Apr 202015

Penguin Australia

After almost 9 years in Australia I have become familiar with many typical Australian sayings and habits, but I still remember very clearly how odd it all felt when I just arrived on Aussie shores. While I did speak English quite well some people would still pick up a hint of an accent, generally they’d guess I was from South Africa or some Scandinavian country. As Dutch is quite similar to Afrikaans I appreciated the connection and it is also why Nick Earls‘ new children’s book New Boy really spoke to me:

New Boy

New Boy (RRP $14.99) by Nick Earls tells the story of South African boy Herschelle who moves to Australia with his family. He has to settle in at a new school, learn the Aussie slang, try new foods and meet new mates, it’s all much harder than he thought it would be. It is not always easy and Herschelle even has to deal with racism and bullying but slowly the Van Der Merwe family settles in to Australian life.

As a foreigner living in Australia I recognise some of the struggles and confusions and can only imagine how hard a move like this would be for a child. This is a fantastic read for those new to Australia but also for Aussie kids so they can get some insight into how they can make the ‘new kid’ feel at home. My favourite part was when Herschelle’s mum was to asked to ‘bring a plate’ to school and brought an empty plate, that could easily have happened to me!

To find out more about New Boy, published by Penguin Books Australia, and to order online visit www.penguin.com.au.

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Feb 242012

In September last year I wrote about the movie The Help, and how keen I was to go and see it at the movies. I am sure you can guess that that didn’t happen, it takes quite some preparation to go out without kids and before we knew it the movie was not being played anymore. For months I have been hanging out for the DVD release and last night I finally got to watch this inspirational story, it was even better than I expected and I loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and would highly recommend it to others.

Based in a Mississippi town in the 1960’s aspiring journalist Skeeter (Emma Stone) lands her first job at the local newspaper, answering the every day cleaning questions of female readers in the Miss Myrna column. Just like many American families those days Skeeter grew up with a help so cleaning is not something she is familiar with, which is why she turn to her friend’s house maid Aibileen (Viola Davis) for advice.

We all know there was a time when skin colour determined the way people were treated and what their job was but do we REALLY know what it was like? Skeeter is determined to find out and to tell the world what really goes on behind the doors of ordinary American family homes. At first Aibileen is not so sure and scared of getting into trouble, but soon she decides that their side of the story is worth telling (provided she can stay anonymous).

Before long Minny (Octavia Spencer), another help and friend, joins in to share her experiences. Sometimes they are funny, other times they are sad, sometimes heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking. Skeeter’s friends are not so happy about her growing friendship with what they consider lower class, they are not ready or willing to accept that times are changing. When Skeeter’s book ‘The Help’ is finally released it becomes a huge hit, everyone is reading it until they realise the stories are a lot less funny when it is your household they are writing about!

This movie will definitely leave you hungry as Minny makes the most delicious food. Everyone loves Minny’s pie, well, not everyone… You have to watch the movie to get that one! Don’t worry, there is nothing secret about this The Help style recipe for yummy Cheesecake Pecan Pie.
1 (15 oz) pkg refrigerated piecrusts
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
4 large eggs, divided
¾ cup sugar, divided
2 tsp vanilla, divided
¼ tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup
1. Unfold and stack 2 piecrusts together. Gently roll or press together and fit into a 9-inch pie plate according to directions; fold edges under and crimp.
2. Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and salt at medium speed with a mixer until smooth.
3. Pour into piecrust and sprinkle with pecans.
4. Stir together corn syrup, 3 eggs, remaining ¼ cup sugar, and remaining 1 tsp vanilla and pour mixture over pecans.
5. Bake at 180°C for 50-55 minutes until set.

The Help is now available on Blu-ray and DVD at major retailers across Australia.

For your chance to win a copy of The Help on Blu-ray simply answer the following question: What would be your cleaning question for the Miss Myrna column?

Submit your answer by leaving a comment below, your email address will not be published.

If you really want to win you can earn up to ten additional entries, please leave separate comments for each entry:

Competition ends March 24, 2012. Sorry, Australian entries only.