Remembering our most colourful author: Margaret Mahy

23 July marks the 5th anniversary of the passing of one of Christchurch’s most famous locals, Margaret Mahy.

Image result for margaret mahy glenda randerson
Portrait of Margaret Mahy by Glenda Randerson Christchurch City Libraries

One of New Zealand’s most prolific writers for children and young adults, Margaret’s writing has touched lives over many generations. Her stories and poems are full of magic and fun with a moral tale in the weaving.

Many of her tales have been brought to the the screen. The Changeover, filmed locally, will be released on film on 28 September 2017.

It’s hard to pick a favourite. Down the Back of the Chair comes to mind, followed closely by The Great White Man Eating Shark. Kaitangata Twitch and Maddigan’s Quest are a great stories for Young Adults, both made into TV Series.

Cover of Down the back of the chair Cover of The great white man-eating shark Cover of Kaitangata Twitch

Margaret Mahy has been an inspiration to writers. She established a retreat for authors in Governor’s Bay, and in her video A Tall Long Faced Tale she tells how publishers would often ask her to rewrite a story up to eleven times! Take note.

The Margaret Mahy Family Playground on 177 Armagh Street won an NZILA Award of Excellence for 2017.

I was lucky enough to meet Margaret at the 100th anniversary of the New Zealand School Journal. There she was, in her famous rainbow wig, for all the world holding court at the National Library of Wellington. She signed my journal. I’ll never forget it.

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Fast Five with Nadia Wheatley

There are some wonderful authors and illustrators for children who are coming to Auckland in August as part of the 2016 IBBY Congress. You can read all about who we are excited to meet in our post about the IBBY Congress here on the blog. We approached some of the speakers and asked them a few questions about books and libraries.

Today’s featured speaker is Australian author Nadia Wheatley:

What are you most looking forward to when you visit New Zealand for the 2016 IBBY Congress?

Meeting fellow authors, illustrators, readers and book-lovers from around the world.

What is your favourite memory of libraries?

I don’t have early memories of going to libraries and borrowing books because when I was growing up in the 1950s there weren’t many municipal libraries in Australia, and my school didn’t have a library until towards the end of my secondary years. However, my mother’s best friend from her childhood was the librarian in charge of a major library in the centre of Sydney, and sometimes we would pay her a visit when we went into town. Although my mother had been a nurse and she had many nursing colleagues who were still working, this librarian was the first woman I knew who had a professional office job. I always loved going to the library and seeing Auntie O (as I called her) sitting behind a big desk, surrounded by books.

What are 5 of your favourite books?

Impossible to choose only five favourite books, but here are some, in the order I read them:

Cover of Pippi LongstockingPippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren): This book provided a model of a happy orphan when my mother died, when I was nine years old.

Middlemarch (George Eliot): This was our set text in English when I was fifteen. I think it was the first really grown-up book I read.

Cover of The making of the English working classThe Making of the English Working Class (E.P. Thompson): I read this in 1968, when I was getting involved in radical politics. It helped me decide to become a historian.

The Member of the Wedding (Carson McCullers): My favourite book about what it means to be a misfit.

The Vivisector (Patrick White): My favourite book about about what it means to be an artist.

What do you love most about the world of children’s literature?

The friendship of my fellow book-makers and book-lovers.

What do you believe is the most important thing that adults can do to encourage children to read?

My general advice would be to read aloud to children, even when they are able to read for themselves. I also think of a phrase used by British novelist and critic, Aiden Chambers. He referred to what he called ‘the enabling adult’: the person (parent, teacher, librarian, friend) who introduces a particular book to a child, and helps her find her way into it. I remember that Aiden also once said to me that every time we read a new book, we need to learn how to read it. I think some wonderful books do need someone to introduce them to their readership.


Fast Five with Gavin Bishop

There are some wonderful authors and illustrators for children who are coming to Auckland in August as part of the 2016 IBBY Congress. You can read all about who we are excited to meet in our post about the IBBY Congress here on the blog. We approached some of the speakers and asked them a few questions about books and libraries.

