Category Archives: NZ children’s book

Poetry Box review: Melinda Szymanik’s The Time Machine & other stories’

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Melinda Syzmanik The Time Machine & other stories Ahoy, The Cuba Press 2019

 

 

I remember reading short stories as a child and loving them – stories with various characters and settings and situations. Fables. Myths. Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree. And in the past few years I have ADORED Joy Cowley’s Snake and Lizard (Although that has the same characters).

Melinda Syzmanik is a versatile writing whizz (The Were-Nana, The Song of Kauri, A Winter’s Day in 1939) who recently published a terrific collection of short stories (18 stories and a novella). Not surprisingly it has been shortlisted for the NZ Children’s Book Awards this year.

The writing flows like honey. The characters are catchy. The situations surprising. Sometimes there is sense of fable  – not that these have animals as protagonists or they are at all surreal. No these stories are bitingly real. And that’s what I love – understated lessons on what it is to be human. Instead of dogmatic messages there are questions. The questions are like the hot bright core of story and the stories unfold about them in kaleidoscopic directions.

 

Here are a few favourites:

What does a cool teacher do when you just can’t sit still in class?

What do you do when you don’t have a horse but desperately want one?

What happens when you think you are hopeless at maths and your grandmother turns in the middle of the night with a recipe for soup?

What happens if you think museums are boring (maybe even the world is boring!)?

What happens when a farming family is ordered to leave their farm during WWII?

What hope is there when you are picked on as a child?

How can you find strength in being different?

 

So many of these questions have affected us. We can’t always fit into the rules and regulations. Surely we all suffer from self doubt at times. At not being good enough. Some of us have been bullied. Some of us have found life boring.

I love the way such important questions hide in the stories and Melinda comes up with surprising and wise responses. There will be crocodile teeth! A speeding go-kart. A time machine. A pirate’s eye patch. There is braveness and daring.

Good short story collections are like a chocolate box for me – a sweet array of different tastes that pop on your tongue – eat one and you carry the flavour all day. And then you try a different flavour. Melinda’s stories can be sweet, sharp, crunchy or smooth. They can be sad, fascinating, zinging with facts, spinning feelings and discoveries. They shine a thousand lights on what it means to be human. There are hurdles and there are joyful discoveries.

This is a chocolate treat of a book – that deserves to be an award finalist.

So a big celebratory bouquet to New Zealand’s writing whizz and her first short story collection.

 

The Cuba Press author page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box review: The Midnight Adventures of Ruru and Kiwi by Clare Scott and Amy Haarhoff plus 48 hour pop-up challenge and book giveaway

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The Midnight Adventures of Ruru and Kiwi by Clare Scott, illustrated by Amy Haarhoff, Penguin Random House (Puffin)

 

Amy Haarhoff was the winner of Storyline’s Gavin Bishop Award for illustration. Amy and author Clare Scott are a match made in heaven because the illustrations and the writing sing together so exquisitely.

You have to peer deep into the midnight blue to see the ruru and kiwi. Their big eyes are glinting, the stars, moon and leaves on the trees luminous. Amy’s illustrations give me goosebumps – they are full of life and wonder and heavenly craft.

 

Clare’s sentences are equally mesmerising:

The ruru and kiwi went into the bush, wrapped snug in night’s velvety black. They took some runny mānuka honey tied up in a flax-woven sack.

Clare writes with the ear of a poet – a musician – so the words flow like honey on the page. Delicious! Sometimes it is the choice of a single word that brings a sentence and indeed the scene alive:

 

Stars prickled high in the sky

the bush was shadowed and still.

 

Prickled and shadowed are genius word choices – they sound good, they are a little bit surprising, and they strengthen the night setting. Sublime writing!

 

This is a book of friendship and sharing. If you have more than enough honey for two birds, it is clearly time to throw a party in the midnight blue. As a party of night creatures arrive (kauri snails, kiwi, pūriri moths, gecko, centipedes, frogs to name a few), Clare’s sentences turn to song with little lines repeating. The book is itching to be read aloud it sounds so good. Best of all the story makes you feel good – like you have just had a wonderful outing.

Book bonus: At the back of the book, you get to meet the night creatures up close and discover fascinating facts about them. This book is such a treasure – beautifully written, beautifully illustrated and lovingly published. It deserves a spot on your shelves, no matter how old you are. I see this becoming an Aotearoa classic. Ah, I just adore it to bits.

 

And side by side, with no need to hide

they danced by the light of the moon,

the moon,

the moon.

