Category Archives: Children’s Books


People I admire who are community-minded, would have to be people like the team at the Salvation Army.

Teenagers and families in communities are on their mind 24-7. In these times where the greed of a few is like rust, that never sleeps – you have to respect what The Salvation Army do. They’re about helping people. I like that.

Click on the shield above, if you would like to make a difference.

If in the USA, click here.

~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 24.11.11~



In the world of storytelling, it has to be said that adaptations from best selling children’s books and cartoon books, then adapted into film franchises, are a winning formula to accrue strong box office market share. According to Box Office Mojo, author Georges Rémi who wrote under the moniker, Hergé – his comic series of children’s books – now on film – is doing well at the box office.

Total Lifetime Grosses – The Adventures of Tintin.
US Domestic Figures To Date:  n/a    0.0%
Foreign:  $125,300,000    100.0%

Worldwide:  $125,300,000

Not a shabby effort at all, so far.

[Photos via Box Office Mojo]

~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 9.11.11~



New Zealand journalist Kim Knight, wrote a column about creative visionary Tim Geisel, creator of the Dr Seuss children’s book series. Her editor’s eye, deserves some playback today. Here she goes:

The rhyming magic of Dr Seuss is back with a ‘new’ collection of lost stories. Kim Knight looks at Ted Geisel’s legacy and how his creativity endures.

Legend has it a bottle of gin led to the creation of Dr Seuss.

It’s the early 1920s and Theodor “Ted” Geisel is drinking in his Dartmouth College dorm room. Busted, he is banned from writing for the university’s magazine. He takes his middle name (and his mother’s maiden name), adds a “Dr” to the pseudonym – and the rest is publishing history.

True story?

“I think he was a fun guy,” says a diplomatic Susan Brandt, La Jolla, California-based licensing and marketing president of Dr Seuss Enterprises. “I think perhaps that might have happened.” Read the rest of this entry »



From early childhood teacher to aspiring children’s book author, Michelle French is writing the Van Hooten Tootens into a potential book series.

One of Michelle’s lines is: “Mum wakes us up in the morning by tooting her flute. It sounds like a choir of mermaids and feels like warm melting fudge.”


Michelle’s proof reader is her Dutch doctor. How cool.

~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 8.11.11~



Question of the Day: Should treasurer Bill English be drug tested and fired on the hokey spot?!!! Or, should we give him extra drugs, to get through this mess?!

I was talking to John, an engineer by trade, in the weekend. He said “Sam, do you think they should really rebuild Christchurch? We’ll be paying it off for twenty years.” John is a Northlander in his twenties.

I feel uncomfortable sharing my political views with younger people, simply because I like them to form their own opinions, without my taint. But John really did want my honest view.

As a once resident of Christchurch, I said, “Yeah I do, but I think the government should stop bluffing, admit they haven’t planned a rebuild very well, and let us know what the real figures cost. They said it was about $13 billion once, but they should just admit its going to be $20 billion. Or, they should fess up, as to what weapons, ships, planes, subs etc, they’re buying or supporting offshore, while they bleed everyone in the North Island, to do so.”

See why I shouldn’t share my political views with younger Kiwis. I’m too blunt and honest.

That was on Sunday, the day after the New Zealand All Blacks won the World Cup in the sport of rugby football.

Well, on Monday, our rugby team went for a visit to Christchurch. It was a joyous occasion for Christchurch people who have survived aftershock after aftershock from quakes and other problemic matters due to quakes, in the last 12 months, in a city where large parts of it, were simply poorly planned and built in the wrong place. To find out the truth, is always a painful process. But now that Christchurch really knows what it’s made of, it’s time to move onto solid ground and get a new look. A modest one, that’s as modern as possible on a very tight budget in the recession years era, of the world.

On the same day (yesterday), Treasurer Bill English, demonstrating a display of the alarmingly and rather delusional escalating creeps, renegged on his initial $12-13 billion estimate (March figures), to his $15 billion estimate figures (more recently), to say after a line up of foreign experts had all given their expert opinions, that Christchurch would cost $20 billion, upwards of $30 billion. That budget just crept right on up there dontchathink?

