Celebrate NZ Book Month with some great children’s books

We have some amazing children’s and young adult’s authors and illustrators in New Zealand.  There are the legends like Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley, Pamela Allen and Gavin Bishop as well as some authors and illustrators that not so well known but will soon become household names.  For New Zealand Book Month I want to highlight some of my favourite New Zealand authors and illustrators, and shout about some brilliant new books that have been published recently.

A hilarious new picture book was launched at The Children’s Bookshop in Victoria St on Saturday, called The Wonky Donkey, with words and music by Craig Smith and illustrations by Katz Cowley.  Craig Smith is well known around Christchurch as a fantastic musician who performs a variety of popular music and writes and performs his own unique children’s songs.  We have his first CD Not Just for Kids in the library and I suggest you check it out.  As the title suggests, the songs aren’t just for kids, adults find them hilarious (myself included).  The Wonky Donkey is one of the best tracks on the CD and won the Children’s Song of the Year 2008 in the APRA Music Awards.  Craig, with the help of up-and-coming illustrator, Katz Cowley, has now turned this song into a picture book.  As you read through the book or listen to the song, you find out more about the Wonky Donkey, such as how he only has three legs and one eye, making him a winky wonky donkey.  Both the story and the illustrations are absolutely hilarious and are perfectly matched.  I’m sure it will be enjoyed by everyone.  It is also good to hear that Craig Smith is bringing out another children’s album next year with a new bunch of great songs and Craig and Katz will be collaborating again on another picture book of Craig’s song Wilby the Bumblebee.

Literary Christchurch

Christchurch Writers' TrailIn celebration of New Zealand Book Month, here are some useful resources on local literary luminaries:

Christchurch Writers’ Trail – The Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors laid 32 writer’s plaques in various parts of Christchurch. This booklet features brief writers’ biographies and photographs, and includes a map to help you find the plaques commemorating each writer.

Christchurch – The City in Literature edited by Anna Roger

Canterbury and Kaikoura – Aotearoa New Zealand Literary Map
Literary figures, literary locations and literary quotes from the Canterbury and Kaikoura region of the Aotearoa New Zealand Literary Map.

My New Zealand Book Month

A NZ Book Month Q & A:

Whose autobiography would you like to ghost write? Willie Apiata. Or Sharon O’Neill.

Hero of NZ Books? Graham ‘Bookman’ Beattie. Beattie’s Book Blog is essential reading for the NZ book lover.

What NZ Book are you reading? Séraphine Pick by Felicity Milburn et al. Beautifully spooky art and thoughtful intelligent writing is a killer combination.

My great NZ novel … would include locales of Gore, Reefton, and Papatoetoe, subjects of country music, the 1980s, and a character called Mhichael Lhaws.

What does New Zealand Book Month mean to you?? tell all!

Cookery, quizzes and Hairy Maclary – October is New Zealand Book Month

Our Voice, Our Choice, is the theme for New Zealand Book Month 2009 and it’s about communities getting involved and showcasing New Zealand literature on their own terms.

Here’s a couple of competitions to celebrate:
Edmonds locketEdmonds Cookbook Competition
Bring your Edmonds Cookbook to your local library during the month of October and enter the NZ Book Month Edmonds Cookbook Competition sponsored by Edmonds themselves! This iconic national favourite was also voted as the Christchurch non-fiction favourite which is why we are celebrating it during NZ Book Month. It doesn’t matter how old or new your cookbook is, there’s a category to fit.

Competition opens 1 October and closes 5pm Monday 19th October. But you can make a late entry on the day if you bring your cookbook to the special prize giving event at New Brighton library 11am on 23 October where local councillor Chrissie Williams awards prizes for the ‘Best-loved Edmonds Cookbook Competition’ and a local chef will do a cooking demonstration. Edmonds Cookbook Competition Entry form [322 Kb PDF]

Hairy MaclaryHairy Maclary Competition
Christchurch’s favourite children’s book for 2009 is Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy. To celebrate this achievement, we are giving away soft-toy replicas of Hairy Maclary characters to children who can prove that their pet deserves a prize!

Does your pet look or act like a character from Hairy Maclary? Do you think your pet is worthy of a prize? Kids ages 5 to 12 can enter our Hairy Maclary competition to win Hairy Maclary toys. Entry details.

Find out more about all the events, workshops, competitions and literary fun of New Zealand Book Month at Christchurch City Libraries.

Does your work place have a view? – Views and the Edmonds Cookbook

I’ve had quite a range of views at work. In 1980 my first work view was a front row seat to the Port of Lyttelton from the third floor Customshouse. Very useful for watching ships come and go, and the local denizens that serviced them. (Oh the stories I could tell if I wasn’t bound by the Official Secrets Act). The first time I boarded a Korean fishing boat was a bit of an eye opener. I think the tuna in a can have more room to move, than your average fisherman in his berth.

Then it was the third floor of the Government Life Building and I could watch Lady Di and Prince Charles shaking sweaty hands as they progressed towards the Cathedral service being held in their honeymoon honour.

The arrival hall at Christchurch International Airport wasn’t that picturesque, especially if it was a plane load of middle Americans in plaid pants who couldn’t understand the lack of porters!

By the 1990s my Linwood College classroom looked over the concrete quad – which wasn’t particularly inspiring.  But the corridor windows looked over Edmonds park. It was just a green rectangle – not exactly thrilling – unless you actually got down there and kept walking and found yourself in Edmonds gardens. They are all that is left of the Edmonds factory gardens – which I do remember well from my childhood.

They were beautiful all year round and complemented the cute little factory with the Sure to Rise sign. Now I am older and understand about Heritage I wish I had chained myself to the factory door and stopped it being demolished. Thomas Edmonds built the factory gardens for the edification of his workers, but it served a wider local community also. One of my favourite little trips as a school girl was to visit the Begonia House on my rusty old bike and peer around at the lush tropical wonders. The glasshouses dated back to 1929.

Built between 1920 – 23 Thomas took pains to make sure the new factory was light and airy and any fumes or dust were filtered away from the workers. He was influenced by the British Garden City Movement which tried to neutralise some of the social problems which accompanied nineteenth century  industrialization. So he commissioned garden professionals to design a workplace view that became a model to inspire other factory and business owners.

And it seems that Christchurch itself has a soft spot in its heart for the Edmonds Cookbook. It has been voted Christchurch readers’ favourite  NZ non-fiction title. First published in 1914,  the original version can be viewed online and the ANZC collection here at Christchurch City Libraries has original images to view.

In fact, it was only when I discovered the Heritage booklet on the library website about Thomas Edmonds and his legacy to Christchurch that I fully understood his amazing contribution to my city. Even though he died about the time that my mother was being born, and the factory was demolished in 1990; and the Edmonds brand is now part of some bigger food conglomerate; his hand is still in evidence in: the Theosophical Society Building, Repertory Theatre, band rotunda, Victoria Clock Tower and Telephone Cabinet, and Bickerton Reserve.

You can be a part of this legacy by finding your Edmonds Cookbook and entering our NZ Book Month competition. Fill in an entry form and hand in your cookbook to your local library. There are four different categories – oldest publishing date, most annotated, the virgin copy and write a story about an adventure you have had with your Edmonds Cook Book. You could win a new one or a designer necklace.