Posts Tagged ‘Christchurch earthquake’

Red Edge

By Des Hunt

ISBN 9781775436416

Scholastic NZ

 

Red Edge is a thoroughly good romp of a read. The characters are believable, flaws and all.  I particular loved the setting which is the edge of the Red Zone where once streets were full of houses, neighbourhoods and schools. Now the Red Zone is wide, empty open spaces after thousands of homes were demolished after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.  As someone who lived through the quakes and knows the streets, I got a wee buzz every time I recognised the streets Cassi was running through. Even the market and the airport were definitely recognisable so I had a sense of pride while reading this book. The effects of those earthquakes all these years later,  still impact on so many people’s lives. The trauma is real and we see the impact it still has in both Cassi and Quinn’s daily lives.

Twelve year old Cassi, has just moved house and school, yet again. She and her father have moved to the edge of the Red Zone, next door to what is locally known as the haunted house. Observing strange goings-on next door,  she sneaks onto the property to investigate but it’s not long before Cassi finds herself caught up in a dark and dangerous situation with criminals, who are very keen to keep their situation a secret.

Together, Cassi and Quinn, the boy across the road and her new-found friend, begin the dangerous adventure of trying to find out just what is happening in the house next door.

The story has a great pace, mystery, a quality story and great writing, which is just as one would expect from award-winning author Des Hunt. Like many of his novels, Hunt adds a scientific or environmental aspect which he does here as well. I love a good read but I also love a good read where I learn something new, as I did here, in Red Edge but I can’t tell you what as that might spoil the surprise. This really is one of those books to read and get lost inside.

This would be a great teacher read-aloud. It would also be great as a set novel for years 6 and up, especially when considering New Zealand writers and NZ settings. 

Lyla

Through my eyes. Natural Disaster Zones

By Fleur Beale

ISBN 9781760113780

Allen & Unwin

Shortlisted for the junior fiction awards in the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

On the 22nd of February 2011 thirteen year old Lyla is in the centre of town when an earthquake devastates the city of Christchurch. In town because of a teacher union meeting where secondary schools are closed, Lyla and her friends are faced with absolute terror as a massive earthquake thunders beneath their feet. The ground shakes so violently that buildings all around them tumble and fall with the frenzied force of the shaking. They separate in an effort to go home but Lyla gets caught up helping injured people and this is where we see how strong Lyla is as a character.

The novel focuses on the next few months and the impact of the continued aftershocks, damaged houses and day-to-day life living in a munted city.

It was a terrible time for the people of Christchurch and Canterbury and Fleur Beale has captured many of the issues people had to deal with or learn to overcome. Lyla is mature beyond her years and it is her family, friends and neighbours that become more important than things. Supporting each other, even the unlikable bully Matt is what matters most and it is these relationships which are the strength of the novel.

Lyla remains calm in the face of it all but eventually, she needs to confront the reality of everything she has been through and everything she has witnessed.

Having lived through every one of these earthquakes myself, this novel brought back a lot of memories and not all of them pleasant ones. A reminder that disasters often bring us closer together.

My New Zealand Story Canterbury Quake 2010-2011
By Desna Wallace
(That’s me)

I have been blogging about books, book trailers and doing reviews for quite some time now but this book is just a bit different. And that is because it is my first children’s novel and I can hardly do the review myself but the links below will take you to some reviews which are doing the rounds at the moment.
It is a very strange (but wonderful) feeling to see your own book for sale in the shops. For those reading this from New Zealand you all know that this month marks three years since the devastating earthquake here in Christchurch, which claimed 185 lives and destroyed our city centre, our historic buildings and thousands of homes. For those outside New Zealand this was one of New Zealand’s saddest, darkest and most tragic days in our country’s history. We have endured thousands of aftershocks, many of them very damaging. Many people were forced to leave Christchurch after being made homeless. Many have returned, many have not.
Living in Christchurch is not the same as it once was and it never will be the same. Thousands of people are still waiting for homes to be repaired or rebuilt. Roads all around the city are blocked off or surrounded by traffic cones as buildings come down, roads are fixed and the city is repaired. It will take years to see any real difference. But it is home. It is a city I love and a city I am proud of.

So from all this I have written a book of fiction based on the very real facts. In diary form and part of the New Zealand My Story series, I have told the story of 11 year Maddy, her family and friends and how this natural disaster has affected them all.

5

http://bobsbooksnz.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/canterbury-quake-by-desna-wallace/
http://barbaramurison.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/fiction-age-10-and-up.html
http://beattiesbookblog.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/canterbury-quake.html