renata hopkins

Author of The Tailor's Tale

Kia ora koutou. I’m a writer from Christchurch. I’ve written for film and television, including eight years writing for Shortland Street. I also write short stories for books, magazines, and journals and tell a never-ending bedtime story – featuring an anarchist chicken – to my kids. I won a competition to write a New Zealand fairytale in the style of the Brothers Grimm and got to travel to Berlin to study German. If you ever go there, try the Currywurst, which is sausage with curry sauce on it. It’s tastier than it sounds. Here are some of my favourite reads from when I was around ten to twelve years: 

Books with animal protagonists:

·       White Fang by Jack London

·       Watership Down by Richard Adams

·       Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson

·       The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

·       Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien

·       The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

I loved reading books that tried to get inside the mind/body of another species. Most of the books listed above are full of danger and life-or-death action. The exception is The Cricket in Times Square, which is very playful and funny. It features one of my all-time favourite animal characters, Tucker, the vainglorious mouse.

Books with child protagonists:

·       Harriet the Spy and Nobody’s Family is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh  

·       Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

·       The Great Gilly Hopkins and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

·       Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt  

·       Midnight is a Place and The Shadow Guests by Joan Aiken

·       The Haunting by Margaret Mahy

·       Under the Mountain by Maurice Gee

·       The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Though these books are a mixture of comedy, realism, history, and fantasy, I think I loved them for the same reason: the children in them are tough, funny, mean, foolish, courageous, and complicated, which made them real. I also had a serious addiction to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries and to Garfield comics. And, finally, to Judy Blume novels because they had periods, boobs, and kissing in them.