They danced by the light of the moon.

 

 

You can discover more about Amy and Clare here: Penguin Random House page

 

48 hour pop up challenge: Write a poem using the book title. You choose where your poem goes! Send to me by noon on Friday May 29th and thanks to Penguin Random House I will give a copy to one young poet.

 

send to  paulajoygreen@gmail.com

please include your name age and name of school

don’t forget to put RURU KIWI challenge in subject line so I don’t miss it

don’t put your surname on drawings or paintings or collages (Poetry Box policy)

 

kia kaha

keep well

keep imagining

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box review: Kiwi Baby by Helen Taylor

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Kiwi Baby Helen Taylor, Penguin Random House 2020

Pīpī Kiwi Helen Taylor, Penguin Random House 2020

 

 

Kiwi Baby is a treasure of a book. Kiwi Iti wakes up to discover an egg next to him, so he goes hunting for his dad, Kiwi Nui. He has a load of questions building up. His dad is very very very patient and answers everything with a dash of wisdom and a sprinkle of love.

The beautiful illustrations are as simple as the writing is economical. With Helen’s deft hand, the kiwi and his dad become exquisitely alive on the page. Adorable!

The book is about kiwi but it is also about asking questions and about giving answers – about being a dad and about being an offspring.

The kiwi dad finishes his answer with: ‘these things take time’.

That feels like something I say every morning when I wake up at the moment. Patience is a good thing.

 

‘When Baby wakes up, will she play with me?’

‘Not yet,’ Kiwi iti.’

‘I know,’ screeched Kiwi Iti,’ these things take time!’

 

Some story books fill you with a warm glow and this book is one of them. I won’t spoil the ending and the magic of reading your way through (I hate reviews that do that!) because I want you to find your own copy of the book and fill with a warm glow too! Happy reading!

Oh, and wonderfully, you can also get a version in te reo: Pīpī Kiwi.

 

Helen Taylor is an award-winning children’s illustrator and artist living ‘in an old yellow house on a red-boned hill in the portside town of Lyttelton’. Her books include A Booming in the Night (with writer Ben Brown) and Kakapo Dance.

 

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Poetry Box bubble time: Sacha Cotter reads from The Bomb, makes a splash, and sings a cool song with Josh Morgan

Sacha Cotter is a very cool writer – she writes with the ear of a poet and she creates stories that zing with life, imagination and heart. With her partner, fabulous illustrator and musician, Josh Morgan, Sacha makes children’s books that really touch me.  I adore The Bomb!

In fact I want to give a copy of The BOMB to someone who tries one of my challenges! I am going to order a copy online now bookshops are open. See below where to email your things.

 

1   The BOMB

Sacha reads a taster from The Bomb, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Huia Press). There is also a te reo version of the book.

 

 

*NOTE* Due to a change in YouTube default streaming settings, our video quality may appear poor. For a crisper image, click the cog icon/settings button in the bottom right-hand corner of the YouTube video screen & set the quality to 1080p HD

 

You can go to the Good Night Kiwi series at TVNZ on Demand and hear What Now’s Evander Brown read the whole book. I love this story so much. A young boy desperately wants to do the perfect bomb into the water but he just can’t! Everyone bombards him with advice. I don’t want to spoil the story but his Nan (who knows a lot about perfect bombs) is very wise!

 

This is a story abut following your heart and doing things your way.

This means a lot to me because it is how I feel as a writer. I have learnt to write books my way and to follow my heart when I write.

 

Some Poetry Box Challenges

Write a poem, draw a picture or comic strip about something tricky you have tried to do.

Write a poem or do a drawing about and for someone who has helped you (your nan, your mum or dad, sister or brother, teacher, kuia, friend). Show me the person in your poem. What do they like? What have they said or done that has stuck with you? Send it to them!

Sacha is really good at finding words that pop on the line.  The action of her story comes to life with the verbs she picks! Try writing a poem about something you love to do. Go hunting for sizzling VERBS you can put in your poem and your drawing.

 

2   The BIG Splash

Sacha and Josh have fun making splashes in their backyard. Wow this looks so cool. They give lots of tips. This looks like such a NOT BORING thing to do in your bubble.

 

Poetry Box splash challenges:

Collect different size containers and fill them with water.

Collect different size things to drop in.

DROP IN!

Record the splashes on a video or in a comic strip or drawing.

Did you DISCOVER anything?

Can you write a SPLASH poem? Hunt for SPLASH words before you start.

