Monthly Archives: March 2021

Poetry Box review: ‘I Talk Like a River’ by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Sydney Smith, Walker Books (UK), first published by Neal Porter Books (USA)

‘I stay quiet as a stone.’

Outside the rain is bucketing down, our water tank is being emptied and cleaned, the kererū are still, the tūī are quiet and I am lost in a children’s book. I have read five sublime children’s books in a row over the past week and today I Talk Like a River feels like the most perfect children’s book I have ever read. It is the winner of The Schneider Family Book Award among loads of others.

Ah. This is such a special book. It is the story of a young boy who stutters. He wakes up in the morning and finds letters for things, but can’t make the sounds of all the words. He is teased at school and it is a nightmare when the teacher asks him a question.

I am not going to ruin the unfolding story by telling you what happens. That would simply spoil the magic.

Instead I am going to tell you how sad I felt about the young boy. That is the power of a good story. It makes you feel. And then like a book miracle I felt joy as I read because the words are so lovingly tended. Jordan Scott is a Canadian poet and it shows in this sweetly crafted book about the struggle to speak out loud. Poetry often plays with how words fit in your ear like music, and Jordan’s words are music on the page. Listen to the honeyed murmur of alliteration. Then sink into the metaphors that help us move closer to what the boy feels.

The P

in pine tree

grows roots

inside my mouth

and tangles

my tongue.

The boy’s father is a treasure. He takes his troubled son to the river. Jordan tells us in his moving endnote that he is a stutterer, and how his father helped him.

I am reading this story thinking about how we all have different fluencies: when we write poems, tell stories, choose what clothes to wear, plant a garden, bake a cake, sing a song, walk down the road, swim in the river, try to fit in, speak. I am thinking we sometimes need different ways of seeing and understanding how we are. How we manage the obstacles we face. The boy’s father gets this. How I love his wisdom. How we can learn from him.

Sydney Smith’s illustrations are also perfect. They are like smudgy watercolour washes that offer impressions and are mood rich. The boy sometimes worries his face shows his troubled scared state when the other children mock and sneer. The faces in the book are often smudged and hard to decipher as though the paint is finding its own stuttery fluency. Utterly sublime.

I will carry this book in my heart for a long time. I hope it finds a home in the hearts of young (and older) New Zealanders.

A New York Times Best Children’s Book of the Year

An American Library Association Notable Children’s Book
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, NPR, Kirkus Reviews, Shelf Awareness, Bookpage, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Publishers Lunch, and more!
A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
A CBC Best Picture Book of the Year

Poetry Box review: Kate Parker’s Kōwhai and the Giants

Kōwhai and the Giants, Kate Parker, Little Love, 2021

Kate Parker’s Kōwhai and the Giants gets three big ticks from me. Unlike many children’s books it provides details on the illustrations along with an author bio. I like this. I wish all children’s books did it. Two very big ticks. The third big tick is really a whole forest of ticks because the writing and the illustrations are dreamy and gorgeous and important.

Kate Parker is of Ngāti Maniapoto, English and Greek descent, and grew up riding horses and bush roaming in Kāeo, in the Far North. She is a theatre-maker and an artist living in West Auckland. A perfect place for someone who loves wildlife, the bush and the sea.

Kate’s artworks for the book were created during an artist’s residency at Anawhata and were displayed at the Arataki Visitors Centre in 2017. The work is back up at the Centre until May 3rd. The images were made from hand-cut paper, put in plywood boxes and lit from behind (see image above). As illustrations in a book they work so beautifully – magical, luminescent and, like much poetry, they offer complexity and simplicity. A sweet sweet combination in a picture book.

I live in a house in a clearing in the bush and can see the tail end of the Waitākere ranges. Our cabbage trees are in flower at the moment and the kererū are going crazy for the blooms. They whoosh and flap, fast and loud, from one tree to the next. In the bush where we live the kauri and tōtara are growing up amongst the mānuka and kānuka. The regenerating bush is something to protect and to celebrate.

A kōwhai tree is at the centre of Kate’s book. We see everything through the tree’s eyes. The story begins when Aotearoa was rich in tree and bird life, but without people. We are then carried along to the the arrival of the first people (the Māori), and later to the arrival and hunger of the second comers (the settlers). So many forests were wiped out after the second comers arrived, the natural habitat of the birds threatened.