I had mixed emotions. The Kiwi part of me that did not live in Christchurch was happy with a $20 billion rebuild figure, (as discussed with John on Sunday), yet I was not so happy with an “oh, upwards to $30 billion figure” Mr English waved about so casually yesterday. This $10billion extra, could be the moment, that was the tipping point for New Zealand, where we say – we once used to own most of New Zealand, now we don’t. We don’t know these risky economic times. So the $30billion was a brassy gamble, in anyone’s books!

I love Christchurch City and its beautiful people, but seeing them as “darlings” or “pets of our national heart and empathy” immediately ceased when Mr English gave his “new figures” sourced from Lord knows what, or who, or how?!!! Suddenly Christchurch were not so cute. They were high maintenance, in an unrealistically built, thus unsafe city.

But let’s get back to Bill’s rather creative budget add ons propensity, he’s developed of late. How can we honestly believe this lad’s budget projections, when quoting a nation’s figures or budgets, after he more than doubles his first quote, he gave in March, a mere 7 months on. In 7 months time, is Bill going to say “Oh, well, it’s changed, Christchurch will now be $50 billion or upwards of $60billion. Sorry we got it wrong again?!” If you were a CEO, you’d get fired. Period.

Bill’s government’s whole schtick since being in power, has been “oh, we’re going to get rid of all the cowboys in the building industry.” And other such claims, using Christchurch as “the template” to do this. Compliance laws and tests and bogus, condemning rhetoric have been his government’s fake currency, of “we’ll fine you, if you don’t comply.” Well, I may be a bit like blind Freddie’s dog (on a good day), but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or criminologist to work out that Bill and his Southern mates are the biggest shonky cowboys of us all. Any so called “cowboy builder” who misquoted a rebuilding job, and then went back and doubled their quote, before the job had even started, would be shot.

How can Bill, get away with this? It’s just not professional.

The next emotions I felt, about the doubled budget for Christchurch, were as a Maori Kiwi. Show me one Iwi (Maori tribe) whose apology from The Crown (Govt) for the confiscation of thousands of hectares of land, illegally, has even been awarded a billion bucks, for their “dislocation, displacement and upsetting troubles” in settlement of grievance, after 171 years waiting for redress on their tribal situations of geographical favoring? You won’t find one. The humorous part of me says, “Christchurch are the new ‘golden Maoris’ of all Kiwis in New Zealand. They are Kiwi royalty with this treatment.” Hey, good for them! But this also looks incredibly racist, regionalist and like a votes buy waved on yet another future “promise.” Although Ngai Tahu may disagree with me on this one.”

In terms of 20 year-olds who work, pay taxes and are raising families elsewhere in this fine country (like John and his family), I must ask – what return will all the rest of non-Christchurch people, get from Christchurch people for their kindness and investment (if they agree to Bill’s vampiric bleeds), for the next twenty years of paying taxes, in this rebuild scheme and new figures given? I think someone like John who works as an engineer for ten hours a day, deserves to have an answer from Christchurch people. John doesn’t even yet own his first home. He rents. Will Christchurch people delay first time home owners from getting on the board, earlier and how will Christchurch people repay John and his family, for their kindness to Cantabrians in the years to come? If so, how?! Spell it out for John and his young family of Kiwis, please. These are the types of issues, that other home towns in New Zealand, of young people are asking at these new figures.

In New Zealand, a company like Fonterra declared that revenue for the year to July 31 was up 19% to $19.9 billion, according to the NBR’s report. Christchurch City doesn’t earn that each year, so how can it repay the heavy toll Kiwis and corporates are expected to pour into Christchurch with the extra $10billion figure, Bill English pulled out of his ass, yesterday? Most of Fonterra’s revenue comes from the North. And, it’s a private collective of farmers, not government owned that make up Fonterra’s earning capability. In addition, the government’s main earner, the Meridian Energy power company, belongs to all New Zealanders, not just Cantabrians or Southlanders (certainly not politicians), so what exactly will Canterbury do, to justify this spoiled “high quality spend” and return sufficient revenue, to convince us – that they’re worth another $15 billion in tough times, where economically that’s quite possibly like $30 billion to earn in such times.I don’t want to be disrespective to families who lost people they loved, but now that we know Christchurch is built in the wrong place, we must get realistic about this. Much of it, is a hazard. Unsafe. Therefore, like John asked, “is it wise to even rebuild it?” A fair comment.

