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Reviewed by Ava Preece
Opening sentence
A fresh look at housing through poems.
More than a roof is a collaboration of experienced and fresh new poets, published by Landing Press and edited by Adrienne Jansen.

I think this is such a good book, full of powerful poetry and very talented poets. So many emotions are portrayed throughout More than a roof, creating a heartfelt atmosphere of understanding and gratefulness. It’s magical! 

Though I’m new to reading it, I love to write poetry, which is why I chose More than a roof. I love poetry, and I find it’s a way to express yourself in different, more abstract ways. I feel like I write like I'm older than I really am and I find poetry lets me use all those words and vocabulary that I have stored up over the years, advanced or basic. I found the book was very inspirational and that it fired up my inner poetry flame, which had me spouting rhymes for days!

Its cover is visually pleasing, with all the different things, like the tūī, the keys, the money, everything, slotting in perfectly together like puzzle pieces, it just gives me the shivers. The overall format is very appetising, with its ‘title-poet-poem-poet’s background’ setup, and it gives it a sense of organisation, shape and pattern.

With some minimal mild swearing and inappropriate language, I recommend this collection to readers aged 13 and up. I also feel like its depth and complexity wouldn’t quite be as easy to grasp for younger readers, but I might be wrong.

I remember thinking “Why is this a problem?” while reading ‘Current Address’ by Preeta Menon. Why is homelessness haunting this beautiful country? I found that the topic of homelessness and poverty was quite relevant, as 39% of New Zealanders are homeless. Not everyone has a place to call home, and I love that this book brings the topic of homelessness into the spotlight. Truly eye-opening. 

I’ve also recently moved, so all the trepidation and lostness is still quite raw and I needed to feel like it wasn’t just me and my family going through such an upheaval all alone. This collection includes so many different views on housing, but such similar understandings. I simply adore how they all use unique line forms, making every poem an adventure and a half. Exhilarating!

My favourite poem in the whole book was ‘Where the heart is’ by Kris Gibb. It hit me hard, so close to home, punchy and understandable. What I really loved was the first stanza. The first stanza grabbed me like how a friend grabs you and drags you into things you're not so eager to do. It truly is a wonderful piece of poetry. 

This book got me thinking, considering what I have that others don’t. I’m quite grateful for my life now, and am trying to make an effort to take things for granted less. This book is like a lolly scramble, long poems, short poems, you never know what you’re going to get! More than a roof, a wonderful book!

- Ava is 12 and lives in the Chatham Islands.
Author & Illustrator: Edited by Adrienne Jansen
Publisher: Landing Press
ISBN: 9780473593629
Format: Paperback
Publication: 2021
Themes: Housing, poverty