Maps, Shine Mountain and fairy tales

May 26th, 2018

I love a book with maps. As soon as I see a map in the front of a book, I get a little fizz of excitement, as if I’m preparing for a great and dangerous journey. Here’s the map from Julie Hunt’s new novel, Shine Mountain.

Julie and I have been friends for years, dating from the writers’ group we used to be part of before either of us started writing for children. Back then, I was writing plays for puppetry, and she was writing the most beautiful poetry, which I still stumble across every now and again when I’m sorting out random boxes of papers and photos.

For the last few years, Julie and I have been helping each other with our launches. We send the other person an advance copy of the book in question, then catch up for a cup of tea and throw ideas around, and laugh ourselves silly and throw more ideas until something sticks. In this way, we both manage to have launches that are more interesting than usual.

That’s how I came to read an advance copy of Shine Mountain a few weeks ago, before I went to New Zealand.

Gorgeous cover, yes? And the book is gorgeous, too. A lush, imaginative adventure about a girl who finds a magical musical instrument, a boy from a travelling medicine show, and their perilous journey to a mysterious land.

So that one is up for a reread, now that it’s officially launched.

Meanwhile, a friend has been clearing out her late husband’s bookshelves. I put my hand up for several books, then forgot about them. Yesterday she arrived with a large paper bag and these inside.

There were other books too, but these are the ones I’m excited about.

Which brings me to this T-shirt.

I want one.

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