Bubble Burst Book List: Gavin Bishop

We’ve got another Bubble Burst Book List to share with you today, this time from author and illustrator Gavin Bishop.

Gavin Bishop is the creator of more than 70 books. Among the numerous fellowships and book prizes throughout his career, highlights include the Margaret Mahy Award for Services to NZ Children’s Literature (2000), an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury (2016), the Te Waka Toi Nga Tohu a Ta Kingi Ihaka / Sir Kingi Ihaka Award for services to Maori art and culture (2018), the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (2019) and he was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in 2013.

gavin bishop

Te Hei Tiki by Dougal Austin, published by Te Papa Press.

I already have a copy of this book but I want another to send to a friend in the USA. I have read most of the text and have perused the illustrations admiring the terrific range of old and new tiki. Some of the designs by artists such as Lewis Gardiner and Joel Masters show the innovative ways that a traditional formula can be taken in new and exciting directions.

This book also has significant meaning for me because one of the artists, Phil Blecher, who works using traditional methods and techniques for carving stone, is an ex-student of mine from the days I taught high school art 25 years ago. I am proud to say I have some of his early pieces in my collection. He taonga enei.

Merchant, Miner, Mandarin – The Life and Times of the Remarkable Choie Sew Hoy by Jenny Sew Hoy Agnew and Trevor Agnew, published by Canterbury University Press.

This was written by two friends of mine who are great supporters of New Zealand literature and children’s literature in particular. Jenny is a Sew Hoy, from the well-known Chinese family who have for many generations lived and worked in Dunedin. As a child from Invercargill I remember the name of Sew Hoy above the doors of shops when we visited Dunedin during the school holidays. The launch of this book has been held up because of the Covid pandemic, but I are hoping to see it in the shops sometime in June.

Greenery: Journeys in Springtime by Tim Dee, published by Penguin NZ.

I only know of this book through a couple of reviews but it sounds like the sort of book we should be reading at the moment when the natural world that we constantly abuse has been give a few weeks rest from our onslaught. Bird song has increased, the rustling of leaves in the wind is no longer drowned out by the sound traffic and in the north of India the Himalayas can be seen on the horizon once more.

The author, Tim Dee follows the paths of migratory birds from South Africa to Scandinavia and later watches the progress of Spring across Britain. As an elderly father Dee wrote this book for his young son and as one reviewer noted, “It is a lesson in how to love the world, in how to look at it, and behind everything there beats a deeper message: that spring cannot exist without winter, that life needs death to define it.”

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