Poems are good places to get SCIENTIFIC!

 

3 Listen to Sacha and Josh’s Tiny Kitchen Concert

 

 

I love listening to this song so much. It fills me with warmth and a good feeling that just keeps growing. I can see Sacha and Josh follow their hearts and do things their way.

Check out the way their baby’s legs jiggle in time to the music.

Maybe you can invent a dance to go with the song!

Have you ever made up a song? Would you want to give it a go? It could be really short! You could send me an audio or a video! Do it your way!

 

h a v e     f u n

follow your heart

do it your way

 

Author Sacha Cotter is an award-winning children’s writer based in Wellington. She is the author of Keys/Ngā Kī, The Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Māpere and the 2019 Margaret Mahy Children’s Book of the Year, The Bomb / Te Pohū – all published by HUIA and illustrated by her partner in both books and life, Josh Morgan.

Sacha’s website
Manawatū born and raised, Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata) is a freelance illustrator and musician living in Wellington, New Zealand with his partner, the author Sacha Cotter, and their wee family. Together they form the amazing storytelling / song writing / award-winning-picture-book-making team Cotter & Morgan.

 

send to  paulajoygreen@gmail.com

please include your name age and name of school

don’t forget to put NAME OF challenge in subject line so I don’t miss it

don’t put your surname on drawings or paintings or collages (Poetry Box policy)

 

There is no deadline while we are living in our bubbles! Every Friday I will post some work by children. I will always answer your emails but not straightaway. If I haven’t replied after 3 or 4 days nudge me as I may have missed it.

 

You can also try these Poetry Box activities:

write or draw something for your favourite library or bookshop

Listen to Ashley (8) read: try my dinosaur, pets and swip swap challenges

Have fun with SOUNDS, muck around with WORDS

Listen to Amelia (8) read 3 poems from The Treasury and try my activities

Listen to Philippa Werry read her poem and try her simile challenge

Make a memory album or page

Try my lost-wonder challenges and listen Sarah Ell’s new book Lost Wonders!

Loads of MAKING ideas inside and outside

Do something rainy or snowy! Watch me read my rain and cold poems from The Letterbox Cat

Listen to Melinda Szymanik read her alien mother story and try your own

Send me pictures, photos or poems of curious things you see on your walks

Listen to Maisie and I read fish poems and invite you to do fishy things

Listen to my unpublished very very very strange tail story and do some illustrations for it or invent your own strange tail!

Try writing a postcard poem from where you’d like to be!

Mixed up animals and hear Paula read ‘Anifables’ poem

Sally Sutton’s magic hat challenge

Celebrate your hero and listen to Barbara Else read

Tell me about your favourite bookshop or library

Try my Pass the Poem challenge with friends and family by phone or email

Write draw video comic strip letters poems stories about being in your bubble

My cloudy challenges and hear my cloud poem

My thank our supermarket workers challenge

Listen to me read Aunt Concertina and offer a cool challenge

Listen to me read my poem ‘Lick Lick Riff’ dog poem and offer a doggy cat tiger bat any animal challenge

Check out David Hill’s wonderful photo challenge

Listen to Swapna Haddow read her book and try a rabbit challenge

Try Johanna Aitchison’s hunt the teddy challenges

Ruth Paul reads her muddy poem and I offer muddy challenges

 

kia kaha

keep well

keep imagining

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box Lounge: Launching Sarah Ell’s Lost Wonders, a wee challenge and a giveaway book

 

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Photo credit: Will Calver of Ocean Photography

 

Lost Wonders, Sarah Ell, illustrated by Phoebe Smith, Allen & Unwin, 2020

 

h a p p y     l a u n c h    d a y   S a r a h !

 

Welcome to this fabulous children’s book launch. How fabulous it can happen in all our bubbles! I invite you to settle down with a warm drink (hot chocolate for me!) and listen to Sarah and her children celebrate mum’s new book.

If you like discovering things, if you like collecting facts, if you like dinosaurs and moa and the lost wonders of Aotearoa – then this is the book for you. I am completely FASCINATED by the book; I keep DELVING into the pages and making all kinds of DISCOVERIES. You can print off the ACTIVITY page and you can try my CHALLENGE below and I will have A COPY of Sarah’s book for one child who participates when our bubbles open!

 

 

Sarah Ell says a few words to launch the book with the help of her children:

 

 

 

And now a wee reading from Sarah:

 

 

 

Drawings by Phoebe Morris you can download and print off:

COLOURING LOST WONDERS

 

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This is a must-have book in my view – so as soon as bookshops open we can get our copy – or we could order it now from our local bookstore.

