IT’S a prestigious start for new Southland author Pauline Smith, with her first book, My New Zealand Story: Dawn Raid, named a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
She is one of 33 finalists selected from 152 entries submitted for the 2018 awards.
Her book has been nominated in two categories – Best First Book and Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction.
“I feel a bit overwhelmed, but also chuffed people are reading my book and enjoying it,” Smith said.
“I also feel grateful because the book comes to life when other people read it.”
Finalists have been selected for each of seven categories in the annual awards with the category winner to be selected by a panel of judges. The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in Wellington in August.
The Wright Family Foundation is sponsoring two categories – the Te Kura Pounamu Award and the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction.
Chief executive Chloe Wright said the awards was a perfect fit with the foundation’s goal of growing the good in New Zealand.
“Education is at the heart of everything we do, and supporting literacy is one of our key goals,” she said.
“The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is a wonderful vehicle to support New Zealand authors to create fantastic books that ignite the passion of our young people.”
Dawn Raidis the first book Smith (nee Vaeluaga) has written. It was launched at a function at the Southland Masonic Centre in March and was reprinted at the beginning of last month.
It is the 28th book in Scholastic New Zealand’s “My New Zealand Story” series, which tell of significant events in New Zealand’s history as seen through the eyes of fictitious child diarists.
Smith’s story focuses on the dawn raids of the mid-1970s, when police raids were carried out on Pasifika households throughout the country during former Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s campaign against overstayers. Through 13-year-old Sofia’s diary, she tells of the terror of being dawn-raided and the work of the Polynesian Panthers to encourage immigrant families in New Zealand to stand up for their rights.
Smith said she intended to write more books.