Three words resonate for me: breath, birdsong and hope. The story is so exquisitely crafted: simple, poetic, vital. My ears and eyes look and listen harder. I am reminded of the way the forest is a living breathing entity. I am reminded of the way we can stand still in the bush and hear native birdsong. I am also reminded of how stories and poems breathe and sing. Kate’s story is alive with breath and song – and out of that comes hope. I love that.

Kōwhai called out, and her voice

was mist and wind and rustling wings.

Some heard her. Others did not.

She held her arms wide, but she could

not stop the great giants falling.

I am feeling such terrible sadness at what we have lost and are still losing as I read this book. Tree sadness. Planet sadness. BUT this is a story of hope. Yes I am still feeling morning sadness but HOPE is in the carried seed, the planted seed, the little actions that are the tiny steps to help our planet (okay I know we need the bigger steps that Governments must put in place) but little steps can help too. Hope is in the native birds dropping seeds on the bush where I live.

Kōwhai and the Giants is clearly written by an author and artist who cares about our planet and wants to do something to help. An information page tells you to be native-plant detectives and discover more about planting native seeds / seedlings in whichever neighbourhood you live in. Once upon a time all kinds of ferns and trees and vines would have lived there!

So YES a FOREST of TICKS for Kōwhai and the Giants. It is an essential book to share with children. It is a terrific starting point for discussions – and a springboard for plantings both in the soil and in children’s own stories and artwork. A sublime gift gifted out of aroha and mahi. Thank you.

$3 from the sale of each book goes to Forest & Bird. You can find more information and activities and their website.

Kate Parker website

Little Love page

Kōwhai and the Giants FB page

Poetry Box review: Sandra Morris’s North & South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

North & South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres, Sandra Morris, Walker Books, 2021

This week I am reviewing three New Zealand picture books that have caught my attention. On Tuesday Melinda Szymanik and Malene Laugesen’s beautiful Moon & Sun with its friendship wisdom, and on Wednesday Elena de Roo and Jenny Cooper’s sublime long poem Rush! Rush!, an exhibition of word joy and picture exuberance.

Today Sandra Morris‘s North & South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres. This magnificent book was motivated by climate change, by a need to join together to do our utmost to save our precious planet. Sandra has used her strengths (writing and illustrating) to draw us close to Earth. I love this book so much. I love the care both author and publisher have put into the book; it makes the subject matter doubly precious.

The book is divided into the months of the year. A double page for each month with the northern hemisphere on one side and the southern hemisphere on the other. Each hemisphere features particular animals and both animals are linked by a theme. This carefully planned focus is genius. We slow down and we look at an animal in detail. The connecting themes range from ‘Cunning Camouflage’ to ‘Mothers and Babies’, ‘Feisty Feathers’, ‘Showing Off’, ‘Building a Home’ ‘Armoured Animals’ (there are twelve!).

We explore the way animals manage the different seasons and climates.

In the deserts of Western Australia, some

honeypot ants have a special role as food larders.

During the flowering season they gorge on nectar

so their bellies swell up like balloons.

Sandra also includes the conservation status of the selected animals and the threats they face. There is a glossary and an index at the back.

The illustrations are simply divine. You feel like you are with the animal, you are discovering the animal, and you are most certainly absorbing its preciousness.

The writing is equally sublime. Factual books can rely on matter-of-fact writing and be very good indeed, but Sandra’s sentences bring the subject matter to life so beautifully. The sentences flow like honey – she dips into the poetry pot and uses alliteration and words that sound good in your ear. She keeps things simple but she makes words sing and thus makes the animals so alive.

With his beautiful

bright-blue feet, the

blue-footed booby

steps, struts, stomps

and, pointing his bill

skywards, makes high-

pitched whistles.

I learnt a lot as I lingered over animals I knew very little about along with those I did. Such fascinating facts. Such fascinating connections. Sandra spent a lot of time researching before she started writing and it shows. She had to ditch some animals after sadly discovering they were now extinct. Her chosen animals are very much alive but in many cases very much under threat.

The green tree python mother guards her eggs,

keeping them warm by coiling her body around

them in her nest in a hollow tree. January marks

the end of the mating season.