Allen & Unwin page

 

A Poetry Box bubble time challenge:

 

Write a poem about one of the birds above.

Write a poem about a lost wonder of Aotearoa

Find a fascinating fact about the bird you didn’t know!

Find a fascinating fact about a lost wonder you didn’t know!

Show me the bird or lost wonder in your poem: verbs and nouns make things come alive. What were the feathers like? The wings? The way it moved? Where it lived? What it ate? The sounds it made?

 

I will send a copy of the book sent to one lucky writer once we leave our bubbles

 

send to  paulajoygreen@gmail.com

please include your name age and name of school

don’t forget to put LOST WONDER challenge in subject line so I don’t miss it

don’t put your surname on drawings or paintings or collages (Poetry Box policy)

 

There is no deadline while we are living in our bubbles! Every Friday I will post some work by children. I will always answer your emails but not straightaway. If I haven’t replied after 3 or 4 days nudge me as I may have missed it.

 

Poetry Box bubble time: While we are in our bubbles, you might like to go to my blog and try one of my activities or listen to a children’s author or me read stories and poems.

I will be posting a new challenge kater today

Poetry Box bubble time: Melinda Szymanik reads her alien-mother story and offers a challenge or two

 

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Melinda Szymanik reads ‘My Mother is an Alien’ from her collection Time Machine and other stories  (Ahoy: The Cuba Press, 2019).

You can find details of the book here.

 

MY MOTHER IS AN ALIEN

SUMMARY Nathan befriends a new student, Mark, at school. While hanging out at Nathan’s place, Mark meets Nathan’s mother who has an uncanny ability to know what’s going on even when she isn’t in the same room as the boys. She also has other unusual skills and abilities. Mark might have joked about his mum being an alien, but it’s actually Nathan’s mum that is from out of this world.

THEMES Families, friendship, secrets, aliens

QUESTIONS (For older students)

Irony is a particular feature of this story. What is dramatic irony? What does the reader know that Mark doesn’t know?

How does Nathan get on with his sister? What impresses Mark about her?

DISCUSSION Hunt for 5 things Nathan’s mother does that suggest she’s not an everyday mum. Are these really alien? Or are they things a mother might actually be capable of? Is there anything your mum does that seems otherwordly?

ACTIVITIES

Draw a picture of Nate’s Mum.

Write a poem or little story about an ‘alien’ mother or father and/ or draw a picture.

 

Melinda Szymanik writes picture books, stories and novels for children, with several named as Storylines Notable Books. Fuzzy Doodle and A Winter’s Day in 1939 were finalists in two categories in the New Zealand Children’s Book Awards and The Were-Nana was a Children’s Choice winner. A Winter’s Day in 1939 also won Librarian’s Choice at the LIANZA Awards.

When she is not writing, Melinda likes reading, baking (especially with chocolate), going to the movies and travelling with her family. She has three grown-up children, a cat and a husband, and lives in Mt Eden in a house with a view of the mountain.

 

 

send to  paulajoygreen@gmail.com

please include your name age and name of school

don’t forget to put Alien challenge in subject line so I don’t miss it

don’t put your surname on drawings or paintings or collages (Poetry Box policy)

 

There is no deadline while we are living in our bubbles! Every Friday I will post some work by children. I will always answer your emails but not straightaway. If I haven’t replied after 3 or 4 days nudge me as I may have missed it.

 

(I will have pop-up mystery giveaways for the other activities every Friday when I post your work. See the list below!).

 

You can also try:

Send me pictures, photos or poems of curious things you see on your walks

Listen to Maisie and I read fish poems and invite you to do fishy things

Listen to my unpublished very very very strange tail story and do some illustrations for it or invent your own strange tail!

Try writing a postcard poem from where you’d like to be!

