016, everyone!

Joanne

Treasure chest Thursday: New CD Roms to the Central Research Centre

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Our filing cabinets in the Research Centre are real treasure chests, filled with microfiche, microfilm and CDs and DVDs.


Photograph of the 'S S Viti' of the
Tasman Shipping Company Ltd
(Captain Clough Blair)
Heritage Images, Sir George Grey Special Collections,
Auckland Libraries, 34-T284
CDs and DVDs contain useful databases on documents in pdf format that are keyword searchable. Parish registers, passenger lists, private hospital registers, memorial inscriptions and cemetery records to name but a few examples of what they contain.

Methodical searching through our almost 4000 CD collection can lead to all sorts of exciting discoveries.

New additions to our CD collections this month:

Australia
2 AUS DIR NSW
NSW Telephone Directory, Section 5, Western Districts, 1958

2 AUS DIR VIC

2 AUS IMM
Arrivals at Moreton Bay, Port Phillip, Sydney and Twofold Bay

2 AUS SHI QLD

2 AUS PUB NSW
(5/5857) - (5/5860), compiled by Teapot Genealogy, Kaye Vernon and Billie Jacobsen

England
4 ENG BDM ESS

4 ENG BDM NTT

4 ENG BDM NTT

4 ENG BDM NTT

4 ENG BDM LNC

4 ENG BDM SAL

4 ENG BDM SAL

4 ENG BDM YKS

4 ENG CHR HAM

4 ENG DIR WAR

Scotland
4 SCT CEM AYR

United States
6 USA GAZ


Happy hunting

Seonaid

Family History Reading for the Young Ones

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Auckland Libraries' holiday reading programme for the kids, Dare to Explore, is on again over the Kiwi summer, and it’s a great opportunity to spread your reading wings and try something a little different – like books for young people.

There are some fabulous family history-themed novels around for teens, so what better place to start my reading than with an excellent YA (Young Adult) New Zealand story – Finding Isabella.

Stacey Harper is a fourteen-year old girl living in a small North Island town with her brothers and mother. Her father has recently taken off to be with his new girlfriend, and Stacey’s supposed boyfriend Zac has taken up with Stacey’s supposed friend Lisa. So when our heroine has to do a family history project for school over the holidays, and her mother suggests she take a look at the impossible-to-read diary of a great-great-grandmother, Isabella, Stacey begrudgingly starts researching but is soon - family historians, you know this well! – totally hooked, as she sets about uncovering a story of love and scandal and family and society in 19th century England and New Zealand.

What’s to love about this story? So much. Apart from the family history angle, there’s snappy dialogue, Stacey is an extremely relatable teen (a lot of relatable teen stuff going on there, and let’s face it, not just teen-relatable). It’s a totally Kiwi read, from the vernacular language to the settings, to the culture, to scenes like the one where she visits her demented gran who accuses her of stealing. And as for the family history, there’s so much the family historian will smile at, as Stacey learns about BDMs, looking people up on microfiche, to the horror at the cost of Isabella’s birth certificate.
Yes, this is a teen book but honestly? I loved it. So if you want something to read while you're trying not to get burnt in the sun, give it a go.

Here's a random excerpt, from Stacey’s point of view:


“There’s a major flaw in growing up and growing old amongst the generations, I decided. The generation gap is too big. When old people have still got all their marbles and want to talk about their lives, the young aren’t interested – they’ve got too much happening right now. Then, by the time young people are interested, the oldies are even older and their minds are unhinged. There should be a better system.”

Well said, Stacey Harper.

There are several copies within the Auckland Libraries' system, so check it out here.
Enjoy.

Joanne - Central Research