Saturday, August 31, 2013

Enhanced e-book Launch at Auckland Zoo

On Sunday 8th September we're having a book launch for two enhanced e-books - the first of their kind in New Zealand:  'Operation Nest Egg chick' illustrated by Bruce Potter, and 'The Rock Standing in the Ocean' illustrated by Heather Arnold - both written by myself, and published by Pixel Book.

The book launch is at 10.30am in the Elephant House, Auckland Zoo (normal admission price applies).  I'm going to tell everyone how I became involved in releasing kiwi chicks and why I wrote the book 'Operation Nest Egg Chick'. To show kids just why kiwi are so endangered I'll get some kids from the audience to act out a scene with puppets. Bruce will then show his artwork and draw a kiwi in front of everyone. We'll then look at the two enhanced e-books on a projector screen. In between speakers, Bruce and I have some awesome kiwi biscuits to give away. A human-sized kiwi is going to give those out for us. Afterwards, kids can draw a kiwi or a kaka and get some tips from Bruce.  Will be a fun morning - do join us!

Operation Nest Egg Chick by Maria Gill, illustrated by Bruce Potter ( )

Operation Nest Egg Chick is the story of two kiwi chicks; one that is raised in the wild and one that is cared for by the BNZOperation Nest Egg programme.  How does the programme ensure the second kiwi chick’s survival? Who cares for the chick and how do they do it?

·         A ground-breaking interactive children’s book

·         A creative non-fiction tale about the programme that has saved the nation’s icon

·         Award winning artwork from Bruce Potter

·         Includes expandable fact boxes, timelines, diagrams, videos and photographs

·         Interactive activities

·         In line with the New Zealand and Australian curriculum

·         Teaching resources available

Maria Gill is an award winning author with a background in teaching and journalism. Three of her books have been shortlisted for New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. New Zealand Hall of Fame won the children’s choice award in the non-fiction category. Four books have been shortlisted for the LIANZA awards, and five have been awarded Storylines Notable Book Awards. Maria also volunteers for the BNZOperation Nest Egg programme helping release kiwi chicks onto Motuora Island.

Bruce Potter has illustrated over 100 children’s books. His illustrations for Papa’s Donuts earned him a second place in the World’s Best Illustration at the 2007 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. His book Ngā Taniwha I te-Whanga-nui-a-Tara by Moira Wairama won the Te Kura Pounamu award at LIANZA 2012. Bruce Potter’s realistic artwork has been sold in galleries, he teaches children and adults how to paint, and he’s drawn caricatures for newspapers around the world.

Released 8th September 2013

Formats: EPUB3

32 digital pages, RRP NZ$16.00

$1 from each book goes to the Kiwis for Kiwi Trust

Purchase now from

The Rock Standing in the Ocean by Maria Gill, illustrated by Heather Arnold (
Have you ever wondered how a submarine volcano becomes an island?

The Rock Standing in the Ocean tells the dramatic story of how a volcano formed, how it became populated with animals and plants until a menace threatened its survival. Find out how the island’s guardians are saving it today.

·         A ground-breaking digital non-fiction children’s book

·         A creative non-fiction tale about the formation of a volcanic island

·         Award winning artwork from illustrator Heather Arnold

·         Includes drop-down fact boxes, timelines, diagrams, and photographs

·         Interactive activities  with a Word Find, a colouring-in picture and online links

·          In line with the New Zealand and Australian curriculum

June 2013
Formats: Epub3

16 digital pages, RRP NZ$12

ISBN: 978-0-473-23913-8

For use on iPads, digital devices, Smart Boards, digital projectors

Digital and Animation design Pixelbook Ltd

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Running the Country hits right note

My new book 'Running the Country' has been hitting a right note with teachers and librarians around the country. They've told me there was a desperate need for an updated book about how our country is run and now they have it.

We've been receiving fantastic reviews of the book. Listen to John McIntyre review the book on Radio New Zealand

If you've bought the book and found some of those shortened urls don't work (we've found that they don't stay stable, fonts are misread, and people change their links on their website) here are the links you need:

Page 5:

Page 17: -  the last letter reads as an l (el) when it should be an I (eye) here's the full link:

Page 29: - the last letter is actually an I (eye). Here's the full link:

Page 31:  - it is ggo instead of goo. Full link here:

Page 39:

Page 45:

I have a ballot box and voting papers so if any school wants to run a mock election, as part of an author talk visit please do contact me.

Ka kite ano

Maria Gill

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Storylines Festival near you

Storyline Family Festival Days has been going 20 years!! It all started when 33 children's authors and illustrators came together at a hui in 1993 at Joy Cowley's seaside home in the Marlborough Sounds and said, 'Why don't we have a festival celebrating New Zealand children's books'.

This year they are celebrating with SIX Storyline Family Festival Days at the following centres:

Saturday 10th August from 11-4pm at the Dunedin Central Library with: Children’s authors' Kyle Mewburn, Adele Broadbent, Mandy Hager, Rachel Stedman, Simon Pollard, and illustrator Robyn Belton, and storyteller Tanya Batt along with International guests: Isobelle Carmody and Rachel Spratt.

