Home > Intermediate Fiction, Senior Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult > NZ Post Non-fiction finalists 2014

NZ Post Non-fiction finalists 2014

April 8, 2014

All five finalists of the NZ Post Children’s and Young Adults Book Awards are in this entry. They are all outstanding and give information that no web page could compete with. I do indicate which title I think will win but you will have to read the whole entry to find out.

flight honey beeFlight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber, Illus. Brian Lovelock. Walker Books, 2013.

Honey bees are vital to our ecology and hugely vital to our economy because they pollinate the flowers and allow plants and trees to bear fruit. Bees navigate by smell and sunlight, they are furry all over even their eyeballs and they communicate through dance or waggle.

These are some of the facts to learn in this picture book about bees which is also a story of a bee called Scout who has an adventure searching for pollen. Raymond Huber knows about bees I think they are his friends and they are our friends too.

Brilliantly illustrated with water colour scenes by Brian Lovelock who uses acrylic paint to highlight the bees and other beasties encountered by Scout.

A great first look at bees in an inquiring way.


ANZAC DayANZAC Day The New Zealand Story. What is it and Why it Matters by Philippa Werry. Pub. New Holland, 2013.

This is the most accessible book for school students and the interested adult reader about ANZAC Day that I have read.

It starts with why ANZAC Day is important and what it means to New Zealanders, covers the Gallipoli Campaign, the origin of Poppy Day and how New Zealanders have reacted to ANZAC Day through history to the present day.

It has excellent photographs, illustrations, paintings, letters from both allied and Turkish soldiers even a recipe for ANZAC biscuits. The Turkish letter will bring tears to your eyes.

The statistics and primary sources used are stunning and the overall place of the Gallipoli Invasion in a war that really should never have happened. The legends, the stories, the comradeship, the poor decision making by those at the top, and most of all about the poor bastards that had to fight. If the men knew then what we know now no-body would have gone.

Philippa Werry does not conclude as I have done but the evidence she shows, points to a massive blunder that started New Zealand on the road to Nationhood. Lest we forget.

A marvelous book.

wearable wondersWearable Wonders by Fifi Colston. Pub. Scholastic, 2013.

New Zealand practically invented wearable arts and this excellent  book is to encourage young students to be innovative and inventive in the joy of making art from ordinary and extraordinary things.

It starts with a great piece of advice that applies to writing as well “search the world you know”. Then there are templates and how to make a model, the tools of the trade, the materials from dyes to foam and glitter.

Every page has big colourful illustrations. The chapter I liked best was that dealing with things that you find on a walk such as feathers, leaves, seeds, bones, shells and even pumice. You name it art can be made from it.

The book concludes with an interview with a WOW model, the WETA workshop and the place of wearable arts in the New Zealand fashion scene.

The best book I have read on this subject ever.


Extraordinary LandAn Extraordinary Land: Discoveries and Mysteries From Wild New Zealand by Peter Hayden, Photos by Rod Morris. Pub. HarperCollins, 2013.

This book is by far the most comprehensive  exploration of it’s subject than any other of the titles in the Awards. It views NZ as a wild laboratory where evolution led to weird and wonderful outcomes and it looks at new discoveries and where we go from here to protect our extraordinary flora and fauna.

Nothing is missed from the kauri and pohutakawa to the giant weta and whitebait. The native birds past and present and the fire and furry animals that nearly decimated the native species. There is also an appreciation of scientist Bob McDowall and his work in the freshwater environment.

As an example of recent discoveries it has been found that the kiwi has one of the largest brains of any bird in comparison to it’s body size and that it not only smells it’s food but has sensory cells at the end of it’s beak that detect movement. Not a lot of people know that.

It is a snapshot of what makes New Zealand wildlife and flora unique. All of it,even those horrible possums.

Photographs by wildlife film maker and photographer Rod Morris are superb. Great for research and for the coffee table.


hunting & fishingThe Beginner’s Guide to  Hunting & Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson. Pub.Random House, 2013.

This book for me is the one I would pick to win because I consider it is the book that is most necessary and because it has superb information with an emphasis on responsible hunting and fishing and on safety.

Not only does it tell you where the best spots to hunt  hunt deer, thar, pig, possums and rabbits, it shows you the equipment and weapons to use, safe techniques and tips, and the cost and consequences of not wearing the right gear and acting unethically and irresponsibly. It does the same for fishing and offers target shooting in the wild for those that like the outdoors but don’t wish to kill.

Did you know a .303 bullet can travel 4.5 kilometers after firing?

At the end of each chapter there is a Did You Know? section and glossary and  which has a host of valuable information. It tells about GPS systems and Landsar  when hunters and fishermen get lost.

Too many hunters and fisherman are injured, killed or lost. This book is the answer to successful outdoor recreation in New Zealand. It is a superb presentation and will appeal to young and old equally especially if you love to hunt and fish.



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