Gavin BishopToday’s featured speaker is award-winning New Zealand author Gavin Bishop:

What are you most looking forward to when you visit New Zealand for the 2016 IBBY Congress?

I have been privileged to visit many other countries to talk about my work and have always been looked after well. It is my turn now to make the visitors to the New Zealand IBBY Congress feel welcome. I have also been involved through the Painted Stories Trust with mounting an exhibition of NZ illustration for the IBBY Congress. This will be an exciting show featuring 20 of our top illustrators.

What is your favourite memory of libraries?

I love to visit a library with no idea in my mind of what I want to read. I wander along the shelves waiting for something to catch my eye. Suddenly a title, or a particular cover design shouts at me. This is one I will take out to read today.

Cover of Snake and lizardWhat are 5 of your favourite books?

  1. Moa by Quinn Berentson
  2. Cole’s Funny Picture Book No 1
  3. Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley
  4. The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
  5. The Cleaner by Paul Cleave. A thriller set in Christchurch. Rather nasty but exciting and not for children.

What do you love most about the world of children’s literature?

I enjoy the support you get as a writer for children. The world of children’s literature is a very encouraging and nurturing one on the whole.

What do you believe is the most important thing that adults can do to encourage children to read?

Read to them from the time they are babies. Make books part of their lives. Throw books into the toy box or into the doll’s pram or the back of a trike.


Kōrerorero mai – Join the conversation

Fast Five with Leigh Hobbs

There are some wonderful authors and illustrators for children who are coming to Auckland in August as part of the 2016 IBBY Congress. You can read all about who we are excited to meet in our post about the IBBY Congress here on the blog. We approached some of the speakers and asked them a few questions about books and libraries.

Today’s featured speaker is the current Australian Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs:

What are you most looking forward to when you visit New Zealand for the 2016 IBBY Congress?

I’m looking forward to meeting others as involved and enthusiastic about the world of children’s books as I am.

What is your favourite memory of libraries?

My favourite memory of Libraries is as a sort of safe haven when I was a child at school, where I could pore over books to ‘my hearts content’ – as they say…

What are 5 of your favourite books?

My favourite books are:

What do you love most about the world of children’s literature?

What I love most about the world of children’s Literature is feeling that I am, to a small degree,  a contributor to that wonderful unbridled world which is the child’s imagination.

What do you believe is the most important thing that adults can do to encourage children to read?

I think the most important thing that adults can do to encourage a child to read is to expose them to a broad range of books, not just ‘story books’, or ‘children’s books’.


Fast Five with Ursula Dubosarsky

There are some wonderful authors and illustrators for children who are coming to Auckland in August as part of the 2016 IBBY Congress. You can read all about who we are excited to meet in our post about the IBBY Congress here on the blog. We approached some of the speakers and asked them a few questions about books and libraries.

Today’s featured speaker is Australian author Ursula Dubosarsky:

What are you most looking forward to when you visit New Zealand for the 2016 IBBY Congress?

Spending time with book lovers, readers, writers, listening to the presentations in all their glittering variety!  – and catching up with old friends especially.

What is your favourite memory of libraries?

The local library always felt to me like another room in my home – as I child I felt it was a place I belonged, without question. Just walking into the library made me feel excited, thinking of all the things inside that I would soon be able to take off the shelf to take home and read.

What are 5 of your favourite books?

Cover of An episode of sparrowsAn Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden (children’s novel)

Come by Chance by Madeleine Winch (picture book)

Washington Square by Henry James (adult novel)

Horizon by Patrick Modiano (adult novel)

Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (adult novel)

What do you love most about the world of children’s literature?

Too hard a question! I can’t extricate the world of children’s literature from my personality…

What do you believe is the most important thing that adults can do to encourage children to read?

