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What's the Story August September 2010


ISSN 11750189: Volume 9: Issue 3: August / September 2010

A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up children without surrounding them with books.... Children learn to read being in the presence of books. ~ Heinrich Mann.


We send our love and thoughts to the Storylines family and children’s literature community in the Canterbury region.

This newsletter is (very nearly) all about the Storylines Festival!
We’ve all – nearly – recovered from the week and will start planning for next year’s in the next month or so.



From the Children’s Bookshop, Christchurch.

Reprinted, with permission, from Beattie’s Book Blog.  
Childrens_Bookshop_Christchurch_after_earthquake.jpgI’ve enclosed a  photo of inside The Children’s Bookshop. All the staff are safe and well as are their homes, but we have a little mess at work. There is plaster and dust everywhere, stock on the floor, some damaged and the walls are tumbling in places. We’re told it’s not structural, just in-fill, but all the same it’s unnerving – all the concrete blocks upstairs and down will have to come down and the walls rebuilt. That means that the shelving will have to come down, some of it is already damaged.
We have intermittent power and a leak that we think is a burst pipe, but on the whole we have come off really well, the building over the road is coming down! We have lost a couple of windows, but with a bit of plastic, we are now weather-proof (we hope). Because of the power uncertainty and threat of water, we have no computers at the moment, so if we offend anyone by not answering an email – sorry.
Please pass on our thanks to all those people who have sent messages wishing us well – we appreciate it. We haven’t had a chance as yet to contact other booksellers in Christchurch, but I’m sure that they too appreciate the support that we are receiving. When I have a chance I will put some earthquake pics up on our website so that only people who choose to will be bored by them – it’s going to be the new take on the holiday slide.
Mary Sangster
Office Manager
The Children’s Bookshop Ltd
87 Victoria St


The Storylines Festival round-up.


The 17th annual Storylines Festival of NZ Writers and Illustrators has again completed a whirlwind tour of New Zealand, reaching thousands of New Zealanders, young and old, to participate in and experience the diversity of New Zealand children’s literature. After a successful week of events, the Festival included a number of regional events, including the free Family Days, held in Wellington, Christchurch, Whangarei and Auckland, a Northland Story Tour visiting schools and early childhood centres in Dargaville and Whangarei, an Auckland Story Tour visiting over 70 schools in the six main ‘cities’ of Auckland, and numerous writing & illustration workshops in Auckland.

A full report will be posted soon on the Storylines website, so don’t forget to bookmark the home page.

To the Regional coordinators and their committees who inspired so many of the activities and performances for your local community to enjoy, thank you. From dressing up as a pirate, to creating art and crafts original pieces, your ideas have helped to 'cement' the importance of books and reading to children of all ages.
To the many participants who accepted the invitation to be part of the Festival this year, thank you for bringing your books to life for the many children who came along to meet and talk with you. You may have just inspired the next generation of New Zealand authors and illustrators.
To our sponsors, thank you for being part of the Festival and for your ongoing support
And to our multitude of volunteers throughout the country, who have donated their time (and patience) to ensure that the vast array of events ran smoothly THANK YOU. I hope that you also had fun.

Thanks for giving up your sleep-in on a Sunday morning; thanks for facing the nightmare of Auckland traffic at any time of the day; thanks for getting the brochures and information to the schools; thanks for pumping up the balloons and hanging them; thanks for painting the faces of the patient children; thanks for your smiles; thanks for preparing the food; thanks for answering the same question many times; and most of all thanks for your time. Without your support and generosity, many children would not have been given the chance to meet their favourite author, illustrator, storyteller or performer.
Your contribution - big and small - is greatly appreciated and the best part of all; we get to do it again next year.

If you would like to be a part of the Storylines Festival again next year, join your local regional committee or would like to experience the Festival for the first time, don’t forget to email us and become more involved in the Festival from 'behind the scenes'. Planning meetings for next year will begin soon.

Photos are currently being posted on the website, so keep a look out for photos from your regional events. Competition winning entries are now available to view on the Storylines website.

If you came to the Festival, then don’t forget to complete the online survey form and enter the draw for a book prize. Feedback ensures we know what you enjoyed and what you would like to see and do at future festival events. The book prize draw closes on Friday 10th September, with winners notified shortly afterwards.

I look forward to seeing you all again at next year’s Festival, August 2011, when we get to do it all over again.
Vicki Cunningham
Storylines Events Manager


Why do we it?

Feet_Up_For_Storylines_1.JPG Why do we spend so much time, effort and money running the Storylines Festival?
The answer isn’t books.  Much as we love them. After all, our goal is to promote the love of reading – and New Zealand’s children’s literature creators.
It is simple. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is people, it is people, it is people.
Narrowing it down even more – he tamariki – it is children.
We’ve had various surveys going on – volunteers, participants and audience – and here are a selection of comments.

