Bill Nagelkerke is a writer and translator living in Christchurch. He has some very tasty poems you will get to see in A Treasury of New Zealand Poems for Children next year.
What kind of books did you like to read? I enjoyed lots of different books. Some favourites included the Rupert annuals, Enid Blyton’s Tales of brave adventure and the Tom Swift series of science fiction stories. The Rupert annuals gave me one of my early introductions to poetry, as each of the illustrations was accompanied by a rhyming couplet.
What did the library mean to you? We went every week. I was always on the lookout for the latest Tintin or Asterix adventure.
Do you remember being read to? Yes, definitely. My mother in particular read stories to us. She loved books and reading.
Was there a book that stood out that a teacher read to you? I have a vivid memory of a teacher reading Elsie Locke’s The Runaway Settlers. It had just been published. This was probably the first time I heard a story where events were happening in a place close to where I lived, not somewhere else altogether. It made me look at those places differently.
What did books mean to you? How did they add to your life? I borrowed books from the library and bought my own books, too. I seemed to have kept a lot of them! They’re like old friends, and full of memories.
Do you still read children’s books? Do you have a favourite this week? All the time. I’ve just finished Geraldine McCaughrean’s latest, The Middle of Nowhere, set in Australia. I feel it’s not her best book but, as always, her writing sings. She chooses her words so carefully.