Well to be perfectly honest I would say TAKE THEM TO THE LIBRARY. That’s how a child will become a reader. No child is going to become a reader by being given a book as a present from time to time – they will become a reader by massive exposure to all kinds of books, which is only possible really in a library. Go into the library every week, let the child pick three or four books themselves, then you pick a few too. Then take them home and READ them. Some the child will like, some they won’t like. That’s the whole idea – by reading and loving or reading and discarding a wide variety of books they will develop their own taste, a sense of judgement, a knowledge of what books can do. I am a total public library FREAK, frankly. (!)


Fast Five with Kate De Goldi

There are some wonderful authors and illustrators for children who are coming to Auckland in August as part of the 2016 IBBY Congress. You can read all about who we are excited to meet in our post about the IBBY Congress here on the blog. We approached some of the speakers and asked them a few questions about books and libraries.

Kate De GoldiThe first featured speaker is award-winning New Zealand author Kate De Goldi:

What are you most looking forward to when you visit New Zealand for the 2016 IBBY Congress?

I’m looking forward very much to hearing a range of speakers from different literary communities and cultures – hearing about the strengths and deficits in their communities in terms of bringing children and books together. It’s a rare opportunity to hear a number of commentators who have immersed themselves in children’s literature and the reading life of children, so there’s sure to be much to learn.

What is your favourite memory of libraries?

My ur-library was the old Christchurch City Library on the corner of Hereford Street and Oxford Terrace. I spent countless hours there as a child and learned the great pleasure of browsing the shelves, finding old, loved books to reread, but always happening on something new, too, which would often take my reading in another direction. For me, still, there is nothing to rival the pleasure of an unhurried browse of library shelves and a tall pile of books gathered to take home from the library.

Entrance, old Library
Entrance, old Library [1970s] Flickr File Reference: CCL-150-T-028

Perhaps my favourite memory of that old library was the upstairs reading room where I often took myself (instead of to school) during my seventh form year – and read all manner of unexpected things. In my memory that time and space is associated with intellectual expansion and wonderment – but also a sense of security and uninterrupted self-directed learning.

For the last twenty years the Wellington libraries have been my favourite city spaces, particularly Wellington Central. I have never lost the feeling of cresting excitement when I walk through the automatic doors and into that fabulous abundance of books, of unending potential…

What are 5 of your favourite books?

I read very widely in adult literature and have many favourites, but I’ll confine myself to children’s books for this. These five books are ones I frequently re-read – my criteria for a favourite book.

1.      cover of Ounce, dice, triceOunce, dice, trice by Alistair Reid; drawings by Ben Shahn. The New York Review Children’s Collection.

This book is like a visit to a glorious circus – where words dance, fly, juggle and tumble. It’s a celebration of the wildness and wonder of language at play.

2.      Cover of FrederickFrederick by Leo Lionni; Dragonfly Books

I love all Leo Lionni’s work but especially this timeless fable about the great importance of those who – while seeming idle – are closely observing the world, then giving it back to us as poetry

3.      Cover of The red shoeThe Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky; Allen & Unwin

I admire Dubosarsky’s work enormously. This is an eerie modern fairytale in which a family three sisters watch – and often misinterpret – the strange goings-on between the important adults in their life. Viewed through the eyes of six year old Matilda, this haunting story reminds us how very differently the young see the world unfolding around them.

4.     Cover of The one and only IvanThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate; HarperCollins

A life-changing book: Ivan, a silverback gorilla, narrates the story of his captivity and work in a circus mall; with tender voice and images of great beauty, he helps the reader to understand properly the nobility of all living creatures, and the urgent need for kindness to the most vulnerable.

5.      Cover of The other side of silenceThe other side of silence by Margaret Mahy; HarperCollins

I think this is the greatest of Mahy’s many splendid novels. Using the elements of a lesser known Grimm tale, ‘Jorinda and Jorindel’ – thick forest, old castle, shape-changing witch, innocent maiden, adventurous young man, captive birds – Mahy weaves a profound and moving – and thoroughly contemporary – story about the riddle of parenting, the manipulation of children, the vanity attendant on talent, the complex responsibilities of the writer, the frailties and possibilities inherent in being human. Somewhere in the RNZ archive there is a most wonderful audio of Bronwyn Bradley reading the book aloud.