Mixed up animals and hear Paula read ‘Anifables’ poem

Sally Sutton’s magic hat challenge

Celebrate your hero and listen to Barbara Else read

Tell me about your favourite bookshop or library

Play Pass the Poem with at least one other person

Write draw video comic strip letters poems stories about being in your bubble

My cloudy challenges and hear my cloud poem

My thank our supermarket workers challenge

Listen to me read Aunt Concertina and offer a cool challenge

Listen to me read my poem ‘Lick Lick Riff’ dog poem and offer a doggy cat tiger bat any animal challenge

Check out David Hill’s wonderful photo challenge

Listen to Swapna Haddow read her book and try a rabbit challenge

Try Johanna Aitchison’s hunt the teddy challenges

Ruth Paul reads her muddy poem and I offer muddy challenges

 

kia kaha

keep well

keep imagining

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box bubble time: Barbara Else reads from Go Girl and we invite you to share words and images of epic people

 

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Illustration of Dame Catherine Tizard by Sarah Laing from

Go Girl: A Story of Epic NZ Women, Barbara Else, Penguin Books, 2018

 

 

 

Barbara Else reads the piece  ‘Dame Catherine Tizard: Governor-General’

 

(I loved listening to this! I found it so inspiring!)

 

Barbara Else has always loved books and stories. Reading and writing are her favourite activities. She also loves reading aloud from the books she’s written. Except for one time when she read a story about a lost cat to a class of five year olds. One little girl’s eyes brimmed so much with tears that Barbara rushed to the end of the story in case the tears spilled out and caused a flood.

Penguin Books page

 

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I love this book. You will find many astonishing NZ women in here. Young girls who weren’t afraid to speak out, who blazed trails, and who have done extraordinary things.  The book celebrates these wonderful women but it also invites girls to GO for it.

There are also books celebrating boys who have grown into extraordinary men who aren’t afraid to speak out, who have blazed trails, and who have done extraordinary things.  These books celebrate  wonderful men but also invite boys to GO for it.

To this I would add ordinary people in our lives who are epic. Friends and family who are everyday heroes, who show incredible kindness, daring, courage, patience, understanding, generosity, love.

 

Your challenge: Barbara and I invite you to share some thing about an epic person, a hero in the news or in your life now.

You could write a poem, a letter, a story, draw a picture, do a painting or collage, do a comic strip or make a little video or audio.

 

 

send to  paulajoygreen@gmail.com

please include your name age and name of school

don’t forget to put HERO challenge in subject line so I don’t miss it

don’t put your surname on drawings or paintings or collages (Poetry Box policy)

 

There is no deadline while we are living in our bubbles! Every Friday I will post some work by children. I will always answer your emails but not straightaway. If I haven’t replied after 3 or 4 days nudge me as I may have missed it.

 

You can also try:

Tell me about your favourite bookshop or library

Play Pass the Poem with at least one other person

Write draw video comic strip letters poems stories about being in your bubble

My cloudy challenges and hear my cloud poem

My thank our supermarket workers challenge

Listen to me read Aunt Concertina and offer a cool challenge

Listen to me read my poem ‘Lick Lick Riff’ dog poem and offer a doggy cat tiger bat any animal challenge

Check out David Hill’s wonderful photo challenge

Listen to Swapna Haddow read her book and try a rabbit challenge

Try Johanna Aitchison’s hunt the teddy challenges

Ruth Paul reads her muddy poem and I offer muddy challenges

 

 

kia kaha

keep well

keep imagining

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box bubble time: watch me read my cloudy poem, try my cloudy challenges

 

 

I am reading ‘Clouds’ from The Letterbox Cat (Scholastic). I do have other cloud poems in that book! Here is another of them:

 

Cloudsville

 

Maybe there is a little city

in the clouds where everyone

rollerblades to school

and swims in fluffy swimming pools,

eats cloudy floss and cloudy buns

and climbs very tall ladders to

pick cloudy plums.

 

When it’s cold, it’s puffy mittens

the nana in the cloud is always knitting,

and when it’s hot it’s ice-cream soda

the cloud granddad is fizzing and floating.

 

from The Letterbox Cat

 

Clouds I have seen in the last 48 hours

 

 

Some cloudy challenges

 

Use words to make a cloud

Make a cloud picture poem

Imagine you live in the clouds

Write an acrostic cloud poem

Discover an interesting cloud fact or two

Do a cloud painting or drawing

Try a cloud comic strip

Write a story or poem as though you are a cloud

Video or record your cloud poem (need parental permission to post this)

Make up a cloud song

 

Go outside and watch the clouds – what do you see?

 

send to  paulajoygreen@gmail.com

please include your name age and name of school

don’t forget to put CLOUD challenge in subject line so I don’t miss it

don’t put your surname on drawings or paintings or collages (Poetry Box policy)

 

You can also try:

My thank our supermarket workers challenge

Listen to me read Aunt Concertina and offer a cool challenge

Listen to me read my poem ‘Lick Lick Riff’ dog poem and offer a doggy cat tiger bat any animal challenge

Check out David Hill’s wonderful photo challenge

Listen to Swapna Haddow read her book and try a rabbit challenge

Try Johanna Aitchison’s hunt the teddy challenges

Ruth Paul reads her muddy poem and I offer muddy challenges

 

There is no deadline while we are living in our bubbles! Every Friday I will post some work by children. I will always answer your emails but not straightaway. If I haven’t replied after 3 or 4 days nag me as I may have missed it.

