Although it's the middle of winter, I'm hunkering down with a book about cricket. Seems appropriate, given the World Test Championship. I've had a lifelong romance with cricket since falling in love with it at Mt Roskill Grammar. The Men Who Raised the Bar, by Chris Waters, is a terrific book telling the stories of the 10 highest test batting scores. The current record was set by Brian Lara in 2002 so it's about time it fell. Kane [Williamson], I'm looking at you.
I'm in my second year of studying te reo Māori through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Māori Made Easy, by the wonderful Scotty Morrison, is beside my bed, along with its follow-up, Māori Made Easy 2 - a little light reading to help my dreams become bilingual. Pūrākau - Māori Myths Retold by Māori Writers, edited by Witi Ihimaera and Whiti Hereaka, is by my bed too. It's a glorious kete of Māori voices: rich, colourful, funny, moving, profound.
As submissions editor at Toitoi, I read stories and poems every week from young Kiwis aged 5-13. Their focus right now is on social justice and the environment. I'm concerned that we're burdening our young people with the responsibility of saving the world when, in fact, it's going to take a mighty team effort from us all. A friend just lent me How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, so I'll see what Bill Gates has to say.
To stay mentally youthful, I often time-travel to my childhood. I am re-reading my beloved, battered paperback copy of The Story of Maude Reed by Norah Lofts, written in 1971 and set in medieval times. This inspirational tale celebrates young female feistiness combined with wisdom - just what the world needs now.
Mangrove, by Glenda Kane and Lisa Allen (Bateman Books, $25), is out now. The book launch is on June 20 at 3pm at The Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop in Auckland, all welcome.