If Christchurch can’t get real about this, the City looks like a bunch of bleeders, and I’m sure the pride of the South, wouldn’t stoop to gangsta levels. It’s just not Southern culture, apparently. But, now it could be. No one in the North wants to be forced into a scenario of “economic bullying” by what the government sees is a good idea, when they just double budgets, in such uncertain and unknown economic times. I mean, this year – even Santa Claus is on an extreme budget! for 80% of people worldwide. :)

I have never seen anything like this before in New Zealand politics ($17 billion budget add ons – for a few). It’s just too easy to favor some over others, without thinking their won’t be a backlash. The ones doing the driving of this are all from Christchurch or Southland. One region of politicians can not slay or sacrifice everyone else’s potential through overburdening them to pay (this is economic bullying). I’m sorry, that’s not democracy. It’s greedy.

I’m comfortable with the $20billion figures (up $5billion from the $15billion previous quoted). That’s a margin of miscalculation of 25% – but to have a margin of error of 100% means that, a head should roll, here. And, also means that Christchurch people needed a Fonterra company revenue earning of their own, to justify this.

Although, I am happy for Christchurch people in this moment (with a REAL rebuild now being thought about, not bluffed), yet I want to see Canterbury not tax (or think their suffering justifies a huge tax hike over many years, resulting in a depletion of services in other regions) for all of New Zealanders like John to have to pay for – at their expense. Northland could have bought some good French rugby football players with some of that money, for example to re-kick start their rugby profile. Now they can’t. All because of Canterbury!

Somewhere between all of these emotions we feel for Christchurch – is a harmonious balance. I’m not feeling it from Bill, who should no longer have his job. Or Gerry should walk the plank on this.

One thing’s certain (and I don’t want to shoot Mr English as the messenger of a message), but it just looks like the man does not have a clue in being able to count – when getting estimates wrong by 100%! Neither does Gerry Brownlee, his piggy side kick whose too loud in this government’s ear with lies and spin. It’s a huge bleed of 80% of New Zealand, for Cantabrians well being.

The South Island needs to remember that they are the minority population of NZ, (equal in spirit) and to calm their good and troubled selves down and be a bit more reasonable and feasable (in a good way!) for the rest of us fellow Kiwis.

If Christchurch doesn’t, then this government that has under-produced during its first term (albeit in difficult times), will then suggest state asset sales to pay for Christchurch’s rebuild. Read the rest of this entry »



The day of the Rugby World Cup Final 2011, (the rugby world’s Super Bowl match of all nations on earth who play the sport) baby Ezra Hōri, the youngest person in our family, was in full prep-mode before the big football match?

What did our young Kiwi legend in the making do? He ate A REAL KIWI APPLE (best apples in the world).

Then his great-grandparents swung by. His Pakeha great-grandad played him songs on a ukelele, while his Maori great-grandma sung him a song she’d learned in Tongan, on the Island paradise where his Maori grandma was once born. Afterwards, they read him his favorite book about farming – while his grandma Rachel smiled encouragingly on the sidelines.

Then his Uncle Lou Davis II turned up to grab a plank of wood for his next building and home improvements project. While his cousin Louis Davis III taught Ezra about sporting great, Piri Weepu‘s life story, so far. Then his Aunty Shazza (Sharon) had snuggle time with her nephew. The moment is captured in these photos above.

Ezra has three options to watch the rugby in Northland (Top of New Zealand) tonight. He can either watch it at home in Kamo, or with Te Ora Hou Northland‘s team of on-the-pulse, life-changing youth motivators. They build communities for young people’s futures to be improved. Ezra is a fan of their children that he plays with sometimes.

His third option to watching the rugby tonight, is an oldie-but-a-goodie, where baby Ezra can snuggle up with his great grand-parents too and watch the lads in black from Aotearoa, New Zealand do what they do best – turn on a rugby football show that reflects one aspect of Kiwi peoples unquantifiable spirit working together as a team.

Now that our babies in Aotearoa are ready for the big match – Go The Mighty All Blacks! Mauri Ora.

~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 23.10.11~



Rhonda Kite is so innovative that you just want to clone her with new stem cell research, to cure the pandemic of dwindling economies.

Business Day gives this inspiring story. “

Interactive digital book maker Kiwa Media is about to expand into more international markets including China after it secured a significant capital injection from New Zealand-based Chinese investors.

