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What's the Story? February 2012


ISSN 11750189: Volume 11: Issue 1: February 2012.

'There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.' ~ Jacqueline Kennedy.



Congratulations Fleur Beale! 2012 Storylines Margaret Mahy Award winner. 

Fleur BealeThe Storylines Margaret Mahy Award, given annually by the Storylines Children's Literature Trust, is New Zealand's top award for achievement in children's literature.

Fleur Beale's books have won her a large following among young readers,’ says Storylines Trust chair, Dr Libby Limbrick. ‘Since her first book Slide the Corner in 1993 she has published a significant body of more than thirty works of fiction. Many have been shortlisted for awards, with her more recent books, such as the Esther Glenn winner Juno of Taris and 2011 New Zealand Post Senior Fiction winner Fierce September, taking top prizes.’

A former secondary school teacher in Hamilton, Fleur Beale is also widely known as a popular creative writing teacher and mentor to young and new writers. She regular visits schools for the New Zealand Book Council. She has two adult daughters.

Her 30 books, many published in America and England, include the classic I am Not Esther, winner of the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book.

The Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal was instituted in 1991. Among its recipients have been writers Joy Cowley, William Taylor, Maurice Gee, David Hill and Kate De Goldi, publisher Ann Mallinson and writer/illustrators Gavin Bishop and Lynley Dodd.

Fleur Beale will deliver her Mahy Lecture and the Storylines’ annual Margaret Mahy Day being held in Auckland on Saturday 31 March 2012.
Fleur Beale is available for interview by arrangement. To arrange interview or for more information, please contact: Storylines Administrator Vicki Cunningham.

If you want to listen to Fleur’s speech… then come along to the Storylines Margaret Mahy Day and AGM on Saturday 31 March from 9am.
Details are available here.



Waikato CLA AGM and Big Kids' Lit Quiz.

The Waikato Children’s Literature Association Inc .invites you to attend their AGM and The Big Kids' Lit Quiz.
When: Wednesday 15 February, 6.00pm.
Where: Southwell School Library 200 Peachgrove Road, Hamilton (dinner $15 per person).
Followed at 7.30pm by…

The Big Kids’ Lit Quiz Entry: $10 per person/teams of 4.

This is a fundraising quiz for adults, with questions about children’s literature.  Proceeds will go to sponsor a table at the International Gala Dinner following the July 2012 Kids’ Lit Quiz World Final. 

Please RSVP with numbers by 12 February to Gerri Judkins.  


Book Yak at Epsom.

For the past year at the University of Auckland, Faculty of Education Campus in Epsom, Auckland, some keen education librarians have run a very informal monthly gathering to share the joys of children’s literature.  Book Yak, run in the Sylvia Ashton-Warner Library on the second Wednesday of each month (except December and January), is a chance to chat, laugh and share new books, old books, controversial books, anything relating to books for children and young adults. 

Usually there is a theme and you can bring along some books to share that you think fit in to that theme, or you can simply bring a book along that you think is worth sharing! Suggestions for themes are always welcome. Every fourth Book Yak is themed What’s New – a chance to drool over the new books that have arrived in the Sylvia Ashton-Warner Library. 

There is no commitment to attend each month, or to come for the whole session. Feel free to come and join us – the times are approximate – we sometimes finish earlier or later than the times given.   The best place to park would be Gate 2 student car park on Epsom Avenue.

Venue:  Library Seminar Room, Level 2, Sylvia Ashton-Warner Library, 74 Epsom Avenue, Auckland
Bring: yourself and any books you’d like to share.
Times for 2012:

  • Wednesday 8 February: 12.30-1.15: What’s New.
  • Wednesday 14 March: 12.30-1.15: Theme to be decided.
  • Wednesday 11 April: 12.30-1.15: Theme to be decided.
  • Wednesday 9 May: 12.30-1.15: What’s New.
  • Wednesday 13 June: 12.30-1.15: Theme to be decided.
  • Wednesday 11 July: 12.30-1.15: Theme to be decided.
  • Wednesday 8 August: 12.30-1.15: What’s New.
  • Wednesday 12 September: 12.30-1.15: Theme to be decided.
  • Wednesday 10 October: 12.30-1.15: Theme to be decided.
  • Wednesday 14 November: 12.30-1.15: What’s New.

If you have any questions feel free to contact Helen O’Carroll or Tricia Bingham, or phone 09 373 7599 ext. 48943 / ext.48611.
We look forward to seeing you.


19th Annual Storylines Festival. Book your diary now!

Dates for your diary for the 2012 Free Family Days are:

  • Saturday 18th August – Dunedin Family Day. 
  • Sunday 19th August – Wellington and Christchurch Family Days.
  • Monday 20th – Friday 24 August – Auckland Story Tour.
  • Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th August – Northland Story Tour.
  • Saturday 25th August – Northland Family Day and Auckland Workshops.
  • Sunday 26th August – Auckland Family Day.

