book fair fever

Each year in the July winter school holidays, the Whakatane Salvation Army organises a gigantic book fair, one of their major fundraisers. Three days of secondhand book heaven, spread over Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning in the second week of the holidays, visited often more than once by thousands of people, families and children. In…

books, on your marks!

Hopefully your days of creasing the top corner of a page as a reminder of where you’ve left your book before nodding off or being pulled away for something less fun are over. I admit, I still impart dog ears (or in Dutch ezelsoortjes – donkeys’ ears) on my house & garden magazines, occasionally only,…

featherston booktown

We had it all planned. Time off work. Accommodation. Dogs booked in the kennels. Neighbours on mail collection duty. Our hearts full of anticipation and excitement and hungry for books and more. Because we were heading to the Featherston Booktown Festival! Then the borders closed, the world stopped its usual turning. Early May 2020 New…

bookshops forever

It surely has not escaped your attention that the almighty bookshop still exists. Their existence was presumed doomed when e-books loomed in every corner of the internet. But for those (like me) who firmly believe in the magic of holding a book, turning real pages and being mesmerized by a cover, the bookshop (and the…

the curious case of the capitals

No doubt you have felt frustrated or mystified about particular spelling or grammatical rules in your mother tongue. Spelling, grammar and pronunciation rules are so absorbed in our daily use of language that the basic why’s are no longer conscious or questioned, unless you are a six-year-old new entrant skilled at firing curly, uncensored questions…

secret santa

Unless it is a free for all kind of Christmas gathering and silly, funny or outright weird Secret Santa gifts are expected, finding the perfect Secret Santa gift takes up copious space in my mind if I know who the recipient is. Matching the recipient with a present unfolds in a personal competition with myself.…

ambassadors for reading

I am reposting this message: After a tough 2020, Children’s Laureates from around the world have united with a special message about the power of books and reading.  The International Children’s Laureates believe every child has the right to be a reader. Across the globe, we have continued to write and draw stories that inspire…

wordless picture books

Images are powerful, so powerful that people take them for truth, disregarding context or critical approach. But there are powerful images of a different kind. After spending a day in the company of literature enthusiasts (teachers, librarians, researchers) who had fascinating and thought provoking things to say (with words!) about nothing but wordless picture books,…

the box of books 2

For its lengthy travel, from Europe to New Zealand, this box (of books and other treats as you learnt in the previous blog) was in fine condition. This is not always the case. Occasionally, custom officers leave a note to say they’ve had a sneak peak, in the worst case scenario to inform you that…

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