Monday, November 6, 2017

'Abel Tasman' and 'Toroa's Journey' Upcoming Events

If you live in these parts of the country do come along to one (or more) of these book events promoting my two latest books:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Upcoming book events

I'll be promoting my new books and giving talks/workshops at the following events until the end of the year:

Friday 6th October 10am, Remuera Library, Auckland – Pop-up Book Launch Extravaganza with 15 authors/illustrators (Fifi Colston, Gillian Candler, Suzanne Main, Chris Gurney, Nikki Slade Robinson, Jane Bloomfield, Maria Gill and others) including a surprise guest! We’ll be giving sneak peaks of our latest and greatest books. Morning tea offered, giveaways, and signed books available to buy.

Monday 9th - Thursday 12th October, Write Like an Author workshops, Burnside High School, Christchurch

Saturday 4th November 2pm, Dorothy Butler Bookshop, Ponsonby, Auckland – Book launch of ‘Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands’ with Maria Gill. Prizes for the best Explorer costumes!

Saturday 11th November 9.00-12.30pm, Book signing and sales of Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands with Maria Gill

Tuesday 14th November,  Visiting schools in the Nelson region

Tuesday 14th November 4pm, Nelson Provincial Library, Nelson – Book launch of ‘Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands’ with Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic. 

Wednesday 15th November, Visiting schools in the Nelson region

Wednesday 15th November 4pm, Page & Blackmore Bookshop, Nelson – Book signing of ‘Toroa’s Journey’ with Maria Gill. See the 3-metre paper Albatross!

Thursday 16th November, Visiting schools in the Motueka and Takaka region

Friday 17th November 11am, Takaka Library & Museum, Takaka – Book launch of ‘Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands’ with Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic. Prizes for the best Heemskerck ship drawing! 

Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th November, Book signing and activities at the opening of the new Dutch Museum in Foxton.

Tuesday 21st - Friday 30th November, events (yet to be confirmed) in Sydney and Tasmania

Saturday 2nd December 2.00 - 4.00pm, Abel Tasman Commemoration at the National Maritime Museum, Auckland

Saturday 9th December 9.00-12.30pm, Book signing and sales of Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands with Maria Gill

Thursday 14th December 4pm, Book launch at the Residence of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands 34 Moorhouse Street, Wadestown, Wellington, RSVP

Friday, August 11, 2017

New books coming out

I've been writing furiously most of this year and two of those books have already gone off to the printers. Here's a sneak peak at the covers:

'Toroa's Journey' illustrated by Gavin Mouldey published with Potton & Burton comes out in October. It's the story of the 500th albatross who hatched nine years ago. Before he fledged the ranger put a tracking device on him to see where he flew over the next 6-8 years before he would land back in Dunedin again. This is Toroa's story of his journey to South America and the things he might have encountered on his voyage.

This is the first time I've worked with Gavin Mouldey and his illustrations are stunning. He even encouraged Potton & Burton to include fold out wings! Speaking of wings, I'm going to make (with the help of Potton & Burton) a pair of three metre wings to show kids when I tour schools.

It's going to be available in paperback and hardback!

The second book I've been writing is called 'Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands', illustrated by Marco Ivancic, published with Scholastic and due out in November.

Follow Abel Tasman's journey from Batavia (Jakarta) to Tasmania, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Read about the perils, the mishaps, and the joys on the seafaring adventure. Find out what the indigenous people possibly thought when they saw these European sailors; the first to travel that far south. Marvel at Marco Ivancic's gorgeous illustrations. The book has been beautifully designed by Luke Kelly.

It will be available in hardback in November!

I've also finished writing a third book 'Anzac Animals' but it is still being designed ... Watch this space!

This time last year, my book 'Find Out! Volcanoes' came out. I forgot to put up a review of the book, so I'm rather belatedly putting up one now. Thanks to Lorraine Orman for the review:

DKfindout! Volcanoes by Maria Gill, Dorling Kindersley (dist. Penguin Random House NZ)

I’ve always been impressed by Dorling Kindersley’s bright, colourful and extremely visual books for children. Other publishers have copied the format to the extent that the use of numerous graphics and text boxes seems to be the standard for today’s non-fiction for children. Combine this accessible format with a popular topic such as volcanoes, and the resulting book is a winner.

Maria had already published three books on volcanoes: Volcanoes (South Pacific Press, 2008), Rangitoto (Penguin NZ, 2009) and Eruption!, New Holland, 2012). So she shouldn’t have been too surprised when Dorling Kindersley emailed her in 2015 to ask if she’d write a book on volcanoes for their DKfindout! series. She went on to put together a 64-page, very informative book that will immediately attract the eye of young readers – and adults will enjoy dipping into it too.

The layout works on the double-page spread system, with each spread having a heading such as Volcano Varieties, Deadliest Eruptions, Myths and Legends, Supervolcanoes, etc. There is an introductory paragraph on each topic followed by several colour photos and drawings with accompanying text boxes. Variety is provided by using maps, diagrams, fact boxes, columns, and different illustrative styles. There is a Glossary, an Index and a Timeline, as well as a Quiz and links to the Dorling Kindersley support websites (including their free online encyclopaedia).

Public and school libraries (and parents of volcano-obsessed youngsters) will find that primary-aged children will relish dipping into this book and sharing the fascinating information inside.

