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