On 8 June, the finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults were announced, and among them is a longtime Scoop Review of Books reviewer, Nikki Slade Robinson, for her children’s picture book The Little Kiwi’s Matariki.
Following is a Q&A with Nikki about her life, inspiration and work:
Where were you born? Te Puke – though I only lived there until I was 1 month old.
Where did you go to school? Woodlands School and then Ōpōtiki College.
What were you like in school? I drew heaps. I have a maths report that says I should try not to draw quite so much in my maths book. (Don’t get me wrong, maths IS important, it’s just I understand it better when I turn it into pictures.)
What was your favourite book growing up? Tons! I loved helping unpack the cartons of books at school from the National Library Service. Miffy was the first book I remember getting hooked on. Some of our books at home had been in a school fire and they had smoke marks on the pages, and smelt smoky but I loved them just the same. Dr Seuss was utterly awesome. Then I got into Cricket magazine, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Tolkien, Harriet the Spy… there’s just too many to name.
Who is your favourite children’s author? Wah! How do I choose? There are wonderful NZ authors that would have to top the list – Margaret Mahy of course, Jack Lasenby, David Hill, Des Hunt, Joanna Orwin … there are just so many now writing such fantastic young adult books that to list them all would take ages. But they are all wonderful so hunt out kiwi authors next time you go to the library or bookshop!! Read more »