The Auckland company, founded by 2002 Maori Businesswoman of the Year Rhonda Kite, makes multi-lingual read-along digital books for iPads, iPhones and eBook readers through its application Qbook.

New Zealand Chinese investors led by Dr Xiaying Fu bought a 25 per cent stake in Kiwa last month which will allow the business to expand further, particularly into the Chinese market.

Kite told BusinessDay that demand for Kiwa’s digital book products had increased significantly in the last 18 months with the growing popularity of iPads, and China had been identified as a key growth market.

“I’d been looking around for a while for an investor but as it turned out this has been ideal for us,” Kite said.

“Dr Fu had done her personal due diligence on the product and loved it, and we’d had some success with the press from the 2010 Hong Kong book fair we attended so it was kind of clear we were designing our product for the Asian market.”

Books Kiwa had already adapted to be read on its Qbook app will be translated into Chinese and Chinese books will be developed into Qbook format as part of its expansion into that country. Read the rest of this entry »



Steven Spielberg, Sir Peter Jackson and “Tin Tin” are doing innovative collaboration to bring kids comic books alive on the big screen.

When not working with Spielberg, Jackson continues work on The Hobbit, a tale of epic proportions that tells of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit of Middle-Earth who he is ‘compelled to go on a quest to find a treasure buried deep in the heart of Lonely Mountain. The film stars Rob Kazinsky amongst the line up of interntional eclectic actors.

On the Spielberg Tin Tin project, Sir Peter shared in a the Facebook post, ‘the film had been a long time coming. “Once the movie is ‘shot’ on the motion-capture stage, it takes another two years to complete. It’s probably been five years since Steven and I started working on it.”

He said the Tintin books by Belgian artist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name of Herge, were the first he had read as a child.

“I fell in love with them … I would grab a new Tintin book and happily spend three hours totally lost in the adventure.”

Tintin comics were first published in 1929, and have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide.

Sir Peter said it was a pleasure to witness the “skill and creative instincts” of Spielberg and be involved in the innovative technology on set.

Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis are in front of you wearing motion capture suits, but point the camera at them, and on the monitor you see Tintin and Captain Haddock.

“This is not animation – it’s live action film making in a real-time virtual world. You shoot many takes, just like a normal movie.”

Sir Peter is scheduled to direct the second film in the series.’

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is due to be released in 3D and 2D on Boxing Day.

The movie’s trailer can be viewed here.

To also see some stars of the Kaipara being cast in a Peter Jackson film, go here for a peek.

[Photograph courtesy of Vanity Fair]

~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia, Asia Pacific. 20.5.11~



Many moons ago (about a million) when I was a kiwi Kid, I grew up reading the books of Margaret Mahy. Recently Mahy won an award for her new book that she was “absolutely astonished” to be awarded, from a judging panel who described her latest creation as an “absolute treasure.”


The story reads like this: ” Acclaimed New Zealand children’s writer Margaret Mahy, 75, has won New Zealand’s premier children’s book award with her book, The Moon and Farmer McPhee.

The book, illustrated by David Elliott, also won the award for the best picture book. It tells the story of Farmer McPhee – a once grumpy farmer who learned to enventually like his farm animals.

Ms Mahy, who wrote her first story when she was 7, has won numerous awards and honours for her contribution to New Zealand and children’s literature.

She has written more than 120 books which have been translated into 15 languages. She has also won many of the world’s premier children’s book awards, including the Carnegie Medal and the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Her book A Lion in the Meadow, published in 1969, launched her global career and she became a full time writer in 1980.

Other winners can be read here:

~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 20.5.11~



Tamariki (or chidlren) are always gifts, as a nation’s future.

Reading the local rag in New Zealand this weekend (one of them) I noticed that Maori babies make up one in 4 of all Kiwi babies being born today. This news is exciting.

I also notice that 4000 or so, teen moms have babies each year in a nation that has more cows (5.9 million) than people (4.5 million). Fancy that! Only in New Zealand.

The news article I was reading, was hard hitting and informed New Zealand readers that half of teen parent moms are Maori. It reminds me of America, where 1 in 4 children in American kindergartens are Latino or Hispanic American. This dynamic educationalist have embraced with a passion for America’s future and the youthful energy of it moving the US forward.

