Bad Oil and the Animals had its beginnings somewhere in the author’s own childhood and refused to rest until written down. But first came Socks, a story on homelessness that won the 2012 Jack Lasenby Award for children’s writing.
Next, An Unexpected Hero (2014) centred around twelve year old Matt, described by David Hill as ‘a very likeable, very credible and genuinely unlikely hero who startles everyone, including himself, by what he’s able to do.’ Matt’s trials and eventual triumph parallel his growing understanding of the bravery and boldness of World War 1 pacifist Archie Baxter, father of poet James K. Baxter.
Now Bad Oil and the Animals introduces a multicultural group of teenage activists aiming a spotlight at animal welfare in New Zealand and elsewhere. From the Cook Islands, China, Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand, the five students bring wildly diverse talents to their risky but ultimately successful campaign.
The book’s main characters are much like the young people that the author meets when she visits schools –alert, capable and bursting with energy and conviction. This writer can’t get enough of writing action-packed, fact based adventures. Look for her work also in Historicool, an Australian young people’s magazine.
Her next book involves two teenage girls facing awesome, real life challenges with extraordinary support from a mysterious women’s network.