This book is a re-release of the story with a new cover; brighter, colourful and more appealing for today’s readers. It is one in the "My New Zealand Story" series which gives diary-style insights into important events in NZ’s history.
Maddy chronicles daily life with her family and at school as Christchurch City is thrown into chaos following major earthquakes and multiple aftershocks. This book is based on real events occurring in Christchurch 2010-2011.
The book opens with Maddy, eleven years old, hoping desperately that she’ll get a cellphone for her birthday even though her older sister had to wait until she turned thirteen.
Soon Maddy’s family have more to worry about than rules about cellphones as the city experiences a major earthquake and life becomes about using a long drop toilet, digging up liquefaction and hosting displaced family members.
The story is not divided into chapters but as a day-by-day diary, flowing well, describing emotions, worries and the trauma experienced by Cantabrians during this time.
However, community spirit is shown in looking out for elderly neighbours; and despite the deaths, stress, arguments, flaring tempers and upheaval there is hope and resilience.
At the back of the book are eleven pages of photographs illustrating different ways the earthquakes impacted infrastructure and daily life. A helpful glossary defines words relating to earthquakes, but thankfully not in everyday use.
This book is a great reminder that life is not always fair and good, and of the importance of kindness and community.
Title: Canterbury Quake
Author: Desna Wallace
Publisher: Scholastic NZ
Publication: First published 2014; this edition 2020
Ages: 9-13 years
Reviewer: Nova Gibson, Librarian, Massey Primary School, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Highly Recommended
Opening Sentence: I’ve been dropping hints for ages.