Caitlin goes by the pen name Viola Vincent, a teen reporter who, while on holiday, becomes sick after swimming in a local waterhole and she finds herself in the middle of a community’s environmental challenge. Troubled Water is the third book in the Viola Vincent Reporting series, however this story stands alone, but I imagine readers will be as interested as I am in reading the first two books too.
Mātauranga Māori has been woven into the story, and the river and waterways are highlighted to be living things with mauri/lifeforce, “Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au, I am the river and the river is me”. Māori characters are strong and leaders, especially the young Anahera who grows with confidence throughout the story, standing up and declaring “We are kaitiaki”.
Anna Kenna strikes a fabulous balance in her writing, of humour and imagery that readers will relate to, “Her throat was dry and she felt like a small bird was fluttering inside her rib cage”. I liked the inclusions of different formats, emails, newspaper articles and texts, young readers will like this variety and it adds to the authenticity of the story.
The old saying is true, never judge a book by its cover, and I feel this rings true for this book. The cover does not portray the exciting, NZ based story inside, and with a predominately purple colour scheme that will, unfortunately, stop some readers (boys and girls) reaching for it. I will actively promote it to ensure it gets the circulation it deserves.
I really enjoyed this story, adventurous, topical and the Mātauranga Māori content makes it a perfect classroom read aloud.
Title: Viola Vincent Reporting: Troubled Water
Author: Anna Kenna
Illustrator: Vida Kelly
Publisher: Tiromoana Publishing
Themes: Climate change, environmental impacts of farming.
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? A few words might need changing if using for a class read aloud, e.g., bullshit, bloody, crap.
Would this book work as a read aloud? Yes
Is there a particular part of the country that it’s set in? No
Reviewer: Louana McCormack, Librarian, Opaheke School, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended.
Opening sentence: They knew the storm was coming but nothing could have prepared them for the fury.
You can buy this book here