What do you love most about the world of children’s literature?

I greatly value a body of literature that has the young eye at the heart of its story telling and exploration of language. It is so good to be reminded again and again (as an adult) what it is like to be new to the world, to be decoding everything around you in order to understand what it is to be human. I deeply appreciate, too, that the very best of children’s writers deepen and expand the form in which they work, offering subtle, nuanced, complex literature to young readers, a literature where story, character, language and moral complexity is rendered as artfully as in any literary form. Many people immersed in the world of children’s literature – writers, critics, academics, readers – have an acute recall of what it is like to be a child. It is not that they are arrested developmentally, more that this part of life is still very present to them, so that their young eye is still working to a high level. I really like meeting people like that!

What you believe is the most important thing that adults can do to encourage children to read?

I think reading oneself – ie, modeling reading to the ever-alert child – is a fundamental requirement. You are demonstrating to children that a fully rounded life includes an sustained reading life.

I think reading aloud to children as far into their school years as possible is very important too. It can tide them over their own reading humps or resistances and bring them to more and more sophisticated story.

Thirdly, ensuring that the local library is a regular and enjoyable part of a child’s life – allowing them to feel that the library is a second home – an astonishing resource in their lives, allowing them to experience the unhurried pleasure of browsing and taking risks with books, allowing them to make friends with librarians. It’s good to own books, of course (if you are able) – particularly for re-reading which I think is an important part of a reading life. But the library’s resources are deeper and more vast than any bookshop’s so it’s an even more important place for the reading life.

Lastly, I would suggest that we need to listen to what our children’s reading interests really are – and validate them, while continuing to provide a range of possibilities. A Lego instruction sheet is a reading experience. A picture book is always a good thing no matter your age. And there’s always room for airheaded series books, too. A thorough reading life for a child will always have dross as well as pearls.


Sharon Holt: Teaching a taonga

For a number of years now a teacher turned writer named Sharon Holt has been producing a series of te reo Māori singalong books for children. These beautifully illustrated stories show Kiwi kids at play and offer an opportunity for children, teachers and parents to increase their te reo Māori skills through story and music.

Sharon Holt
Author Sharon Holt, Image supplied.

Holt is one of a number of children’s authors taking part in Family Day at the Auckland Writers Festival, where she’ll be giving a bilingual read and singalong session of her popular Matariki book.

I asked her some questions about what got her interested in writing these sorts of books and why te reo Māori is important for New Zealanders to learn.

First off, I love your books. They fill such a gap in terms of what’s available in te reo Māori for kids. Was that part of the motivation in writing them?

Yes, my main motivation was to fill that gap. I was already a children’s author of educational and trade books in English when I started learning te reo Māori at a Te Wānanga o Aotearoa course in 2002. I knew nothing of the Māori language before that first night class, but fell in love with it and started practising my basic sentences on the children in the kindergartens and primary schools where I was a relief teacher.

Cover of Whai maiI quickly found out that most teachers in English medium schools lacked confidence in using te reo beyond a few greetings, commands, colours and numbers. They were unsure of their pronunciation and didn’t know how to move forward with that.

And there were very few resources that were actually easy for them to use to help with learning and teaching te reo – despite the expectation from the Ministry of Education that they be doing that to some degree… So, yes, I spotted a gap, and had a sense that I had the skills and background to work out how to fill that gap.

I really enjoy that fact that your Te Reo Singalong series includes so much extra material including a CD, English translation, guitar chords, and ideas for parents as to how to build on what’s in the book – it’s a whole package deal. I assume that this is where having a background in teaching really pays off?

