Bookstore owner Kate Gordon highlights three books that feature Fiordland, New Zealand’s wonderous and wild region of tangled forests and mighty fiords.
One of the many great things about supporting Kiwi authors writing for children and teens is discovering books set in specific parts of New Zealand.
Sometimes the setting is an integral feature of the story – as it is in the three books I’m featuring here. Or sometimes the setting may be based on a fictional New Zealand town or landscape while still giving us a feeling of familiarity.
Either way, books set in New Zealand offer our kids and teens a wonderful opportunity to read ‘our’ stories set in ‘our’ landscape.
So let’s talk about children’s books set in Fiordland.
I’ve visited a handful of times myself and can still feel that utter sense of wonder and awe that captured my senses the first time I drove from Te Anau to Milford Sound. It’s Magnificent (with a capital M :))
Bernie, the human hero of When Bo Bimble went Elsewhere feels that same awe when he visits Milford Sound with his parents. He’s just the most perfect, bird-loving character to meet the one and only Bo, the star of this utterly delightful story by Sue Copsey.
I was completely entranced by Bo, a bimble so full of curosity and questions that she must undertake a most perilous journey for an impossibly green and perfectly round bimble.
The sights and sounds of Fiordland feature strongly in this awesome story to read aloud with younger readers which will delight more independent readers aged 7 and up.
Spark Hunter by Sonya Wilson is for slightly older readers, with a grittier and even more adventurous hero called Nissa Marshall. In this book, the Fiordland setting is central to the story – the trees, the birds, the rain, the steep terrain, the deep fiords.
Nissa sees mysterious lights and leaves her school camp, determined to find out what they are. The sparks’ world is beautifully crafted and I absolutely loved this book. I hope there’s a sequel!
Home from the Homer by Anya Forest is on my TBR pile to read properly from cover to cover. I know enough of it to know the book fits perfectly in The Kiwi Kids’ Bookstore.
The author blends real-life characters from Fiordland history with a family oriented time travel story that all starts when the Homer Tunnel vanishes.
As Anya says, Fiordland has always been a place where nature rules, and myth and reality merge. Highly regarded as a family read- aloud book, there is already a sequel called A Doubtful Detour.
I hope you’ll check out these three fantastic Kiwi kids’ books set in Fiordland.