More than any book I have read in ages, North & South makes me feel the precious of both wildlife and the planet as an interconnected whole. When I read the list of things at the back of the book I can do to help stop climate change, I know I want to do better.

This beautiful, lovingly-produced, wisely-structured, astutely-researched, goose-bumpingly illustrated and word-nectared book is an utter JOY TO EXPERIENCE.

A sumptuous book we should gift every child this year, put on every school bookshelf, on every family kitchen table and then take time to read for ourselves with an excited swarm of children.

Sandra Morris is an author and illustrator from New Zealand. She gained her Masters in Fine Arts in 1990 where she completed her first picture book, One Lonely Kakapo, which won her the Russell Clark award for illustration in 1992. She has since written and illustrated Discovering New Zealand Birds, which was a finalist in both the Aim Children’s Book Awards and the Non Fiction Library awards. Sandra also holds a Graduate Diploma in Plant and Wildlife Illustration from the University of Newcastle, Australia. It was while she was in Australia that she developed a love for field sketching and this work has been exhibited in museums and galleries. Sandra also runs her own illustration agency promoting New Zealand illustrators overseas. Sensational Survivors was her first book with Walker Books. It was a finalist in both the Non-Fiction category of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, 2011; and the Elsie Locke (Non Fiction) Award, LIANZA Children’s Book Awards, 2011; and also named as a Notable Young Adult Fiction, Storylines Notable Books List, 2011.

Walker Books page

Poetry Box review: ‘Rush! Rush!’ by Elena de Roo, illustrated by Jenny Cooper

Rush! Rush! by Elena de Roo, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, One Tree House, 2021

Over the fence,

and down with a whoosh!

Onto the track!

Into the bush.

Elena de Roo is my favourite New Zealand poet for children and I have long hoped for a collection from her. Her new book Rush! Rush! is definitely a start. The book-length poem is an absolute JOY to read. A young girl is racing to get from home to the beach. Maestro illustrator Jenny Cooper has painted the girl in her pyjamas and dressing gown, because she has pulled the curtains back, peeked at the beautiful day, and then whizzed through the door. Rush! Rush! Rush! The illustrations are sublime. So full of exuberant life. Read the book and savour the images as you race along with the poem and the girl. You will get breathless too!

Every word is pitch perfect. One of the reasons (and there are many) I admire Elena as a poet is because she has a deft musical ear. She listens to how the line sounds. She avoids the clunky predictable rhythms and rhymes of so many picture books. She catches the rhythm of a child rushing, breathing in sights and sounds, and who is too excited to stop. The rhymes are a treat, especially the near rhymes that add knottiness to the musical flow (blind / time; sheep / bleat). She dances between soft and sharp sounds. Ah! she is a poet musician extraordinaire!

It felt like I read the story poem in one delicious breath – and I really liked the ending. A perfect ending (a single word!) to open the story wide like the girl’s arms stretched wide on the cover.

This book is a JOYFUL INVIGORATING POETRY treat and would be the very best book to read aloud to a class or your children. I was reminded of Margaret Mahy’s fabulous A Summery Saturday Morning. I love Rush! Rush! And it has given me an idea for my April Poetry Challenge.

Swoop round the shed,

In a ground-hugging loop.

What’s all the fuss about?

Rattles the roof.

Elena de Roo completed this book when she was the 2020 University of Otago College of Education / Creative NZ Children’s Writer in Residence. She has written a number of award-winning books and lives in Auckland.

Jenny Cooper is an award-winning illustrator and has illustrated more than 70 books. She lives in Amberley, Christchurch.

One Tree House page

Elena de Roo website

Poetry Box review: ‘Moon & Sun’ by Melinda Szymanik and Malene Laugesen

Moon & Sun by Melinda Szymanik, Illustrated by Malene Laugesen, Upstart Press, 2021

Welcome to the dreamy, swirling-colour illustrations of Malene Laugesen. They remind me of watercolour paintings where the light shines through. The images gleam and shine and radiate. This is the perfect choice for a story about the sun and the moon.

Melinda Szymanik’s writing flows beautifully too. The moon is unhappy because she thinks no one likes her. She sees the sun and is blinded by her warmth and dazzle and bright light. Everyone loves the sun, she thinks. No one loves me, she thinks. So yes the moon is feeling very sorry for herself and believes no one could ever admire her.