Yes, your assumption is correct! Once a teacher, always a teacher is a bit of a mantra for me. The reason for the singalong CD in each book is because I had to find a way to help teachers see this as a very easy and fun resource to use – even if they were clueless about te reo pronunciation. So I thought that turning the book into a song would achieve that and make it easy for teachers and children alike. Basically, the teachers wouldn’t have to pronounce the words to start with – they could let the singers do that, and catch on over time, learning alongside the children.

Cover of He aha tēneiWhen I started working on this idea in about 2004, there weren’t anywhere near as many children’s singalong books with CDs as there are now. There were a few, but this genre has really taken off now. I also knew enough about language learning to know that adding song to a language aids the learning process immensely. So it was a no brainer.

The English translation as a separate entity in the book is deliberate. I wanted the English translation there, for sure. However, I didn’t want it on each page…I thought it would spoil the look of the page, having too many words. I wanted the illustrations to tell the story and to be gorgeous.

Also, I know teachers and I knew they would just look at the English if it was there and never really listen and try to sing the Māori words and sentences.

Lastly, there’s no need for the English to be on each page, because the books use repetitive sentence structures. In most books, there’s only one or two change out words on each page. So once you’ve looked at the English translation once or twice, you know what the structure is and you can figure out the meaning from the pictures.

I actually trained as a teacher in the 70s and taught full time for only two years in the early 80s. I then left to train and work as a journalist because writing was what I really wanted to do. However, those early years of training and working with children, as well as having my own two children, certainly helped me to understand what this resource could look like.


I like that your books are about things that kids are genuinely interested in, playing at the park, dressing up, animals, different modes of transport – is it difficult as an adult to get into mindset of a child for the purposes of writing?

Cover of Mahi tahiI guess most children’s authors have a natural connection to their own childhood experiences, although that’s not really where I get my ideas from. I think it’s mainly my memories of the things our children loved when they were young, my memories of what children loved in kindergarten and junior primary from my experience as a teacher, relief teacher and parent and my general knowledge of the things that children enjoy – which is pretty easy to work out if you really think about it. Sometimes the ideas come from things teachers ask me to include in the books i.e wanting something to go with the Waitangi week theme.

I have a file of ideas for future books and sometimes I talk to teachers about the ideas to see which ones the children they work with will enjoy the most. In terms of the mindset of children, it’s also largely to do with the colourful and realistic illustrations that help to tell the story, as well as the catchy tunes to help them learn the words – and the sound effects in some of the books help that too!

Why is it important, do you think, for Kiwis, young and old, to have some te reo Māori skills?

  1. Te reo is an official language of New Zealand.
  2. Te reo is a taonga.
  3. It’s a matter of showing respect for the people, the language and the land.
  4. If we live here, we are immersed in things Māori whether we like it or not, because it’s a spiritual language and culture and they were here before us.
  5. Many of our place names, flora and fauna are Māori words which deserve to be pronounced correctly.
  6. If all New Zealanders pronounced our place names correctly, I absolutely believe that this nation would be a hugely different place. The land would flourish, the language would flourish, the Māori culture and people would flourish – and people who currently feel at odds with society would feel they belong and that their heritage is respected as a taonga.
  7. I’m not talking about a call for everyone to be fluent – I’m not! I’m talking about respecting the reo enough to pronounce it correctly, instead of harking back to old habits. As an example, in our classrooms, almost all teachers will make huge efforts to pronounce the name of a Māori child correctly. However, if that Māori name is also the name of a place, they would inevitably pronounce it incorrectly. That’s ridiculous.
  8. I believe we are one government decision and one generation away from having a bilingual nation. I absolutely hope I see that decision made in my lifetime. Why wouldn’t you do that? Look at at the rest of the world and the number of languages children grow up with.
  9. It’s common knowledge that children have the capacity to learn another language from a very young age. I believe we are doing our Kiwi children an immense disservice by not bringing them up bilingual.
  10. It’s also common knowledge that being bilingual or multi-lingual increases the brain’s capacity in numerous other ways. I can’t think of any reason for New Zealand to not embrace bilingualism – apart from the government saying there wouldn’t be enough teachers who could teach it. Well, hello! They’ve been saying that for umpteen years. During those years, they could have trained all the teachers they needed and given a whole lot of Māori young people a purpose and a goal and a reason to love being Māori. Here endeth the sermon.

