March 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of Cyclone Bola was one of the costliest cyclones in the history of New Zealand.
When Amy's parents decide to go and sail a yacht back to NZ from Vanuatu, Amy is sent to stay with her great uncle and aunt on a vineyard near Gisborne. When reports of Bola start coming through, Amy's initial worry is for her parents... then the cyclone moves closer, and strikes the East Coast of NZ with devastating effect
This is a brilliant book. Written in diary form, but also by using Amy's letters to her teacher Mrs Henderson, if you read this book you will learn not only about Cyclone Bola (and about cyclones in general) and the devastation that it wrought across the East Coast but also about the history of Gisborne and the East Cape lots of geographical information and an awful lot about growing grapes. This book was just filled with information and is a very realistic window into what life was really like at the time of Cyclone Bola in 1988.
There is great detail about the impact of the cyclone and about the heroic rescue efforts and the amazing support of volunteers to help those affected by the Cyclone. There are some pictures at the back of the book to illustrate just how severe the devastation was and I appreciated their addition to the book.
I read this in one sitting and time just flew. Even though it is aimed at the young/pre-teen audience I still learnt a lot that I didn't know and really liked the way the information is imparted in this book. The style of writing is great and I wouldn't hesitate to have my girls reading this or even to read this to them.
I would 100% recommend this book though it may appeal a little more to girls than to boys given it is written through the eyes of Amy. A brilliant an insightful read.
I was 9 years old when Cyclone Bola hit. At the time, I understood that it was serious and my parents were a little rattled by it. We lived in Whangarei and had not so conveniently gone camping during it. So when it hit, we were in a tent. I remember travelling home mid-stay just to get a few things dry because it wouldn't stop raining. I also remember coming home to a fence down. I couldn't believe the stability of my backyard was so fragile.
This book follows the story of a young teen who is staying on a vineyard during Bola. Her parents are yachting and so we follow her fears for them, and later as Bola becomes a reality her fears for herself and the new friends she has made in Gisborne. This is another title in the My New Zealand Story series. I love these books, because like the "My Story" series, they are a peek into history. But these have a real Kiwi flavour to them. The language and the historical events.
I like the diary lay-out, and I enjoyed the story a lot. It was interesting to re-visit this time in history. All I really remember was a lot of produce getting wrecked and a few houses needing repairs. But then I was only 9 at the time. I had forgotten that 3 people had lost their lives, along with countless poor farm animals.
My only negative about the book was, I thought the author was trying a bit hard to include some flavour of the time. The book mentions the price of a jumper at Dress for Less, what's on TV, in the TV guide. Little bits of information that could be interesting to a younger reader I guess, but to me it felt a little forced. Still, it was a good story and one that I would happily let my daughter read once she is a bit older.
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