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Creating taonga, Trevor Agnew

Maui and other Māori Legends: 8 Classic Tales of Aotearoa Peter Gossage Puffin $40.00, ISBN 9780143309291 What a delight! Maui and other Māori Legends contains eight complete picture books in one handsome hardback, complete with embossed cover, glossary and bookmark

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Posted in Children, Literature and Maori

Forward to the 1950s, Trevor Agnew

The Adventures of Hutu and Kawa Avis Acres (text and illus) Puffin, $25.00, ISBN 9780143507055 First to the Top: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest Adventure David Hill (Phoebe Morris illus) Puffin, $25.00, ISBN 9780143506874 Changing Times: The Story of a New

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Posted in Children, Literature and Review

What’s a New Zealand novel? Sue Esterman

Enemy Camp 
David Hill
Puffin, $20.00, ISBN 9780143309123

Lullaby
Bernard Beckett
Text, $26.00, ISBN 9781922182753

Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder
Rudy Castaneda Lopez
Escalator, $30.00, ISBN 9780473295691

It has been interesting to read three such different but compelling books. All three writers are New Zealanders, but only one book is identifiable as a New Zealand novel. I mention this only because there was a session at the recent Writers Week in Wellington during the Arts Festival where I was expecting a robust discussion about what constitutes a New Zealand writer but unfortunately that didn’t happen. So the question is still there, but I don’t think I can address that in this review except through an occasional comment.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Young adults

At the whim of larger, terrifying forces, Angelina Sbroma

The Deadly Sky
David Hill
Puffin, $20.00, ISBN 9780143308157

The Red Suitcase
Jill Harris
Mākaro Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780994106902

Spark
Rachael Craw
Walker, $22.00, ISBN 9781922179623

David Hill’s The Deadly Sky is set in 1974, when the nuclear proliferation of the Cold War was at the forefront of political debate, and France was, quite literally, dropping bombs in the South Pacific. Modern global terror has a different focus (the Big Red Button seems old-fashioned from today’s perspective), but the ethical quandaries at the heart of the arms race – whether militarisation works to promote security or to endanger it; whether national and global security is worth its economic, ecological and individual cost – remain pertinent.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Young adults

A lot to live up to, Caoilinn Hughes

When Our Jack Went to War  Sandy McKay Longacre, $20.00, ISBN 9781775533092 Brave Company David Hill Puffin, $20.00, ISBN 9780143307570 Speed Freak Fleur Beale Random House, $20.00, ISBN 9781775534709 When Our Jack Went to War is “a fictional story based

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review and Young adults

From trenches to terrorism, Barbara Else

Marked   Denis Martin Walker Books, $20.00, ISBN 9781921977541 My Brother’s War David Hill Puffin, $15.00, ISBN 9781742532653 Into the River Ted Dawe Mangakino University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780473205089 The Nature of Ash Mandy Hager Random House, $20.00, ISBN 9781869799038

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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature, Review and Young adults

Give peace a chance, Jill Holt

The Limping Man Maurice Gee Puffin, $19.99, ISBN 9780143305163 The Limping Man is the final volume of Maurice Gee’s Salt trilogy for teenagers. The trilogy portrays a grim city of a wrecked civilisation whose dictator is determined to destroy the

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Posted in Literature, Review and Young adults

No easy heroics, James Norcliffe

Shadow of the Mountain  Anna Mackenzie Longacre Press, $18.99, ISBN 9781877460005 Smashed  Mandy Hager Random House, $18.99, ISBN 9781869419424 Gool  Maurice Gee Puffin, $19.95, ISBN 9780143304005   Each of these kidult novels tells a compelling story in a tightly written

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Young adults

Breaking free, Jill Holt

The Dumpster Saga Craig Harrison Scholastic New Zealand, $16.99,  ISBN 9781869438166 Salt Maurice Gee  Puffin, $17.95, ISBN 9780143303350 The Sea-wreck Stranger Anna Mackenzie  Longacre Press, $18.99, ISBN 9781877361883 It’s hard to imagine and salutary to recall that many teenagers do

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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature, Review and Young adults

Ways of being in the world, Eirlys Hunter

When Mum Went Funny Jack Lasenby Longacre Press, $16.99, ISBN 1877361534 The Whizbanger That Emmental Built Reuben Schwarz Puffin, $17.95, ISBN 0143318381 Chute Thru Janice Marriott Mallinson Rendel, $17.00, ISBN 0958262632 Thor’s Tale: Endurance & Adventure in the Southern Ocean 

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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature and Review
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