Her sister, the sun, is full of wisdom and, as the story unfolds so exquisitely, I am reminded of a fable unfolding. I love the messages about being in the world, and about learning to love who you are, and how we all have different strengths and weaknesses. I also loved seeing the sun show how we can help those near us see their own gleam and shine.

A glorious story that I gobbled in a flash and then felt warm and toasty inside with a sun and moon load of good feelings. It is perfect to have this special book in the world.

Melinda Szymanik is an award-winning children’s author (chapter books, short stories and picture books). The Were-Nana won the Children’s Choice at the 2009 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and Fuzzy Doodle was a 2017 White Raven selection.

Malene Laugesen was born in Denmark and moved to Christchurch in 2008. She has illustrated more than a dozen books.

Upstart Press page

Poetry Box review: Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst

The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst: A Kingdoms and Empires Book by Jaclyn Moriarty, illustrated by Kelly Canby, Allen & Unwin, 2020

When I was six we all had to read from a favourite book to the class. I jumped for joy at this golden opportunity. It was really hard picking just one book so I picked the biggest book on my shelves. It definitely wasn’t the best book or even my favourite but it had (maybe my memory is exaggerating) at least 500 pages. I thought I would get to spend all year reading to the class. It was SO big I had trouble holding it. My teacher took one look at the book and said Gosh that’s a big book Paula. Maybe just read the first page and give everyone a taste. My heart sank. It definitely wasn’t one of my favourite childhood books because I can hardly remember anything about it now. Except it was about Brownies and I had never got to be a Brownie and get badges and do secret signs or whatever it was they did.

I was reminded of this embarrassing moment as a fan of books, because I have just finished reading a really really long book for older children (10 to 14 say). It is 535 pages and I loved every single bit and bite of it. Jacyln Moriarty has set two earlier books in her invented world, the Kingdoms and Empires, but I haven’t read them yet. So they are on their way to my letterbox and I can’t wait! ( I think I should call it a bookbox I order so many books!) .

Esther Mettlestone-Staranise goes to Katherine Valley Boarding School. Jaclyn is extremely good at making up names and I roll them around on my tongue like juicy marbles.

TRIPLE BUT!! On the first day back everything is a bit different. Esther’s two best friends aren’t at school. She has a new teacher and everyone says she is an ogre but she turns out to be very funny and very strange and very surprising and no matter what she does everyone loves her. And there are two new girls at the school, both in Esther’s class, and they are also very surprising. I was personally very surprised at the way the teacher teased the students in her class. And nothing Esther does is good enough for her. That can’t be right! Especially stories and Esther loves writing stories.

Esther has two talented sisters (one is an excellent swimmer, the other can spot when someone is telling a lie and both are good at poker). Her father is an historian who always listens (well usually) and her mother is not as nice to her as she is to her sisters. She has a job that seems important but is hard to explain.

The school is surrounded by mountains but this term there is an evil threat: the Shadow Mages. The school needs to be protected, and what with THIS and THAT, this mishap and that catastrophe, it is up to Esther to protect and save the school.

What a page turner!

What a how-you-heart-will-beat-faster-as-you-read book.

What a spider’s web of mysterious things and people and happenings.

What I adored about this book – aside from the cool characters and the challenging circumstances and the magnificent settings and the page-turning plot – are the exquisitely woven threads on what it is to BE in a world where not everything and everyone is perfect. You get to think about how we are not all the same and how we can be shades of good and bad. And how there are so many different ways to grow into being a grownup but how some things always matter: kindness, listening, sharing, supporting, taking little risks, understanding difference, building peace, justice.

I love LOVE love this book. I was feeling really gloomy even though it was a blue-sky day but reading this SUPERLATIVE book made very happy indeed. Jaclyn’s sentences sing, her ideas sizzle and her imagination is so elastic it might send you to the moon and back. Yes I am now full to the brim with the very best book comfort. I would so loved to have read it to my class! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Jaclyn Moriarty is the prize-winning author of novels for children, young adults and adults. The Kingdoms and Empires books, a series of standalone books for 10 to 14-year-olds, include The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone, The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars and The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst. The first two books in the series have won and been short-listed for a number of prizes. A former media and entertainment lawyer, Jaclyn grew up in Sydney, lived in the US, the UK and Canada, and now lives in Sydney again.

