Best and Worst Books of 2009 tonight at Upper Riccarton

The Best and Worst Children’s Books of the Year event is being held at Upper Riccarton Library from 7:30-9pm tonight.  Come along to find out what the best and worst books were for children and young adults in 2009.  Guest speakers include author and ex-children’s librarian Bill Nagelkerke, children’s literature specialist from the National Library, Bob Docherty, and Sheila Sinclair from The Children’s Bookshop.  Refreshments will be available and someone will walk away with a Jenny Cooper original illustration which is being auctioned.  Come and join us for a fun and entertaining night.  You might even spot some christmas present ideas.

Ballantynes’ Fire November 18 1947

Today is the 62nd anniversary of the fire at the Ballantynes Department store in Christchurch. It was the worst fire in New Zealand’s history. Forty one people died and the resulting Royal Commission recommended urgent changes to the building regulations and fire prevention and firefighting throughout the country.

If you want to find out more about this tragic event, Christchurch City Libraries has a resource that features transcripts of articles from newspapers and other sources about the fire. It includes contemporary news reports.

The fire has also resonated with New Zealand fiction writers.  Deborah Challinor’s novel Fire is a historical romance based on the Ballantynes Fire, but set instead in Auckland 1953.

Christchurch writer Stevan Eldred-Grigg’s 1993 book Gardens of Fire is based on historical research and:

looks at the very ordinary lives of very conventional shop workers and customers, yet lifts those lives into tragedy and mystery.

The victims of the fire are buried in the Ruru Lawn Cemetery in Bromley.