Hello readers and welcome to our Spring newsletter!
It's a beautiful start to Spring here in New Zealand! The weather is getting warmer, there is blossom everywhere and I'm already looking forward to long gorgeous sunny days on the beach!
I hope you are all well and healthy wherever you are. A month ago, New Zealand had COVID cases again after over 100 days of being virus free. The whole country moved to alert level 2, while the city of Auckland was on level 3. Social distancing and the use of masks, combined with the habit of washing hands has helped to control the spread of the virus and the Government announced yesterday that we're moving back to level 1 which means less restrictions and bigger events are allowed again. All in all, a reminder that the virus can come back and we should all be prepared. Stay safe and look after yourself!
We have some exciting news here at the Spies headquarters!
Read on for our news, reviews and promotions for this month.
Talk again soon.
We are super excited to bring the Portuguese version of Weirdo to Brazil!
Ben wrote Weirdo when he was nine years old. At first, the book was a present for him. A reward to recognize his passion for writing. Everyday, Ben would come home from school and the first thing he wanted to do was to put pen and paper to his stories. Ben is fourteen now and has published four books so far with many others to come. Translating Weirdo to Portuguese was our aim since the beginning. Our family and friends are in Brazil, so publishing our books there is like a dream come true. We can't wait to share it with you! Dates still to be confirmed, but we're aiming for November. Watch this space!
We have been approached by a few parents asking if we could create a coloring book with the illustrations from Weirdo and The Magic Pencil. So... guess what? We've been working on them!! As some of you know the illustrations for the first two books by Ben were drawn by his father, Robert. The illustrations for Weirdo were all hand-drawn by pencil and The Magic Pencil ones, were a mix of pencil and digital. Your children will have a chance to color the original creations and bring our illustrations to life. Dates for publishing still not confirmed but we are planning to have them ready for November, just in time to be in your stocking fillers this Christmas.
To our readers in New Zealand, check out Fishpond.co.nz.
They are offering a great price deal for books shipped to
New Zealand with the delivery fee included!
All of Ben's books are available from Fishpond.
You can find more info on Ben's books below:
Meet Ugine. He is a right, proper weirdo. But with great weirdness comes great responsibility...
Ugine recently lost his parents. He now lives by himself. He has no friends at school, and everyone thinks he is weird... but when a school trip to Brazil ends in disaster, Ugine's weirdness might just come in handy. Will Ugine save his classmates? Or will they all be lost in the jungle forever...
'Weirdo' was written when Ben was just nine years old. Ben started writing his own stories to entertain his peers with the authentic, peculiar and hilarious voice only a child can have.
If your children love the funny stories by Dav Pilkey and the Tom Gates series they will enjoy this book.
Buy Ben's first book 'Weirdo' here!
THE MAGIC PENCIL
A school boy. A magic pencil. One chance to save the world.
When Bob finds an innocent-looking pencil on his way to school, little does he realize his life will never be the same again. Anything it draws magically comes to life.
Unknown to Bob, a dangerous gang of villains are not far behind. Desperately searching for the Magic Pencil, the Fakeys want to use the power of the pencil to take over the world, and they will let nothing stand in their way.
In a race against time, can Bob and his friends stay one step ahead of the Fakeys to save the world?
'The Magic Pencil' is an extraordinary adventure full of action, unexpected time-travel and imaginative scenarios.
If you like Roald Dahl and David Walliams' books, then you'll love this novel by Kiwi young author Ben Spies.
'The Magic Pencil' is written by 10 year old author Ben Spies. The true point of difference in Ben's books is that they are written by a child, for children. Through a child's eyes and with a child's voice.
Order your copy of 'The Magic Pencil' here and embark on Ben's latest adventure.
THE WORLD OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY
Ever wondered what the Greek myths look like through the eyes of a child?
Eleven-year-old author, Ben Spies, writes his version of some of the most thrilling tales from Greek mythology.
From Titans to Olympians, 'The World of Greek Mythology' delivers an action-packed retelling of the myths, from how the world was created to a personal take on some of the greatest and mightiest gods and goddesses.
