Huia have been producing some really great chapter books in recent years- I loved Charlie Tangaroa and Falling into Rarohenga and the kids in my library have enjoyed Hine and the Tohunga Portal and The Pōrangi Boy. This new novel by Lauren Keenan also features siblings and missing people and mythical creatures but the focus here is on adventure and history. Amorangi and Millie travel through time meeting their ancestors through New Zealand history from the mid 1800’s to present day. They marvel at old timey things like gramophones, telephones and clothes irons but the book also briefly explores darker themes of stolen land, war, institutional abuse and loss of culture. The children learn about facts and dates but also pick up on the true hardships their ancestors face. They knew that life in the past wasn’t as convenient as it is now but they also learn that life in the past was far more unjust, racist, classist and mean. At times I found the remembering who is who and which date we are reading about quite confusing and convoluted but I think that sharp young readers will enjoy the twisty turny aspect of this punchy historical novel.
Amorangi and Millie’s Trip through Time has just been announced as a finalist in the 2022 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Title: Amorangi and Millie’s Trip through Time
Author: Lauren Keenan
Format: paperback and e-book
Publication: February 2022
Themes: time travel, whanau, adventure
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? none
Would this book work as a read aloud? Yes
Is there a particular part of the country that it’s set in? Taranaki
Reviewer: Lucy Black, Librarian, Mt Cook School Wellington
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening sentence: Amorangi didn’t mean to lose his mum, especially not while walking to school on a Tuesday morning.
You can buy this book here