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Book reviews: April 2023

3 min read
April 2023 book reviews

Pick of the month

Wild Coasts: Exploring Aotearoa’s marine reserves
Ned Barraud
Potton & Burton

Back on our bookshelves is the latest book from award-winning author and illustrator Ned Barraud, which offers a fascinating exploration of some of Aotearoa’s marine reserves.

Our island nation is renowned for its stunning wild coasts and abundant sea life, however, over the years, marine ecosystems have been put under serious threat due to overfishing. A crucial response to this has been the creation of 44 marine reserves of various sizes, accounting for less than one percent of New Zealand seas, where fishing is prohibited. This captivating book focusses on six of these wild safe zones covering a diverse spectrum of marine habitats found under the surface.

Barraud’s books are often centred around native environments, and his newest release encourages young readers to take a deep dive into the unique marine reserves, encouraging them to explore and appreciate nature.

The book cover is beautifully illustrated, as are the inside pages, which are packed with fascinating facts on Aotearoa’s protected areas and the wonderful sea life they contain. Wild Coasts serves as a timely reminder to cherish and nurture what our nation has to offer, highlighting the importance of protecting our marine environment for future generations.

More good reads

Where is it in town? A wildlife hunt for
Kiwi kids
Ned Barraud
Potton & Burton

Another one from author Ned Barraud, Where is it in town? is a sequel to Where is it? and is an engaging ‘look and find’ book that invites young readers to join in on a fun wildlife hunt.

While the first book explored environments such as wetlands and native bush, this new release is more focussed on creatures that readers can find close to their home.

Each spread is dedicated to wildlife Kiwi kids will encounter in town, with illustrations depicting 11 different urban settings, starting from a garden, among the leaf litter, the creeks, and trees and extending to include botanical gardens and native reserves.

The book features beautiful and some clever illustrations showing the different life above and below the surface, and while aimed towards the younger readers, for the older kids who are curious to know more, there is additional information at the back on the creatures found in the book.

It’s the perfect book to encourage young kids to explore and appreciate the natural world in their own backyard.

The New Zealand Seashore Guide
Sally Carson and Rod Morris
Potton & Burton

The New Zealand Seashore Guide is a nod to New Zealand’s stunningly beautiful, wild, and windswept coast. The comprehensive book is packed with wonderful details about the country’s marine species, including their size, habitat, and lifestyle.

Author Sally Carson shares a wealth of knowledge on both endemic and introduced species, including sponges, sea stars, pāua, mussels, anemones, fish, and seaweed. Each piece of text is complemented by glorious photos of marine life by Rod Morris.

While the seashore can be an intimating environment to explore due to its dynamic nature, it is also fragile and so Carson shares details of what readers can do to take care on the coast as well as care for the coast to minimise the impact of our explorations.

The book is filled with discoveries and informative insights and is designed to be the perfect companion for your seashore excursions.

South of Martinborough
Diane Grant
Fraser Books

This well-researched book will interest anyone with a connection to South Wairarapa. Made up of memories and memoirs from the 19th Century through to the present day, it tells the stories of early European settlers and their relationships with local Māori and others, culminating with how the region developed into what exists today.

There is a strong focus on land settlement for soldiers from the First and Second World Wars, and the financial and mental hardship that many families endured to turn some marginal land into profitable farms while trying to keep ahead of the bank and ever-changing produce markets.

The book centres on one particular region of the country, but similar events and circumstances may have played out in numerous areas of New Zealand in what is a very Kiwi story.

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