Ben adds his quirky humour to each chapter as we follow the drama of the legendary Trojan War and the epic voyage of Odysseus.
But be warned: the gruesome world of Greek mythology is not for the faint of heart… get ready for bloody battles and horrible deaths.
If you love Greek mythology, or you’re keen to learn more, this book is sure to delight and captivate your imagination.
The World of Greek Mythology was the bronze medal winner for the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards in 2019.
If your children enjoyed the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan they will love this book!
Get your copy of 'The World of Greek Mythology' here.
Earth's orbit is moving closer to the Sun and our planet is heating up at an alarming rate.
The spacecraft sent by NASA to find a new home for the human race has been destroyed by an alien force.
Twelve-year-old Jacob and his mother Susan are fighting for survival while witnessing the horrors of an apocalyptic world. With so many threats to our planet, the enemy may not come from outer-space, but from right here among us.
Susan and Jacob are quickly running out of time. However, hope might be on its way after all... just not from where they expected.
Will Susan and Jacob survive? Or will they fall prey to this dreadful, chaotic world?
'2020' is the fourth novel from teenage author, Ben Spies.
If you like heart-pounding action, high-stakes drama, and all things alien and sci-fi, you’ll love Ben’s new book.
Get your copy today here!
If you would like to support New Zealand authors and independent publishers, check out The Underground Bookstore. The Underground Bookstore is a collective of independently published authors, based in and around the Wellington region - the capital of New Zealand. We have a great range of genres to choose from, such as: children's books, YA novels, murder mystery, non-fiction, fantasy, romance and thriller.
With the country now moving to alert level 1, we will start attending markets and events again!
Watch this space for our dates!
If you receive the Reedsy Discovery newsletters you might've seen Ben's book - 2020 - featured in there. 2020 received a great review from entertainment critic and author from Canada, William McGinn.
Here is the review:"The kind of books I liked to read when I was a child and preteen were fast-paced, not too overbearingly long or complicated, and had a story driven by relatable emotion. That’s exactly what 2020 is, sprinkled with some extra surprises along the way.
Unironically, this title is also the coronavirus commencement year, and for the first few weeks when it hit where I live, I wondered if the world was coming to an end, if this was the year I’d die, and what sort of people we’d become as the apocalypse hit. If the virus were much deadlier, or, even better, if the planet were to crash into the sun as it’s to do so in this book, I completely bought the attitude of the bad guys and their army of looters and conspiracy theory followers. (That isn’t to say I was rooting for them or anything.)
The story is also extremely convincing. Climate change is something we are aware of, but our whole way of life is built around trashing the planet and there isn’t the joined motivation from world leaders to properly tackle it, and enough “leaders” fight against it for profit. Plus there are loads of secrets out there in the world and loads of possibilities humans aren’t ready for. And the possibility of aliens from space brings in the complete unknown, and a lot of people are too terrified of what they don’t understand to give an honest, non-violent look.
Susan and Jacob are terrific main characters. What I like so much about Jacob is he has a good balance between little kid and apocalypse survivor, slowly but willingly accepting the fact his world has shattered and he has to stay strong, like Chihiro from Spirited Away. Susan is devoted, careful and honest, who may even make kids respect their parents a little more. Spies wrote this book without an exact protagonist, giving a feeling any of them could die. Not only did that keep me on my feet, but the book twists itself when we fully expect a death to happen by playing to certain norms.
All in all, Ben Spies is a fresh new author who has real intelligence and passion about the world. He deserves to go far."
You can follow Ben in Reedsy and see the full review here.
And grab your copy here.
Click on the image below to be redirected to our promo this month.
A selection of great children's books and middle grade chapter books for kids going back to school. Check it out!
We value your support and Ben would like to gift you his very first book!
You can now choose your favourite e-book format. PDF, E-PUB or MOBI.
Weirdo is a great read for children aged 7 and older.
If you like his book, feel free to recommend it to your family and friends
and leave a review for Ben!!
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Your FREE Weirdo
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Thanks for reading and following our journey,