Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Finally some photos from the launch

The Spaghetti Giraffe was launched over three months ago on 28 October 2017. As you can tell, it's been a very busy time, not only because of Christmas and holidays, but also because I've been busy writing the next book in the series.

But finally here are some snaps from the launch. I had such a nice time. Huge thanks to everyone who came. And a special thank you to all the creative souls who helped build the Spaghetti Giraffe for the wall.

See you all at the next one. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

A week of thank yous

This week I’ve visited three schools who have been taking part in #NZReadaloud and reading The Bold Ship Phenomenal: Selwyn Ridge in Welcome Bay in Tauranga, Knighton in Hamilton, and Marist in Mt Albert in Auckland.

Look at all these amazing thank you cards that the students kindly made for me. 

The jar in the middle is full of messages-in-a-jar (rather than a bottle). So cool!

It’s me who needs to be thanking the teachers for inviting me, and the kids for being so interesting and interested. I really enjoyed hearing their ideas about the story; in particular, where the ship had gone and what was sunk beneath the buoy. Some of them even offered to write the next book for me!

Here’s some close-ups of a few of the wonderful cards.


One of my favourite thank you messages was from Theo who said: “I enjoyed how the story was kind of dull then BAM! At chapter 28, PLOT TWIST.”

Chapter 28! That’s two-thirds of the way through the book! I’m so sorry Theo that you had to wait so long for it to get exciting. I promise in my next book I’ll put a plot twist much nearer to the start. 

Friday, 25 November 2016

Thank you Koromatua and Bankwood schools

This past week has been busy. On Wednesday, I attended Bankwood School's whole-of-school production of Wooden Arms. It was absolutely superb, with some very funny additions (like dancing gumboot-wearing farmers). You can see the video here.

I was really moved to hear my words being performed back to me: taking on a life of their own.

Then on Saturday, I was at Books For Kids in Hamilton East, helping Anne and Helen celebrate the bookshop's 45th birthday. Lots of the Bankwood kids came in, and they made this fabulous artwork to decorate the shop.

Sunday, I was at the Raglan creative market with Deb Hinde, selling books. Deb was selling her latest book, Hare (as well as several others), which has only been out for two weeks!

Then on Tuesday, Sherane from Koromatua School sent me these fabulous pictures of all the artwork her class has been doing since I visited last month. I love those ship-in-a-bottles! Sherane tells me they are easy to make, so I'll have go this weekend. I doubt mine will look anywhere near as good as the kids though.

Thank you Bankwood and Koromatua Schools. I have had such a fabulous time sharing writing with you this year.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Octopus in a rock pool

Recently, at the rock pools in Tairua, I had an amazing encounter. Octopi! Two of them, in the same rock pool.

That in itself is worthy of note: to find not one, but two beautiful octopi on the same day. But what happened next was even more amazing. One of the octopi, the larger one, raised its head to the surface of the rock pool and spoke…    

So here I am, an octopus in a rock pool.

It is not, to be fair, the most flash rock pool I’ve been in.

For a start, there are the shrimps: whiskery, flibberty creatures that pester an animal when he’s trying to hide. The anemones too, wink, stare.

Yet, in the absence of a larger claim to occupation, a seal say or an eel, I fancy I may call it my own.

What is that you say? You consider a rock pool not the safest place for an octopus to reside.

On the contrary! Note the abundance of nook and crevasse; perfect for containing a body soft as an over-ripe fruit. A fluid body, lithe and unencumbered by meddlesome bones.

You disagree? Claim a soft body can be disadvantage, in the presence of, say, a spear.

Oh, I see, you have one there.

Ah, yes, and here it is. You brandish it before you like a toasting fork over hot coals.  

Yes, yes, that is close enough; I assure you, I see your point.

Perhaps that is the downfall, after all, of a rock pool – no immediate means of escape.

Although containment can, itself, be offset by the proximity of the sea.

Yes, that’s right, the sea.

We are, after all, talking of a temporary inland outpost; the connection to the mother water remains.

You snigger, yet I would not expect you to understand, land lubber as you are, with your parcels and packages of tidily allotted ground. With the sea we take a broader view: connection rather than fence. Pool to sea to tributary, animal to animal, it is all as one.

Take, for example, my large friend here.

 Where? There. See there, where he rears behind you

Yes, indeed, he is an orca. Note the black and white warrior markings, the musculature of the sides.

Good idea, drop the spear, you’ll find it serves you little use now.

Now then, as I was saying…

So here I am, an octopus in a rock pool.       

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Junior fiction finalists: New Zealand Children's Book awards 2016

A photo from the 2016 New Zealand Children's Book Awards ceremony, held at Circa Theatre in Wellington on 8 August 2016.


These are the finalists for the junior fiction category: Jane Bloomfield, me, Stacy Gregg, Kate De Goldi, and David Hill. Kate won our category with her novel, From the Cutting of Barney Kettle.

The photo reminds me what a fabulous time I (and my boys) had on the night, meeting all these New Zealand authors we admire so much. For me, that was prize enough!

Thanks to Matt Bialostocki who took the photo.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Joy and books at school visits

It's the season for school visits and I've had several fabulous ones recently, with more scheduled for next month.

The wonderful photos below were taken during my visit to Te Mata School, when I was kidnapped by this cut-throat band of pirates. The whole school had dressed up for the occasion - what a treat!

One dedicated teacher (Tanya) at Bankwood School in Hamilton created this Glogster for her class to use in preparation for my visit. By the time I got there, the kids knew more about me and my books than I did. I really appreciated that effort.

Tanya says she's happy to share the Glogster for other teachers and librarians to use. You can download it here, and when I update my website (shortly) I'll include it on the school visits page as well.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Bold Ship shortlisted for the New Zealand Children's Book Awards


I'm so excited that The Bold Ship Phenomenal has been shortlisted for the 2016 New Zealand Children's Book Awards.

There are four other shortlisted titles in the junior fiction category. I've read most of them (and will set about reading the other) and am honoured to be listed alongside them.
  • David Hill - Enemy Camp
  • Kate De Goldi - From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle
  • Jane Bloomfield - Lily Max: Satin, Scissors, Frock
  • Stacy Gregg - The Girl Who Rode the Wind.



The awards ceremony is in August, and I'm feeling star-struck already. Many of the shortlisted authors from across all of the categories are my writing heroes.
Here's the awards shortlist.

And here's the judges' report.

And here are the lovely folk from Smartwork Creative who designed the book.

Three of the shortlisted books are their handy work, so they have every reason to feel pleased with themselves!