News around and about:

Congratulations Robyn Bargh, Managing Director of Huia Publisher, on becoming a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in the New Year’s Honours List 2012. Found out more on the Booksellers New Zealand site.

Creative New Zealand is calling for applications from New Zealand fiction and non-fiction writers, poets and playwrights to take part in the renowned University of Iowa International Writing Program in the United States.

The result of a 20-year partnership between Creative New Zealand and the university,  the three-month residency is an opportunity for writers to participate in a programme which has hosted more than 1400 writers from a 140 countries since its inception in 1967.

Emerging or established writers, with a publishing track record, will have time to work on an approved project and take part in literary activities, field trips and excursions with other writers from all over the world.

New Zealand’s 2010 recipient writer David Hill described the programme as a ‘writer’s paradise’. ‘For three months I was able to write in a state of financial security, intellectual stimulation and professional collegiality.’

The residency includes travel costs, accommodation, a stipend and is supported by Creative New Zealand.  It will run from late August to mid-November, 2012 and the recipient will be expected to have completed, or substantially completed, a body of writing.

The deadline for applications is Friday 9 March 2012.  To find out more about how to apply please go to the Creative New Zealand website or check out the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program online.

Kiwi Write4Kidz have some great events coming up during March (New Zealand Book Month). Download the posters to find out more.

This request was received through the Storylines website. We’re passing it on to our membership in the help that someone out there will be able to help Zahnee.

Dear Storylines Team,  

My name is Leah Evans and I am writing to you on behalf of a six-year-old girl named Zahnee. We help disadvantaged kids to fulfil their potential by way of a meaningful project in whatever context is appropriate for their talents and interests.   

Zahnee loves horses. So, I arranged for her to learn to ride by weekly lessons, which I travelled to teach, with the crescendo to this part of her project being competing at a Ribbon Day Show against other kids on ponies – which she did, and came home with five ribbons for her efforts, as well as a letter from Mark Todd.  A professional photographer joined us each lesson and at the show to capture the project for Zahnee as a tangible source of reflection and inspiration for her future. She was also interviewed for TV, which again adds to the complete experience. 

While this may not sound too out of the ordinary, let me explain a little about why this project is so special. Zahnee was born with a rare facial tumour which has disfigured her face considerably, as well as that she also has Aspergers Syndrome. The disfigurement has meant that Zahnee’s sight, balance and co-ordination had been severely compromised as well as resulting in secondary health issues because her body had learnt to cope by her head being on a ‘lean’. So, for Zahnee, learning to ride a pony was a huge deal – physically, intellectually, and emotionally.  Her courage and determination is inspiring.

In September she took a nine-week break from riding while she travelled to the United States to have life changing surgery to reposition her eye. Zahnee’s lessons resumed once she was well enough. Upon recommencing her lessons she experienced intense anxiety and although she really wanted this, had to work seriously hard to overcome that. She did incredibly well.    

Zahnee has another great aspiration of writing a book which is part of her project with us. She has a fantastic message to share ‘Just because some kids look different doesn’t mean they are any less capable. We have talent, and we CAN’ – her riding experience is testimony to what she has to say and makes it very authentic. 
It would be wonderful to think that Zahnee could reach many children and families; for her to create what would be an incredible achievement to her legacy. Forever she would have contributed to empathy and understanding all over New Zealand with a worthwhile and meaningful message. 

We would be most grateful if one of your talented members might be interested in helping Zahnee to achieve this dream. We need help with every aspect of this part of her project, from writing a concise but meaningful manuscript, to illustrations, and ultimately publication. 

If you would like Zahnee’s full story – please visit the Project KPH website or if you are on Facebook we have a page with even more photos and a nice journal of Zahnee’s project to date. I am more than happy to add to any of this verbally and my mobile number is listed below. 

Many thanks for your time and I hope to talk soon. 

Kindest regards, 
Leah Evans.
M +64 27 279 5523; PO Box 1542, Rotorua, New Zealand


Deaths in the children’s literature world 2011.

In 2011 we farewelled these wonderful people who enriched the children's literature world. We thank them for the contribution they made and mourn their passing.


Storylines sponsored spot.
Find out more – including how to book for terms 2 and 3 – in the downloadable flyer.


For members only.

The booklist this time is all about great books to read aloud, particularly to groups. Although the list is available right NOW, it will look much prettier from Saturday 11 February :D.

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 out booklists.

Are you interested in reviewing for the booklist? Find out how here.

This is only accessible to members. If you wish to become a member, contact our Membership Secretary.

Storylines thanks Zeald for their ongoing support of our website, membership database and email newsletters.   


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 ...