What I’m Reading: Author and Illustrator Donovan Bixley

Illustrator and author Donovan Bixley.


Illustrator and author Donovan Bixley.

Donovan Bixley is a finalist in the 2022 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in two categories. Draw awesome stuff is nominated for the Elsie Locke Prize for Non-Fiction and Ki te Moe Aotearoa, written with Darryn Joseph, is up for the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award.

I’m fascinated by stories, and Ross King’s The Bookseller of Florence is about old school disruptive technology – the invention of the printing press. You would think I would have read far too many books on the Renaissance after spending the last six years completing my illustrated biography, A portrait of Leonardo (Upstart Press, on sale June 16), but I don’t feel like shaking Italy just yet.

* How I Write: Children’s book author and illustrator Ned Barraud
* Win with TV Guide: October 30 – November 5
* Honored Author on Cultural Cringe: “It Seems We’ve Crossed That Barrier”

Sarah Winman’s Still Life follows a group of over-the-top, yet utterly believable characters as they go about their daily lives, year after year, between post-war London and 1970s Florence. The people, the pubs, the art, arguments, culture and change – I just immersed myself in this book every night. A must read if you are a Florence-o-phile.

I knew nothing about the civil war in Cyprus until I recently read The Island of Missing Trees. Author Elif Shafak seamlessly blends fact, fiction, and science, and this book has so much honesty and emotion, and the characters are so beautifully written, that this really dark time in history is somehow uplifting. There are untold horrors but there is also reconciliation and reparation – and in our world today, that is a small glimmer of hope.

A benefit of Covid lived with our granddaughter. She’s moved beyond book consumption and is right into the hardback phase. She has no idea I make books, so it’s always kind of exciting when she puts aside Eric Hill’s Where’s Spot and asks for my Little Bo Peep and More.


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