Allen and Unwin page

Poetry Box review: Katya Balen’s The Space We’re In

The Space We’re In, Katya Balen, illustrated by Laura Carlin, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019

Sometimes you read a book so good you want to find someone else who has read it too and have a gloriously long conversation about it. That’s how I feel about The Space We’re In. I love this book so much. I love the characters. I love the sentences. I love the way the story dances and ducks and dives across the page. And how it needs codes and very cool drawings. Reading the book made me sad and glad and everything in between. I wanted it to last and last and last and I have finally finished it so now I have the end of a book feeling where you don’t quite know what to do.

If you have read this book let me know! Maybe you haven’t read it but now you do.

Frank is ten. He loves football and cracking codes and the cottage pie and the cinnamon biscuits his mum makes. His brother Max is five and if things aren’t just right he has huge meltdowns. Colours can be too bright for him. He can’t talk but he can use a sign language. Mum used to paint paintings but what with Max and Frank she no longer has time. Then she gets sick and everything gets even tougher.Sometimes Frank gets bullied at school because his brother Max is not like the other children. He is autistic.

What can I say without spoiling your passage through this magnificent book: it is like a rainbow, a warm hug, a glittering universe that sets you flying, a lift-the-flap book where you see into heart of a family. All the challenges, all the joys, and the big terrible loss.

We all live in space. We are live in our space and the space we share with the people near us. At school, in our families, with our friends. We live in space and we fil that space with all the things we love to do, the books we read, the games we play, the codes we crack, the places we visit. The way we learn to BE us!

This is the BEST most SUBLIME book I have read in ages and if you need a book that will lift you to the stars and back then give it a go.

Do let me know what you think!

happy days reading!

Katya Balen was born 1989 in London and considered how texts effect the behavior of autistic children in her Masters studies. She is a co-founder of Mainspring Arts, a charity that uses creativity to work with autistic people, and has worked at various special schools. Her second novel October, October appeared in 2020 (it is equally extraordinary and I reviewed it here).

Poetry Box March poem challenge: SUMMER!

Welcome back to Poetry Box!! I am very excited about doing poetry with you in 2021 and seeing how words will take us exploring, adventuring, experimenting, playing, recording, inventing, telling stories, sounding good, thinking, dreaming, feeling GOOD!

I had a lovely summer. My vegetable garden went crazy with veggies. I read loads of books (adult and children and in between!). I wrote some poems. I started secret new writing projects I will go exploring with this year.

And YES!! I have an exciting new children’s book coming out later in the year. I edited an animal poem anthology and can’t wait for you to see it.

Sad things happened – we now have only one pet left – Charlie the stray kitten is now an old man cat (nearly 18!) who likes to sleep in my guitar case.

So let’s getting writing poems!

The March Poem Challenge:

Summer poems

Write a poem that is inspired by summer. It can be true, made up, tell a story, short, long. Here are some ideas.

TOP tip: Don’t send your poem the day you write it. Let it sit until at least the next day if not a week.

Here are some ideas:

Write a summer postcard to someone about something you saw or did.

Write a summer poem about your favourite summer place. Use words to take a photograph or a video!

Write a summer poem that has loads of summer verbs.

Write a summer poem that has loads of summer nouns.

Write a summer poem about your favourite summer food.

Write a summer poem that tells a summer story.

Write a summer poem that imagines the perfect summer experience.

Write a summer poem about has a twist in the telling!

Write a summer poem that catches summer weather.

Write a summer poem that is full of surprises.

Write a summer poem about your favourite summer moment.

YOU can include an artwork

DEADLINE: 26th March


INCLUDE: your name, age, year, name of school or say home schooled

DON”T FORGET TO WRITE: Summer poem challenge in email subject line

H a v e f u n !

Poetry Box Charlie Tangaroa POP-UP challenge: Denzel picks Te Ra

I loved T K Roxborogh’s book Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea so much I gave Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland children a chance to get a copy of the book. I am couriering a copy to Denzil. I invited children to name their favourite NZ myth or legend or character from a NZ children’s book. I asked them to write some sentences or do a poem or artwork! Denzel did all three! I love Gavin Bishop’s book too!



