A shortlist of 28 titles in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults has just been released. It’s a rich and varied array of the best titles – from picture books to Te Reo to the “best first book”. Selecting winners will be no easy task. Here, we review two of the nominations.
The Thunderbolt Pony
Nominated for best Junior Fiction
When the small town of Parnassus in North Canterbury is hit by the destructive Kaikoura earthquake, everyone must be evacuated. Evie’s injured mother is helicoptered out, but Evie refuses to leave her horse, cat and dog behind and heads off with them on an intrepid journey across rugged terrain, torn apart by the quake. As she travels, Evie relives the recent death of her father while dealing with her obsessive compulsive disorder. A dramatic and emotional story where bravery and resilience trump fear and injury; showing one girl’s determination to stand by her beloved animals in the face of impossible odds. Fans of Stacy Gregg’s previous horse stories will not be disappointed with this one and relating them to real events adds an extra layer of interest for young readers.
Matakana Village Books