Sunday 11th August from 10-3pm at South Christchurch Library authors from above will fly to Christchurch and along with Rachel King, Jenny Cooper, Ben Brown, Jane Buxton, and Simon Pollard will promote their books.

Saturday 17th August, join writers and illustrators in Wellington: Philippa Werry, Ken Benn, David Elliot, Philip Webb, Ant Sang, Fifi Colston, Maria Gill, Ruth Paul, Moira Wairama, and Mona Williams at the Michael Fowler Centre from 10 – 3pm.

There are also Storyline Family Festival Days in Kaitaia at the Kaitaia Library and Te Ahu Centre from 11 – 4pm; and at the South Auckland Vodafone Events Centre from 11-3pm on Saturday 17th August for the first time!

That night (Saturday 17th August) in Auckland authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers and anyone who loves children’s books will celebrate Storylines 20th anniversary at the National Library from 6pm to 8pm. Buy your tickets here.

On Sunday 18th August join writers and illustrators in Auckland: David Hill, Sally Sutton, Mark Sommerset, Chris Gurney, Nina Rycroft, Sandra Morris, Elena de Roo, Melinda Szymanik, Leonie Agnew, Fraser Williamson, Susan Brocker, Leonie Thorpe, Apirana Taylor, and the matriarchs of children’s literature: Joy Cowley and Dame Lynley Dodd at the Aotea Centre from 10 – 3pm.
What can you expect at a Storylines Family Festival Day? You’ll meet authors and illustrators (of course) – you’ll hear them speak, see them draw, do activitieswith them, get your battered or newly bought book signed and chat to them. You can also make crafts, get your face painted, watch shows, enter competitions and win prizes, and pick-up freebies. It is incredible fun – come with your kids, parents, or by yourself! It is all FREE!

Also, on Saturday 24th August at the Ponsonby Art Station see the 'Pictures Without Words' illustration exhibition from 10-4pm. It's FREE too!

I'll be at the Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland Storylines Family Festival Days and would love to see you there! Come and say hello and get your books signed.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Entertaining Author Talks

When I first began giving author talks nearly ten years ago - I thought my goal was to inform the audience. Since observing some of New Zealand's best presenters I realised you had to take it a step further. You need to engage your audience by making them laugh, showing them something they haven't seen before, letting them get to know you more, getting the kids up and being part of the performance and wowing them with some props/visuals.

It took a while for me to include all those elements in my talks but I believe I'm getting there. My PowerPoint presentation shows inside my books, includes quizzes, and images. It helps me remember where I'm up to in my talk - so I now don't need any cue cards to remind me what I'm doing next.

I encourage selected children to participate in a role play wearing props that make the other kids laugh. Another group of children help me enact a scene with puppets.

I get kids guessing who the famous New Zealander is from their baby photograph, who the heads of government are from their caricatures, and quiz them about some of my titles and reward them with bookmarks. This encourages children to interact with my talk.

I show the kids a photo of myself when I was twelve and tell them why it is relevant to who I am as a writer. Sometimes I show pictures of my travels or home life. I link this to having a dream and if you're hard working and determined enough - you can make it happen.

The kids also see sneak previews of new books coming out. At the moment I'm showing them the digital remake of my book 'Rangitoto' and a book trailer for a picture book coming out next year.

In the early days I was very nervous when giving talks. After giving hundreds of talks I now look forward to them. I put on voices, strut my stuff, and enjoy watching kids' faces light up.

Find more information about my author talks and workshops go to: or email me directly: mariagill at

I look forward to meeting you one day at a school visit!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Lies Beneath Exhibition

Eight authors and illustrators at the What Lies Beneath Exhibition Opening night share the positive, negative, and interesting behind the creation of their book.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

What have I been doing in the quiet month of January? Helping organise a fantastic exhibition of children's books.  The Gala Opening Night is on Monday 4th March from 5.30 - 7.30pm.  All are invited but it is essential that you RSVP because we are limited to 100 people. You'll meet on the night: David Elliot, Fifi Colston, Lindy Fisher, Robyn Belton, Kyle Mewburn, Donovan Bixley, Heather Arnold, Melinda Szymanik, and myself! We're part of a panel and afterwards you can ask us questions about the behind-the-scenes of creating a book.

But that is not all ...

Teachers, you could bring a group of 15 students to a Speed-date-an-Author/Illustrator the next day (Tuesday 5th March from 9.30 - 2pm) at the National Library. Students will do seven workshops with: David Elliot, Fifi Colston, Lindy Fisher, Robyn Belton, and Donovan Bixley - the illustrators, Kyle Mewburn, Melinda Szymanik and Maria Gill - the authors. During the break the students/teachers/parents can peruse the exhibition and ask the authors/illustrators firsthand burning questions about the books. See the poster below for details and how to book your class. Only seven x 15 group spaces available - so be in quick! Fees apply.

Teachers can also bring their class along to the exhibition during the month of March at the National Library email: and also at Takapuna Library - email: . There is no charge but you do need to book in advance.