Have you ever wanted to write a book aimed at an adult audience, and if so what would it be about?

I am planning to write a couple of adult books when I find the time. One will be about my story (sort of a memoir perhaps). The other will be about my thoughts and views on why New Zealand should be bilingual. *see the previous rant!!!!

How have libraries featured in your life?

Cover of Kōrero maiAs a child I spent many many happy hours in the public library where I grew up in Glen Innes, Auckland. I also loved our school library. We were a relatively poor family so we didn’t have very many books of our own in the house. However, I loved the fact that by being a member of my local library I had access to every book I could ever want or need.

I loved reading from a young age, and taught myself to read before I ever went to school. In the school holidays, I was quite a geeky person throughout my childhood as the library was my haven. From the moment my first child was born, I would always have the maximum number of books out from the local library!

We read and read all the time. Reading aloud to children is crucial and I thoroughly enjoyed reading aloud to my children, from library books and the books our family and friends gave them as gifts. As a result, my two children are very good natural writers, because their vocabulary and sentence structure has been gifted to them from a love of reading books.

As an adult, from time to time I wished I had trained as a librarian. When we moved to Hamilton so our children could go to high schools there, I started working part time at Hillcrest Library which was 5 minutes walk from our home! I didn’t train as a librarian but I loved my time there, surrounded by books.

A library is my favourite place to be. I feel safe and surrounded by happiness when I am in a library. When we bought our house in Te Aroha I joined the library before we had actually moved here! If I could choose any fantasy place to live in the world, it would be in a library!

What was the last book you really enjoyed or what book would you recommend as a good read?

Cover of The miraculous journey of Edward TulaneMy favourite children’s book is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Di Camillo and I would recommend it to any child or adult. As far as adult books go, I really only read biographies now. I have read a lot of great biographies and one of my favourites is The Oarsome Adventures of a Fat Boy Rower by Kevin Biggar. It’s hilarious.

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Stig @ the Library comes to Christchurch

Kids at Queenspark School were super lucky to get visit from a rock star this week. Stig Wemyss, one of the most popular narrators of audio books for kids, visited the school as part of his ‘Stig at the Library’ NZ tour.

Stig Wemyss is an actor, writer and the voice behind heaps of children’s audio books.  If you have borrowed kid’s audiobooks from the library before you’re almost certain to have heard him read you a story that had you laughing out loud. He has narrated stories by the funniest authors around, including Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths.

Stig Wemyss at Queenspark School
Stig Wemyss at Queenspark School

According to Stig, narrators are the ‘rock stars of kids books,’ and he certainly showed us why. He treated the kids of Queenspark School to an hour of silliness and laughter.  He showed us what it takes to be a narrator and got heaps of the kids up the front with him to try his audition techniques.

He read one of Andy Griffith’s short stories from his book Just Stupid and had everyone engrossed in the story. It is no wonder that Stig is so popular because he is a natural performer who brings Andy Griffiths’ and Paul Jennings’ crazy, silly, hilarious stories to life.

Stig has been touring NZ to promote Borrow Box, a great new eResource that libraries around the country, including Christchurch City Libraries, now have available for customers.

Borrow box logoWith Borrow Box you can borrow and download eAudiobooks to your computer or mobile device whenever you like, wherever you like. There are heaps of eAudiobooks to choose from, including books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, Jacqueline Wilson, Enid Blyton, Morris Gleitzman and Jackie French.

Check out Borrow Box now and download an eAudiobook read by Stig Wemyss.  I guarantee it will have you laughing out loud.

The Secret Lives of New Zealand Children’s Authors

Which New Zealand illustrator often gets chocolate on her artwork? Which New Zealand author once wet her pants in fright? Whose nickname is Giggleswick? Who loves to eat strawberry sandwiches? You can find out the answer to all of these questions in our New Zealand Children’s Author pages.