 

 

kia kaha

keep well

keep imagining

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box Live: Paula Green reads Aunt Concertina and her Niece Evalina and sets a challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aunt Concertina and her Niece Evalina Paula Green, illus Michael Hight, Random House

 

 

 

Every Friday I will post some of the things children send me from around New Zealand.

Today I am reading a book that is dear to my heart as it comes from the bedtime stories I told my daughters Georgia and Estelle when they were little. And Michael Hight, my partner, did the gorgeous artwork. You can see two of the paintings on my study wall. And yes! I do have loads of books – these are all poetry. I will show you some of my favourites over the next month or so.

This is the perfect book when we are staying at home becuase it takes us all over the world! Sit back and listen (around 20 minutes).

 

Today’s challenge is to think of somewhere else a superlative place Evalina might have gone and do a drawing, or even a painting, and some words to go with it. Then email it to me if you like. I will email you back and I will post some on a Friday.

There are no deadlines – you just send when you feel like it and see what I pick to post on Fridays.

 

 

send to  paulajoygreen@gmail.com

please include  your name age and name of school

don’t forget to put AUNT CONCERTINA in subject line so I don’t miss it

 

kia kaha

keep well

keep imagining

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box celebrates David Hill’s Taking the Lead: How Jacinda Wowed the World

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Taking the Lead: How Jacinda Wowed the World  David Hill,  illustrated by Phoebe Morris, Penguin Random House, 2020

 

This inspiring new book seems to have arrived at just the right moment. It is the story of how a young girl (Jacinda Ardern) becomes the Prime Minister of New Zealand.  It is the sixth book David and Phoebe have done on famous Kiwis.

When Jacinda was little she had wanted to be a clown, maybe even a scientist, but when she saw children around her with no school lunches she wanted to change that, even though other children laughed at her and said she couldn’t do that.

We can’t all be Prime Minister of New Zealand nor would we all want to be. But we can dream and we can make things happen. I always loved writing as a child but I never believed I could be a writer with books until I had done a lot of other things.

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is now steering our country at a time when she has to make decisions no leader in our country has ever had to make before. In her I see the little girl who wanted to make sure every child had food in their lunch boxes.

I loved discovering some of the things JACINDA did on her road to being leader:

Her first driving lesson was on a tractor in an orchard.

She went to university and then worked for the Labour Party and did research for Helen Clark.

She worked in a soup kitchen in New York.

She worked in London and worked for equal opportunities for children.

She travelled to lots of countries.

She become an MP in 2008 and was the youngest. In her maiden speech she called for action against climate change and for te reo to be taught in schools.

Newspapers and TV  criticised her as a pretty woman too weak for the job.

She became Leader of the Labour Party in 2017. She had big ideas to improve the lives of New Zealanders, especially children.

That year she become Prime Minister and in 2018 she had baby Neve. Many people loved  the fact a Prime Minister could also be a mother. Some didn’t!

In 2019 when a terrorist killed many people at the Christchurch mosque she wore a hijab as a sign of respect. She called for unity.

That year Fortune (a US magazine) put in her on a list of the world’s greatest leaders.

All along the way people have criticised Jacinda. A bit like calling you names in the playground. But she says she always gets on with the job. When people claim she can’t do something she just keeps trying.

Today that is exactly what she is doing when we are facing the hardest time imaginable. I see the young girl shining through who favours kindness even when she is having to make hard choices with the support of her Government.

 

David Hill is one of my favourite New Zealand children’s authors and was just the right person to write Jacinda’s story. This is an easy to read, heartwarming story that inspires you to do good things. We don’t all need to great things. Ordinary everyday things can be just as important. But we can learn to ignore the people who put us down and say we can’t do this and we can’t do that. Jacinda is saying ‘We can do this!’ And I think we can.

I read this book before the sun came up and thought yes, in this extraordinary time in the world when we have no sure idea of what will happen, like Jacinda I know we can help, we can be kind, we can invent new ways to do things in a year when it looks like we will have to do things very differently.

I loved reading this. It has inspired me so much.

Penguin Books author page