Maintaining a Hollywood blog occasinally (now writing it from New Zealand), I know first hand, that American teen moms are media staples in America. On some days, these young ladies can outdo Angelina Jolie (a mother of six and a big star of US culture worldwide) with their latest magazine cover stories. Teen parents and their struggles are big news in a nation of 308 million people.On a democratic level, teen moms are big big news as voted by the American people.

If teen parents are so important in the world (based on these statistics alone in the science and art of blogging stats rating well), then perhaps we need to GIVE WAY in New Zealand and make room on the media landscapes for such citizens to have a presence that is of them, for them, and even created by teen parents and their enthusiastic, non-judgemental supporters as a nation’s parents too.

[Rachel is pictured above enjoying quality bonding time with her first grandchild, Ezra Hōri. Rachel was once a teen mother herself and today works for Fonterra, marketing New Zealand's finest dairy produce to the world. Her greatest joy is enjoying spending time with her children and this little guy].

Here’s my suggestions towards making a world that actually gives teen parents a voice and their own media to participate in and share their parenting successes.

We need to create a culture of successful parenting being shared, acknowledged and celebrated for such young parents I think. This will help stop child abuse as well as share and celebrate good parenting skills amongst an emerging generation of vital New Zealanders. Some suggestions are:

Regular media profiles of leaders who were once teen parents themselves please.

A reality TV series (like the US has) for teen parents celebrating their triumphs, struggles and achievements as parents raising children and educating themselves too. A name like Pepi Pai Street would do. Read the rest of this entry »




Creative Thinking – An animated feature film kid’s idea – 2010′s animation entertainment:

According to The Reed Pocket Dictonary of Modern Maori (Maori-English, English Maori), edited by P.M.Ryan the word kikpounamu means katydid.

Nature teaches us, that the katydid is of the tettigoniidae family. In America, they are called katydids. In British English, they are the word for bush-crickets. Many tettigoniids exhibit mimicry and camouflage with shapes and colors, as they move across different colored leaves and foliage.

As a motif, a katydid is perhaps very fitting in the fast moving (global) multi-media age of Facebook and Twitter pics  culture – created at lightning quick moments 24-7.

As I write this from a cricket mad nation (the sport) and a green thinking one too, I think the katydid or kikipounamu or bush-cricket could be successfully turned into an animated feature film idea. Hollywood box office history shows that such themes sell very well for the kids. Perhaps Weta Workshops might like to develop this concept further, or Disney or Dreamworks too.

There’s got to be a kikipounamu animated feature film idea in this word. Surely! :)

[Photographic artwork courtesy of Design Style - blue-winged grasshopper broach]

~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific, 5.2. 2011~



I was thinking about writing a story, a children’s book about every Libyan kid that’s ever had a dream, felt excluded without twitter access, who wanted to belong on an iPhone, or go to a Starbucks, and hoped that one day they could do what they loved and make a difference and share their Subway sandwich combos choices on Facebook.”–but you know… NATO can write that one. :)

Instead I think that maybe the world needs to see a Polynesian super heroes children’s book series as a refreshing alternative. I mean no one on the planet has done a book series like this one, ever. It’s called a new idea. I think Libya’s kids would love it as well. The first book would see the young superheroes go to Libya, then Japan, China, then New York, then Africa, then Australia in subsequent books of the series.

It would be amazing what adventures they would get up to on their travels as super friends. Maybe I should just give the idea to a thirteen year-old artist instead –that would be even more amazing!

Here’s six things you’re loving right now in Hollywood and sharing via social media.

1. Reblle fleur ink by Rihanna

2. Ms. Palicki gets a big tick from me in her new job

3. Super Kōhatu Maori humor

4. Australia is wired tightly to IT like few other nations are

5. Facebook producing – The Winklevoss twins are lol!

6. Family humor – Tattoos, Amber Portwood & baby Leah

Bonus Music linkNesian Mystik – Polynsian’s greatest boy band rocks out

American bloggers hard at work to check out too are: Boing BoingBrave New FilmsBuzzFeedPeek (Alternet)Political AnimalPolitical Capital (CNBC)Political WireRaw StoryRedstate.orgSeeing The ForestThe Swamp (Chicago Tribune)Swampland (Time)TalkLeftRead the rest of this entry »


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