In our New Zealand Children’s Author pages we have interviews with New Zealand children’s authors and illustrators.  You can find out their favourite foods and authors, embarrassing moments, nicknames, what they were like at school and much more.  You’ll find interviews with authors like Margaret Mahy, Des Hunt, Elizabeth Pulford and Melinda Szymanik.  Some of our featured authors have even written short stories that you can read anywhere, anytime.  There is Giant Jimmy Jones by Gavin Bishop, The McGoodys by Joy Cowley, and It’s Quackers Around Here by Maria Gill.

We’ve added two more interviews recently, with R.L. Stedman (author of A Necklace of Souls) and Sue Copsey (author of The Ghosts of Tarawera).

This week we are celebrating New Zealand Book Week so there is no better time to check out these fun, entertaining interviews with some of our wonderful New Zealand authors and illustrators.

Festival made accessible

Catalogue search for Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami in audiobook formatAbout now you may be wondering what happened to your good intentions of reading all those interesting books by those fascinating authors you heard about at WORD Christchurch or missed out on hearing at Auckland Writers Festival. Never fear, a solution is near!

Listen to your festival favourites

You may have not enough hours in the day to sit by the fire and read your fill of festival authors but help is at hand. You need not miss out on this year’s Auckland festival headliner Haruki Murakami. Try listening to his work in an audiobook. We have him available in downloadable audiobook from Overdrive and on CD.

Catalogue search for Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world by Haruki Murakami i n audiobook formatFill in your spare moments on the bus or in the car, or while you vacuum the house, rake the leaves or paint the fence, or while exercising the dog or yourself by listening to an audiobook. If you have had a particularly tiring day and find you’re too tired to read, rather than turning on the television, snuggle up in a chair with an audiobook and soon you will be relaxed. Having trouble sleeping? My mother swears by lulling English voices as a sure-fire cure for insomnia.

Often audiobooks and large print titles have no reserve list so while others are waiting for a print edition, get ahead of the crowd. Better still, even if there is a wait list downloadable audiobooks on Overdrive do not have a reserve charge.

Catalogue search for H is for Hawke by Helen MacDonald in audiobook formatOverdrive is one of our suppliers of audiobooks and ebooks. You can find all their titles in our catalogue.

As well as Murakami, you might also try Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri whose novel The Age of Magic has been newly released and is available on CD. Sometimes the CD format can be limiting as it requires you to be stationary. Happily we have Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk as an ISIS audiobook that is a clever format which you can download to your laptop and transfer to your MP3 player, freeing you up to listen to it anywhere.

The thousand autumns of Joseph de Zoet in audiobook formatA standout from Word Christchurch was the charming David Mitchell. Your ears can ring with the sounds and atmosphere of old Japan listening to his exotic enthralling tale The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet on CD.



Large print – easy to read!

If reading is difficult at night when the light is bad, or because you struggle with print at the end of a tiring day spent staring at a computer screen, large print may be the answer! Why not try David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green or The Thousand Autumn’s of Joseph de Zoet or Xinran’s touching Miss Chopsticks.

Walliams in audio and large print formats

Book cover for Demon Dentist by David Walliams in Playaway formatNothing like a bedtime story so why not borrow one of our children’s titles by the hit author David Walliams in an audiobook format to lull your darlings to sleep? We have audiobooks on CD, preloaded mp3 players, and downloadable audiobooks for your enjoyment.

If you have a child who is yet to find their stride with reading a wonderful way to introduce the love of books is by reading along to an audiobook so why not borrow the book and the audiobook together? We have Demon Dentist as a Playaway, a preloaded audiobook in its own wee player. All you or your child has to do is press play and you can carry it around with you. Ideal for children who are always on the move.

If small print is an obstacle try these David Walliams titles in large print.

Catalogue search for Mr Stink by David Walliams in large printCatalogue search for Ratburger by David Walliams in large print formatThe boy in the dress by David Walliams in Large Print format

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