Friday, December 13, 2013

Tasmin finds New Zealand

On this day in 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasmin was the first European to find New Zealand. We celebrate by looking at books that take place in New Zealand or were written by Kiwis. Annotations are from WorldCat.


The 10 PM Question by Kate DiGoldi. Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons has a head full of questions. Only Ma takes him seriously, but unfortunately she is the cause of the most worrying question of all, the one Frankie can never bring himself to ask. Then a new girl arrives at school with questions of her own: questions that make Frankie's carefully controlled world begin to unravel.

The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner. Two New Zealand teenagers receive a desperate SOS from their future selves and set out on a quest to stop an impending ecological disaster that could mean the end of humanity.

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera. As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor.


Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey. Eighteen-year-old New Zealand boarding school student Ellie Spencer must use her rusty tae kwon do skills and new-found magic to try to stop a fairy-like race of creatures from Maori myth and legend that is plotting to kill millions of humans in order to regain their lost immortality.

**Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe. Shortly after David's great uncle Felix comes to visit, everything seems to be turning red - rats, cats, hair, people! Has Uncle Felix caused this mayhem? Or does it have more to doe with the strange land of Axillaris, the setting of Uncle Felix's stories? Felix and the red rats is where fantasy and reality collide, a story filled with mystery, magic and riddles.

**K Road by Ted Dawe. Meet Jazz and Roxy and their mates, kids living on the edge. Jazz and Roxy are on the run, who try to climb out of their savagely cruel and subterranean existence. Their survival ticket is Jazz’s extraordinary musical talent; their love story heart-breaking. (Annotation edited from publisher's description)


**Cattra's Legacy by Anna Mackenzie. The story begins with 13-year-old Risha living a simple life in the mountains with her father. When her father suddenly dies, Risha is left alone, an outcast of her village. Disguised as a boy, Risha leaves the village with a group of traders, on a quest to find out the truth about her mother and her heritage. Here begins a grand sweeping adventure as Risha is caught up in dangerous pursuits, intrigue, trickery and betrayal. She is left for dead, confused by the actions of many, and is made to hide from those who wish her harm. She finds out by chance that she is Cattra’s daughter. Who is Cattra — and why do so many wish Risha harm? (Annotation from publisher's description)

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox. When sixteen-year-old Canny of the Pacific island, Southland, sets out on a trip with her stepbrother and his girlfriend, she finds herself drawn into enchanting Zarene Valley where the mysterious but dark seventeen-year-old Ghislain helps her to figure out her origins.

**When Our Jack Went to War by Sandy McKay. It’s 1917 and Jack enlists. And although 13-year-old Tom is envious of his elder brother, he soon changes his mind as the reality of war becomes more apparent. We follow Jack’s story through his letters home and through the eyes of his younger brother. Tom writes about life at home in New Zealand: living with Mum and their young sister, Amy, learning to hunt with his uncle, getting a puppy and learning to knit…for the war effort.Jack writes of his first-hand experience in Trentham, the troop ship, Britain, France, the Battle of Messines and finally, Passchendaele. (Annotation from publisher's description.)

** books are ones that aren't out yet the US in print, but are available as ebooks to American readers.

What are your favorite books from New Zealand?

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