From the Auckland Family Day volunteer team:

  • Helping the kids and being able to be involved with such a wholesome but fun day.
  • Seeing the kids excited about books and reading.
  • The atmosphere. There was such a "buzz"
  • I had a fantastic time. It was also great to watch how the children responded to authors and just pick up on the whole book 'buzz' feeling.
  • When the little girl I was facepainting looked in the mirror and screamed out AWESOME!
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the day - nice warm fuzzy feelings abounding. There was this little guy Stan from Onehunga who had to be a major highlight for me.
  • The best part of the day was the people.

What about the authors / illustrators / storytellers / performers…

  • It was huge fun. I write for adults as well, but Storylines has made me realise that writing for children is the very best job I could have!
  • Always huge fun – the kids are great, and it's always nice seeing old friends and making new ones, among the other writers/illustrators/performers and organisers/volunteers.
  • It was a fabulous day. I absolutely loved it. Loved seeing all those kids and not an XBox or iPod in sight.
  • What a terrific bunch of people you all are! Thanks so much, it was such a rewarding experience. And the kids LOVED it.
  • The feedback from the public on the day was very positive and there was a real buzz. Great to be surrounded by so many book enthusiasts.
  • I had a fantastic time. Really loved getting around the schools. It is not only rewarding for the children, it is very rewarding for me to get out and see the children, as well as be able to spend time with my peers.

And the audience?

  • We came to NZ five years ago, this is the fourth time that we have been to Storylines. We like Storylines family day because it is a day to celebrate with the authors who wrote the amazing books that we love to read and to also listen to them talking about stories.
  • To encourage my 4 yr old to want to read books. And to meet the illustrators of her favourite books. Seeing the process of how a book is started from a dummy book to its finished stage is amazing.
  • We all love books and love encouraging our daughter to read even more and the other fun activities provided make it a great family event. Thank you!
  • Have an 11 year old who loves reading, writing and illustrating and this is a fantastic forum to get to meet some of her favourite authors and illustrators and to get motivation from some of the people who she has met.
  • My 7 year old daughter wants to be an author and a librarian
  • A good day out for the family, Free, and a chance to hear and meet NZ Writers and Illustrators
  • I just wanted to comment that the 'illustrators' section of the Festival was fantastic! All the participating illustrators were engaging, really interactive with the kids and for our kids seeing them at work was the highlight.
  • This is a great free family event that encourages children to read and enjoy books and we hope that it will continue. Thank you
  • Storylines volunteers were fantastic, very helpful and the day ran very well.
  • My little brothers got told by his school and my mum kind of dragged me along with my sister [I’ve added this one for honesty value!]

For all of those who participated in the surveys – thank you! We will be taking your feedback on board.
See you next August!
Annie Coppell
Storylines Festival committee



Birthday party for Storylines Trust chair. Happy_birthday_Libby_1.JPG

Storylines Trustees, management committee members, visiting festival authors and friends came together for a dinner at the Heritage Hotel during Storylines Festival Week to mark the Big Seven-O birthday of Trust chairperson Dr Libby Limbrick.

She was presented with a bunch of 70 multi-coloured roses and a small attractive bronze miniature by Napier sculptor Anneke Bodde, Richmond Studios, depicting a girl sitting on the floor, engrossed in a book.

Long-time friend Tessa Duder spoke of Libby’s life as a laboratory technician, mother-of-three, mature tertiary student, academic and Principal Lecturer and Head of School of the Department of Arts, Languages and Literacies at the University of Auckland, where she is recognised as a leading New Zealand expert on literacy education, particularly of deaf children.Libbys_reading_girl_statue_1.JPG

Guests were reminded of Libby’s commitment to Storylines spanning nearly twenty years, serving as committee member and chair on the founding Children’s Book Foundation committee through the 1990s. Following the seven-year period of Wayne Mills’ chairmanship, she resumed a leadership role in 2005, becoming the Trust’s first chairperson.Libbys_Cake_1.JPG

‘Always, in whatever role, Libby is regarded as wise and inspirational, a notably safe pair of hands,’ said Tessa. ‘Storylines has been lucky to have the benefit of her passion for children’s reading and New Zealand literature, along with her many management skills.’
University colleague Helen Villiers presented Libby with a handmade and handsome ‘This is Your Life’ Big Book, and a cake featuring the Storylines logo.

Results from the Kids’ Lit Quiz World Final.

