Pukerua Bay au­thor non-fic­tion fi­nal­ist


With a view like the one from Gil­lian Can­dler’s of­fice it’s no won­der the au­thor doesn’t lack in­spi­ra­tion.

Perched above Pukerua Bay, north of Wellington, her house has breath­tak­ing views of the ocean and the oc­ca­sional marine mam­mal.

‘‘The view does in­spire me. I’ve been lucky enough to see the dol­phins pass­ing by.’’

Can­dler writes books about things New Zealand chil­dren will recog­nise.

Her re­cent book, Whose Beak Is This?, is a fi­nal­ist in the non­fic­tion cat­e­gory of the New Zealand Book Awards for Chil­dren and Young Adults.

Il­lus­trated by Fraser Williamson, the book fea­tures eleven na­tive birds and the reader can guess which beak be­longs to each bird.

‘‘We start at the eas­i­est beak to iden­tify, be­cause it be­longs to the kiwi.’’

She de­cided to give the birds both their Maori and English names in a way that’s easy to learn for chil­dren.

‘‘It’s also a fun way of in­tro­duc­ing an­i­mal adap­ta­tions.’’

It’s the third time Can­dler has been a fi­nal­ist in the awards and her book At the Beach won the Elsie Locke Medal in 2013.

Her very first book was in­spired by Pukerua Bay’s rock pools and coast­line.

‘‘The book was the one I al­ways wanted for my son when he was grow­ing up.

‘‘I wrote it for lit­tle chil­dren about what you could find at the beach and it’s still a best seller.’’

Can­dler is able to de­vote most of her time to writ­ing these days af­ter a ca­reer teach­ing and work­ing in ed­u­ca­tional me­dia.

‘‘Be­ing a par­ent and a teacher def­i­nitely in­flu­enced me. It’s just so fun, the more I can write the hap­pier I am.’’

It’s im­por­tant that New Zealand chil­dren recog­nise their own coun­try in books, some­thing she knows from her own ex­pe­ri­ence.

Born in Eng­land, she came to live in New Zealand as a child and looked for some­thing to read about the coun­try.

‘‘There wasn’t much to read and I won­dered where was this coun­try in lit­er­a­ture?

‘‘I came across a book called The Run­away Set­tlers by Elsie Locke that had New Zealand land­scapes. You have to read about your own coun­try.’’

Her next book fea­tures Moa and di­nosaurs.

New Zealand au­thor Gil­lian Can­dler’s third book ‘Whose beak is this?’ fea­tur­ing na­tive birds, and their beaks, is a fi­nal­ist in the Chil­drens Book Awards

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