Te Ra, The Bright Sun

Flies Across The Big, Wide SKy

Blazing, Burning Light


Denzel G

9 Years Old, Year 5, Sandspit Road School

My Favourite Character From A New Zealand Myth Is Te Ra From The Māori Myth, Māui And The Sun. Especially Gavin Bishop’s Version In His Book, Taming The Sun- Four Māori Myths. I Like His Illustrations Because They Are Very Colorful, Unique, And Very Detailed. I Like How Te Ra Was Lazy In The Day But Then Learned A Lesson And Changed His Ways.

Poetry Box review: TK Roxborogh’s Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea (with a 24 hour challenge for Tāmaki Makaurau children)

T K Roxborogh, Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea, Huia Publishers, 2020

T K Roxborogh’s junior novel begins with a question: ‘I’m curious. What would you do if you found a mermaid washed up on the beach?’ My curiosity was sparked. Would I freak out? Write a poem? Call the mermaid savers? Just sit and watch and wait? Who knows. Write a poem maybe! I liked the way I was involved in the story from the first sentence.

I loved reading this book, this story that borrows from ancient traditions of myths and legends. I read it in one delicious gulp (at the beach in fact with the soundtrack of waves lapping and gulls squawking). Charlie is a very cool character. He gets teased at school but he is gathering layers and layers of wisdom from his grandfather. He has an annoying little half-brother Robbie. He does ‘beach patrol’ because he wants another tick in his Sea Cadets service book. He is sick to death of out-of-towners dumping rubbish on their beach and threatening sea life (think dolphins, whales, sharks for a start). Charlie has a prosthetic leg which he used to trick two rubbish-dumping youths into running off.

Charlie doesn’t know who is father is (he disappeared at sea when he was younger) but he does know his grandfather matters more than anything and family is important. They live with his much-loved mum in Tolaga Bay.

One significant day Charlie and his brother rescue a mermaid-like sea creature from the rocks and in doing so are flung into a story that demands courage, initiative, determination. This is why you need to keep reading the book until you get to the last page. You just have to know what happens next. Especially to Charlie. There are twists and turns and puzzles.

Charlie and Robbie discover the ‘mermaid’ is named Pō-nuia. She is a ponaturi, a sea goblin, and she is very much part of the story. Miraculously Charlie discovers he can communicate with her.

Grandad is a big help. The stories they have told and listened to are a big help. The songs they have sung are a big help. Because yes this is a gripping story with action and suspense but it is also an important story. It is grounded in mātauranga Māori and tikanga, with Māori Gods making an appearance. Te Reo Māori is equally important. Charlie’s big mission is to bring peace and undo an ancient grudge between Tane and Tangaroa (which is fired up by the building of a port in the bay). For the sake of the land. For the sake of the ocean. For the sake of his whānau.

T K’s novel is shining a light on our tilted world and how we must work together to heal the damage. I love the way in helping the Gods solve their terribly destructive argument, Charlie is also growing stronger and wiser in himself. He doesn’t let his disability stop him (and he does have pain and challenges). He doesn’t let bullies keep flattening him. He listens and he learns. He grows closer to his family.

Charlie is now one of my favourite children’s characters ever and he will stick with me for ages. Just as this glorious, beautifully crafted, rollercoaster, heart-warming story will stick with me. I adore it and I reckon children will too. Make this a must-read book to your class this year, to your own children, for yourself however old you are. This book SINGS! Read this book in Level 3 lockdown in Tāmaki Makaura Auckland.

Thank you T K Roxborogh and Huia Publishers.

POP-UP CHALLENGE: IF you live in Tāmaki Makaura you have until 9 am on Tuesday to tell me your favourite character in a NZ children’s book or favourite NZ myth or legend. Write a few sentences or a paragraph and / or do a drawing / or a poem even. I will give three copies away and see if I can get them couriered to you this week.


Include: your name, age, year, name of school

Don’t forget to write myth or favourite character in subject line so I don’t miss it

T K Roxborogh (Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri) is an award-winning author of more than thirty published works, both fiction and non-fiction. Her latest publication was My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point, which won the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction at the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and a Storylines Notable Book Award. She teaches English has been a writing mentor and a judge for short stories and for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.