Edinburgh hosted the 2010 World Final as part of its annual Edinburgh Book Festival. I had never been to Edinburgh in summer and was amazed by the transformation of the city from 400 000 to 800 000. There was so much to do with the Book Festival, Fringe Festival and the Military Tattoo that I was spoilt for choice and can’t wait to go back and enjoy the events in a more leisurely way.

Mary Erskine and Stewart Melville Colleges jointly hosted the event, providing meals and accommodation. The final held in the auditorium began with bagpipes and a surprise visit from members of the New Zealand Army Band who performed a rousing haka. Alan Gibbons addressed the audience about the importance of libraries and then the quiz got under way The New Zealand team from Belmont Intermediate got off to a flying start but were slowly pulled back  and ended up in a credible third place. The competition was won by the team from England (The City of London School for Girls) followed by The Scottish team (Mary Erskine).

The international dinner followed the Final and the release of tension was palpable. Two after- dinner Scottish authors, Keith Gray and Nicola Morgan spoke to the large crowd of dinner guests who were enjoying their chicken stiffed haggis with whisky sauce. One student from each team spoke about his/her favourite book. I was so impressed because each speaker was so self assured and confident in what they had to say.

Throughout the week the students attended a formal civic reception hosted by the Lord Provost. Just prior to this I was taken to see the Dunedin Room and saw an original Peter McIntyre painting of Dunedin as well as other gifts from Dunedin to the Edinburgh Council. The Scottish organising committee had arranged a comprehensive programme which included a day at Lanark visiting the Robert Owen model village as well as walking tours around the city checking out sights such as the Robert Louis Stevenson bookshop the cemetery where Burke and hare disinterred graves to obtain bodies and the Sir Walter Scott monument.

The week went past in a flash but the memories will remain forever. For now though it is onwards to the 20th anniversary of the Kids’ Lit Quiz in the city where it all began, Hamilton, in July 2011.

Wayne Mills


Upcoming events around and about. 

Meet author Stephen Cole on his birthday!

Author Stephen Cole will be at Remuera Library on Saturday 11 September – his birthday! – to talk about, and read from his work. Find out more here

No Easy Options? Being a Writer in New Zealand: Imprints Conference 16 October 2010
Keynote Speakers: Emily Perkins, Steve Braunias and Christine Cole Catley
Chaired by Dr Mark Houlahan, University of Waikato

Three renowned New Zealand writers discuss the pros and cons of being a writer in Aotearoa: Is success possible in our small country or do we have to compromise what it means to be a New Zealand writer by publishing abroad? Are the dice loaded unfairly by publishers and booksellers against the writer who wants to write within a New Zealand culture for New Zealand writers? Is the market big enough and sufficiently proactive to sustain writers and pay them fairly for their work? This conference is brought to you in partnership with Tauranga Writers.
For more information, and to book, visit the University of Waikato information page

The NZ Transport Agency’s Feet First picture book competition is back.
To enter the 2010 picture book competition run by NZTA, a class must write and illustrate a picture book based on the theme of safe active travel. The winning entry will be professionally published as a picture book. Entries close 12 November 2010.

Schools can create their picture book on paper or in a digital format. The story can be fiction or non-fiction, serious or humorous – it’s up to the students to decide!

This is a wonderful opportunity to get students working collectively on a creative project that brings together reading, writing, visual language and art. At the same time, you can use the competition to promote active, healthy forms of travel.

The competition is open to classes in New Zealand schools registered with Feet First. The entering team can be either a whole class or a group within a class. Students must be in Years 1–8 to enter and the book should be written and illustrated for all New Zealand students to enjoy.

The prize for the winning entry:
Children’s writer Don Long and picture book illustrator Nikki Slade-Robinson will visit the winners to deliver a three-day workshop. They will work with the class or group on their picture book and help them prepare it for publication. The workshop will take place between 22 November and 3 December 2010.

Every student at the school of the winning class or group will receive a free copy of the book when it is published in Term 1 2011. A copy will also be sent to every primary school library in New Zealand. Feet First will also host a book launch event at the winning school.

For more information, visit The Feet First website  


Members Only.

Log on to our website using your existing membership number, or your newly reset password if you have already visited our new website, to view the latest booklist: Books in Translation. This is only accessible to members. If you wish to become a member, join here. If you have trouble logging on, contact our Membership Secretary to check your membership is up-to-date.
Are you interested in reviewing for the booklist? Find out how in this members' only page.


The Storylines Trust and Foundation together comprise New Zealand's only national organisation working year-round specifically to promote children's and young adult literature through an annual Festival in six regions, author awards, publications, advocacy and other activities ... 



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Storylines welcomes support for all its activities and events. Whether as sponsors or as volunteers for Festival events or task groups, your contribution (large or small) towards helping children grow up to love books and stories will be hugely valued ...