The ACB With Honora Lee

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Moving, charming novel from much-loved, international-award-winning children's author Kate de Goldi, author of the 10pm question. Beautifully packaged and illustrated throughout with drawings by Greg O'Brien.

The ACB With Honora Lee, Kate De Goldi

Moving, charming novel from much-loved, international-award-winning children's author Kate de Goldi, author of the 10pm question. Beautifully packaged and illustrated throughout with drawings by Greg O'Brien.

Perry's mother and father are busy people … they're impatient, they're tired, they get cross easily. And they think that only children, like Perry, should be kept busy. On Saturday mornings Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the Santa Lucia rest home, but Gran never remembers them. ‘Who is that man?' Honora Lee asks when Perry's father leaves the room.

After movement class is abruptly cancelled, Perry is allowed to go to Santa Lucia on Thursday afternoons. She discovers her Gran has an unconventional interest in the alphabet, so Perry decides to make an alphabet book with the help of Honora and the others. Soon everyone is interested in Perry's book project.

Kate De Goldi's The ACB With Honora Lee unfolds with characteristic warmth, quirky, surprising humour and a rich cast of ‘residents'. The story is a meditation on kindness and patience and acceptance; that of the very young and the very old. It's a story that will resonate with echoes of recollection for many — from Perry's endearing perspective on the adult world to the embracing kindness of those who care for the elderly.

A many-layered and playful novel with a crossover audience, it will delight both the young and the not so young.

Shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2013 and the LIANZA Award 2013.

Available Formats

  • Hardback
    $34.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9781869799892
    Published: 05/10/2012
    Imprint: Longacre Child
    Extent: 120 pages
    Stock Level: HIGH
    Please note: This information is intended for booksellers only and does not reflect the number of copies currently available in stores. If you are not a bookseller and wish to purchase this book, please contact your local bookstore, or click on the buy now button to find a good retailer.
  • eBook
    ISBN: 9781869799908
    Published: 05/10/2012
    Imprint: RHNZ Children’s ebooks
    Extent: 128 pages
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Kate De Goldi

Kate De Goldi

Kate De Goldi is one of New Zealand's most loved authors, whose short fiction, novels and picture books engage children, teenagers and adults alike. The author of the phenomenal The 10pm Question, which has been published extensively overseas, she is a two-time winner of the New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year Award. The 10pm Question won Book of the Year and Best Young Adult Fiction in the 2009 New Zealand Post Children's and Young Adults' Book Awards, was a runner-up in the 2009 Montana NZ Book Awards, and won the Readers' Choice Award. It was a finalist in the LIANZA Children's Book Awards for the Esther Glen Award, was shortlisted for the Nielson BookData NZ Booksellers' Choice Award, and was selected for the 2009 edition of the prestigious international catalogue The White Ravens. In 2010 De Goldi was awarded the Creative New Zealand Michael King Writers' Fellowship to research and write a book on children's book collector, Susan Price. She has a regular spot reviewing children's book on Saturday Mornings with Kim Hill on National Radio.
De Goldi has won numerous awards, including the Katherine Mansfield and American Express awards for short stories. She has held several major fellowships, including the 2010 Michael King Fellowship, and in 2001 was made an Arts Foundation Laureate. In 2011 she was winner of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award, which is awarded for an outstanding contribution to children's literature. That same year she won the 2011 Corine International Book Prize Young Readers Award, which is awarded to German and international authors ‘for excellent literary achievements and their recognition by the public'. A respected broadcaster, book festival chair and public speaker, she is also dedicated and committed to working with schoolchildren. Her first book, a series of interlinked short stories for adults, Like You, Really, was published under the name of Kate Flannery. This was followed by the cross-over YA novel Sanctuary, which won the 1997 Best Senior Fiction Award, and the YA novels Love, Charlie Mike and Closed, Stranger (YA Honour Book at the 2000 New Zealand Post Book Awards). Jacqui Colley has illustrated three of her books — Clubs, a Lolly Leopold story; Uncle Jack; and Billy, a Lolly Leopold story — and her junior novel The ABC with Honora Lee featured drawings by Gregory O'Brien.
The entry for De Goldi in The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature, writing of the debut shorty story collection Like You, Really, identifies what were to become vintage De Goldi preoccupations and stylistic approaches: ‘The sense of identity through kinship implied in the title is the unifying concern.' Stories ‘fluctuate in time' with people ‘retold and revisited', in this way compiling the family's history. Indeed, the judges of the 2009 New Zealand Post Book of the Year wrote of The 10pm Question: ‘De Goldi's winning book invites you to become part of another family, to spend some quality time with its members, become engrossed in the family dynamics to the point that … this family has now become our family, too ...The judges predict, with reasonable confidence, that The 10pm Question will become an enduring classic.'

The ACB With Honora Lee explores the relationship between a young girl, Perry, and her cranky grandmother, who has dementia and lives in a rest home. As Honora loses words, Perry is furiously gathering them up, and ‘it's the intersection between the two which De Goldi plays with throughout' (Waikato Times). A bond forms between Perry, her grandmother and the staff and residents of the home as Perry constructs an alternative alphabet book with her grandmother. The result, Victoria Spence declared in Metro magazine, is ‘sheer joy': ‘De Goldi's love of language shines brightly, word play shapes many conversations.' North & South concluded that in this ‘delicate honeycomb of a book', ‘there is not a wasted or insignificant word here. The prose is like music, with rhythms carefully crafted.' The scenario is typical of the so-called ‘sandwich generation', but as De Goldi told The Weekend Herald the Christchurch earthquakes coincided with putting her mother into care, which started her thinking about ‘cracks in the community and fractures in my mother's head', but also about bonding and ‘constructing meaning' from the ruins.
The ‘absolutely superb' illustrations by well-known artist, writer, poet and critic Gregory O'Brien ‘enhance the mystery and eccentricity of the novel' (Weekend Press), and were exhibited at Bowen Galleries in Wellington. In 2012 Greg O'Brien was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for non-fiction writing and in the same year was named an Arts Foundation Laureate.