ISBN 978 0 2412 5024 2 RRP $17.99 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Children's writing competition

Sharpen your pencils you've got two more weeks to write an imaginative story for the Young Authors Challenge Writing Competition. This year author John Parker, the Barfoot & Thompson team and I will be judging the stories looking for 10 winners!

Go here for application forms and writing tips.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Volcano Books Galore!

Over the years, I've had five volcano books published. Here's an update on the books:

Eruption! Discovering New Zealand Volcanoes
'Eruption!' sold out eighteen months ago, but has recently been reprinted again and is now available! I'll have it for sale on my website soon but in the meantime you should be able to get it at your local bookstores.

The book explains the basics of volcano science, alongside diagrams and colour photographs of some of our most spectacular volcanoes. To make it interesting for 6-12 year olds, the narrator for the book is Volcanica, reporter for the Magmatic Press. The book also has interactive codes for kids to research, and links to fascinating volcano videos.

DKfindout! Volcanoes

'Volcanoes' was published by one of the largest children's non-fiction book publishers in the world. It is part of a series of books that helps kids find out answers to questions they've always had about subjects.Other books in the series include 'Ancient Rome', 'Science', 'Solar System', 'Animals', 'Dinosaurs'. It includes access to a free online encyclopedia:

'Volcanoes' includes information about volcanoes from all over the world. The end papers include quizzes, fact sheets on types of eruptions, and a timeline of eruptions. Complementing the many subjects covered are over 200 photographs. It's packed with explosive facts and amazing pictures. It's a small book filled with BIG IDEAS. Available from all good bookstores.

Rangitoto: The rock standing in the ocean

 'Rangitoto' is a creative non-fiction story about the birth of Auckland's most iconic volcano. Told like it is just happening, kids will see the many stages of a volcano eruption, plus what happens in the aftermath. Heather Arnolds stunning illustrations show the effects of the explosions on the habitat. Children can have the story read to them, older students will find the added extra fact boxes and timelines useful for projects.

'Rangitoto' shortlisted in the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards in 2012. It is available in digital and picture book format.

The other two volcano books are 'Volcanic Eruptions'' and 'Under Your Feet' available through the Book Depository.

If your child or students would like to make a shield volcano, download this template.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 Notable Book Awards

Congratulations to all the recipients:

Storylines Notable Books List 2017

The Storylines Notable Books List 2017, for books published in 2016, has been announced. The award-winning titles are:
Picture Books
  • If I was a Banana by Alexandra Tylee, illustrated by Kieran Rynhart (Gecko)
  • Gwendolyn! by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton (HarperCollins UK)
  • Tuna and Hiriwa by Ripeka Takotowai Goddard, illustrated by Kimberly Andrews (Huia)
  • Maui – Sun Catcher by Tim Tipene, illustrated by Zak Waipara (Oratia)
  • Gladys Goes to War by Glyn Harper, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Penguin Random House NZ)
  • Fuzzy Doodle by Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Donovan Bixley (Scholastic NZ)
  • Gorillas in our Midst by Richard Fairgray, illustrated by Terry Jones (Scholastic NZ)
  • Henry Bob Bobbalich by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Link Choi (Scholastic NZ)
  • Witch’s Cat Wanted Apply Within written by Joy H Davidson, illustrated by Nikki Slade-Robinson (Scholastic NZ)
  • The Harmonica by Dawn McMillan, illustrated by Andrew Burdan (Scholastic NZ)
  • Rasmas by Elizabeth Pulford, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Scholastic NZ)
  • The Best Dad in the World by Pat Chapman, illustrated by Cat Chapman (Upstart)


  • ANZAC Heroes by Maria Gill, illustrated by Marco Ivancic (Scholastic NZ)
  • See Play Do: A Kid’s Handbook for Everyday Creative Fun written & illustrated by Louise Cuckow (Beatnik)
  • Bruce Wants to Go Faster by Dreydon Sobanja, illustrated by Murray Dewhurst (Inspired Kids)
  • Armistice Day: the New Zealand Story by Philippa Werry (New Holland)
  • Speed King: Burt Munro, the World’s Fastest Indian by David Hill, illustrated by Phoebe Morris (Penguin Random House NZ)
  • Jack and Charlie: Boys of the Bush by Jack Marcotte (Penguin Random House NZ)
  • The Beginner's Guide to Netball by Maria Tutaia (Penguin Random House NZ)
  • Cricket with Kane Williamson by Kane Williamson (Penguin Random House NZ)
  • The Cuckoo and the Warbler: A True New Zealand Story by Heather Hunt, illustrated by Kennedy Warne (Potton & Burton)
  • Much ado about Shakespeare written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley (Upstart)

Junior Fiction

  • The Road to Ratenburg by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Gecko)
  • Annual edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris (Gecko)
  • The Diamond Horse by Stacy Gregg (HarperCollins UK)
  • Rona by Chris Szekely, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Huia)
  • Enemy Camp by David Hill (Penguin Random House NZ)
  • The Impossible Boy by Leonie Agnew (Penguin Random House NZ)
  • Grandad’s Wheelies by Jack Lasenby, illustrated by Bob Kerr (Penguin Random House NZ)
  • Barking Mad by Tom E Moffatt (Scholastic NZ)
  • Sunken Forest by Des Hunt (Scholastic NZ)

Young Adult

  • Lonesome When You Go by Saradha Koirala (Makaro)
  • Coming Home to Roost by Mary-anne Scott (Penguin Random House NZ)