New Zealand News

By Jenny Carroll

Jenny Carroll promotes New Zealand writers this month.

In this issue I have decided to review some New Zealand books for children that we think (and the kids also!), are really good reads.

Reliable friendly girls is a collection of twelve stories by Jane Westerway. All are real, often comical and surprising and explore many of the more serious issues of keenly observed teenage life.

Jack Lasenby's latest Because we were the time travellers is the story of two travellers, a lame boy and an old woman, who have been cast out of their nomadic society for being too slow. We experience their anxiety as they struggle to survive and search for a place to settje.

Mercury beach is the new title from Tessa Duder, author of the Aiex quartet. This is a very New Zealand story which revolves around a fundraising queen carnival at a beach resort on the Coromandel Peninsula. The characters are very 'with it', joke and swear with ease, and have complete disregard for the rules.

Picture magic book features nine of New Zealand's well known book illustrators. They are interviewed by Chris Gaskin (also an illustrator) about how they work, what inspires them and what their ambitions are. The artists fea-tured are Robyn Mahulawa, Christine Ross, Gavin Bishop, Trevor Pie, Murray Grimsdale, Bob Kerr, David Elliot, Robin Belton and Lynley Dodd.

Two of these illustrators feature in picture books selected for the NZZIA Russell Clark Medal. Robyn Belton and author Jennifer Beck have created The Bantam and the soldier -a story of an unusual friendship in wartime. The story reminds us of what ANZAC is all about. Murray Grimsdale teamed up with Amanda Jackson in George's monster a book about how night noises can be distressing but perfectly understandable once explained.

This is but a small sample of some wonderful material being published by New Zealand writers. Do read them: I am sure you will not be disappointed

Jenny Carroll


School Library Network, New Zealand