Curiously Good Book Club

In praise of not-sameness: cabbage and cake

Diversity is much talked about in terms of race, gender and so on, but there is another level that is also important: in the current English-language book market, there is much that is the same. Sameness can make us all feel safe, but in our reading business, safeness is the end.

For me, risk-taking and adventure are the heart of good publishing, good book buying (and selling) and good reading; these things all belong together.

Book list: Intrepid explorers

Winter 2019 is the season of intrepid explorers in Gecko Press books: from Cam in Song of the River to Otto in Otto Goes North, from Zanzibar to The Runaways. And keep an eye out for Cornelia and the Jungle Machine later in the year.

We asked Katie at Time Out Bookstore in Auckland to recommend some stories for adventurers of all ages.

Zanzibar: Q&A with Catharina Valckx

Catharina Valckx was born in 1957 in the Netherlands. She grew up in France and now lives in Amsterdam. She has written and illustrated over thirty books and been nominated four times for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Her books are published in more than eleven languages and have won numerous awards. Zanzibar, an uplifting,… Read more »

“I like to exploit and stretch an idea until it reaches breaking point”, Leo Timmers

Leo Timmers’ new book, Monkey on the Run, has all the characteristics of his picture books. As an illustrator, Leo asks the reader to look—then look again, and again. He uses collisions, movement, problem-solving, colour and humour in his plot. Here he talks about how Monkey on the Run developed as a story, even demanding new technique.

June competition winner: Read-alouds

The Longest Breakfast Jenny Bornholdt Sarah Wilkins

Thanks for all of your responses to our June read-alouds competition. We’ve built a whole new list of picture books to read aloud.

Song of the River: Q&A with the illustrator Kimberly Andrews

Kimberly Andrews is a trained biologist and geologist who grew up in the Canadian Rockies and has lived and worked in Borneo, the UK and New Zealand. She illustrated Explore Aotearoa, shortlisted for the New Zealand children’s book award in 2018, and her first book both authored and illustrated, Puffin the Architect, was released in… Read more »

May competition: Nits

We had some lovely responses to our creepy-crawly competition last month. The following are a few honourable mentions, along with our winner.

How to read with babies by Elaine Reese

Tickle My Ears. Best Boardbooks

New parents hear advice about what’s best for their baby on a daily, even hourly basis. One popular piece of advice is “Read to your baby!” Yet no one ever seems to tell new parents how. It’s not easy to read to a baby, especially a newborn. I remember the first time I tried to… Read more »

Scary books loved by Team Wardini

At Gecko Press, we aren’t scared of scary books like Wolfy, Inside the Villains and The Yark. And keep your eyes open for another frightening treat coming later in 2019…

We asked the team at Wardini Books what they recommend to anyone who is ready for a good scare.