Friday, 9 August 2019

A New Zealand book every kid should read before the age of 12 - I am not Esther by Fleur Beale

The New Zealand Book Council came up with a list of books by New Zealanders that they reckon every kid should have read by the age of 12.  I decided to check out the ones I haven't read and post about the ones I agreed were good (in no particular order).

I am not Esther is a complete standout.  I loved this book and think it is suitable not only for the tweenies it was aimed at but for adults too.  It's a quick read as well which is a bonus.

I do find it a bit odd that a story like this (with no pictures) is lumped into the same category as story board books but there you go.

The blurb describes it as a psychological thriller – I didn't think it was that.  For me it was a fascinating story about a mother and daughter whose lives are impacted by the mother's having grown up in a very fundamentalist religion.

It is a nuanced story and doesn't demonise the religious folk but does explore the long term ramifications on people who cannot stay with it.

The book was published in 1998 but has certainly stood the test of time.

Bottom line – just read it!


  1. Never heard of it. Must read it. Thanks to you and the New Zealand Book Council!

  2. Sounds totally interesting. Like so many of the books you suggested, I'll see that I get it and read it.

    Thank you.


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