Friday, 28 August 2015

The long awaited sequel to I am not Esther and I am Rebecca

Now available (released Wednesday August 26th)
NZ Writer  Fleur Beale  Being Magdalene  Penguin Random House 2015 $19.99pb 316pp  ISBN 978 1 7755 3767 Themes: Discovery of self/ Mental breakdowns/ Closed Religious Communities/ Sequels

Fleur - source unknown
At the end of I am Rebecca Magdalene was only eight. Now four years have passed and Magdalene is the oldest daughter in the remaining family and life is starting to overwhelm her. We read with dismay as everything in the Pilgrim Family and in parts of the Community begins to disintegrate, as the despicable Elder Stephen slowly descends into madness and as the head of the family, Caleb Pilgrim continues to insist that everything in life must be done according to The Rule. Not for one moment does Fleur Beale let go of the tension that builds and builds until – but yes, there is a happy ending. This is a book that will be read and reread and many readers will want to go back to the beginnings of the story of this incredibly resilient family (to even the members of it we dislike the most) and start all over again with I am not Esther and I am Rebecca.

Year 8 up/ Age 12 up (and for adults)

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Sir Edmund Hillary's Amazing Everest Adventure

NZ Writer and Illustrator  David Hill, illustrated by Phoebe Morris First to the Top Puffin Books 2015 $25.00hb 32pp ISBN 978 0 1435 0687 4

Themes: Courage/ Sir Edmund Hillary/ Mountaineers/ Mt Everest/ Tenzing Norgay

In 32 large and colour filled pages with simple yet succinct text, is the whole story of Sir Edmund Hillary (shy as a child – determined and courageous as an adult), his mountaineering partner Sherpa Tenzing and of one of the main characters in the book – Mt Everest. The story is told with tension, with excitement and in places with poetry, perfectly matched throughout by the captivating images and illustrations.

Highly recommended   

Preschool up/ Age 4 up (I tried this out with a group of four year olds at the Waikanae Kindergarten this week and we must have spent at least half an hour looking at the pictures and talking about them.) Recommended for ESOL

David Hill with Fifi ColstonImage: Barbara Murison
David Hill spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Napier. He studied at Victoria University of Wellington and became a high school teacher, teaching both in New Zealand and the UK. He became a full-time writer in 1982 and is one of this country's most highly regarded authors for children and young people. David's books have been published internationally and his short stories and plays for young people have been broadcast here and overseas.

David has won awards for his writing in this country and overseas. He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004. Most recently My Brother's War, published by Penguin in 2012, won the Junior Fiction and the Children's Choice Junior Fiction awards in the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Image of Phoebe from Grow Wellington
As a child, Phoebe Morris always dreamed of becoming a zoo keeper and working with animals. However, persistent allergies meant that she ended up drawing them instead. As an adult, Phoebe now spends her time drawing a range of things - either on paper, or on her custom PC named 'the Millennium Falcon'. Without Wellington's seemingly endless coffee supply, it is unlikely that the illustrations for First to the Top (with David Hill, Puffin, 2015) would ever have been completed. Find out more about Phoebe's work at

Author and Illustrator Information from Penguin Books New Zealand website

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Storylines Wellington 2015 Reporting Back

Sunday August 23rd 2015 
Reporting Back

Philip Webb in action illustrating a story
Donovan Bixley helps create a medieval gauntlet

Ruth McIntyre  The Children's Bookshop
From the moment I walked into the compact but roomy Shed 6 down on the Wellington waterfront where Storylines 2015 was being held, it was obvious it was a success. It was midday and there were children everywhere (accompanied usually by adults) but this was no aimless moving about - children were all totally engaged in activities. There was much to be involved in and it was nearly all based on recent children’s books.  Gillian Candler’s nature series about the ocean, the rocky shore and the beach provided the stimulus for a magnificent marine display, which had children and adults crowding around it all day. There were activities based on Kyle Mewburn’s Dinosaur Rescue and medieval series, a Book Nook where children could listen to or just look at recent picture books and what Storylines would be complete without the portly red figure of Clifford padding about and waiting to be hugged and photographed. My favourite part of the day was to be sitting in the audience of children who helped Philip Webb and Kyle Mewburn create and illustrate a new story – it was complicated and involved a flying Swiss cheese, a black dragon called Edith, a pack of evil Teddy Bears and a dragon-catching fishing net.

Eileen Mueller (the coordinator) and her large team of volunteers should have gone home happy although totally exhausted with the thought that all the weeks (and weeks) of work
had culminated in such an enjoyable experience for everyone who came down to Shed Six on Sunday. Congratulations.  And good luck to the Storyline events still to happen next weekend. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Mandy Hager talks about her new book Chasing Heloise

Winner of the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and of the Young Adult Fiction Award 2015 with Singing Home the Whale, Mandy Hager  will talk about her new book at the City Gallery Wellington on Tuesday 8th September at 6pm. Mark it in your diary NOW!