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Dragon Point


Dragon Point by Kate Stirling


Created for easy reading with good font sizing this non-picture book is perfect for young readers 8-14 years old & for those learning English as a second language.

Extract

In the drowsy heat of a summer afternoon, a large car travelled along a back country road, clouds of dust billowing behind it. There had been no rain for weeks and everything was gaspingly dry. Summery white clouds were heaped along the horizon like huge soap bubbles in a bathtub while, well out to sea, a container ship moved steadily south. Closer in, a catamaran, its white sails taut in the breeze, skimmed across the sparkling water.

Peter Cameron manoeuvred the car through tight curves and along the short straight stretches with ease, his wife Carol sitting, half asleep beside him. In the back seat were two boys of about twelve and thirteen, and a girl of about ten, also half asleep. Their early excitement at the prospect of a beach holiday had waned and they were now hot, tired and very bored. All the windows were open wide and the wind tugged at their hair as they sped along.

Suddenly there was a yell from the back seat. “The beach! There it is!”

Everyone craned their neck and sure enough, there far below, was the beach, glittering bright in the sunlight, the golden sand inviting and spacious.

“Not long now, guys.” Peter called to his family. “Boy! Am I glad of that! I can’t wait to go for a swim. Look at it!” “Just think! A week at the beach! A whole week!”

The car swooped down the last hill, over the metal cattle bars at the side of the road and rumbled across the rough paddock to where they thought they would like to put their tent. There were no other tents and the only building was a small grey shack far down the beach. The boys spilled out and raced across the grass to the sand and stood eyeing the glittering water. Their sister walked slowly beside her mother, eager to run but wanting to help. Peter called them back. “Hey you guys, come back and help us unload. Got to get all organized before dark.”

“Dark’s ages away yet, Dad. Let’s have a swim first.”

“The tent! Now!”

The boys shrugged as they ran back to help and in no time at all, the tent was up and everything was stowed away from the sun and heat. “Okay, that’s the tent and all the stuff away. Now you can go for a swim if you want to.”

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Meteor Riders


This New Zealand based adventure book leads young readers on an amazing adventure through tough times & irresistible challenges.Created for easy reading with good font sizing this non-picture book it is perfect for children 8-14 years old & for those learning English as a second language.

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ABOUT THE METEOR RIDERS:

A change through time. An irresistible challenge.A chance to help.This is what it took to make life interesting for these young people. The rain of meteors caught the attention of more than one person that night. Andrew, Stephen and their new friends, Col and Stefan struggled to change things to make the world a better place as thousands more spent hours watching the display over the following weeks. By the time the meteors were finished for the year, the past and the future of their world were changed for ever.

EXTRACT:

In an old house on the outskirts of the city, Andrew sat in his wheelchair, watching as something flashed outside his bedroom window. The room was spacious; the bed at one end while a workbench with his computer equipment was at the other end. A side table and many bookshelves at the right height for a wheelchair person made for a completely independent world for him to occupy. Andrew’s voice carried clearly to the living room where his parents were watching TV. “Wow! Wouldya look at that! Hey Mum, Dad! Have a look at this!” As they entered his room, he moved aside slightly to allow them to peer out the window at the meteors that flashed across the skies. “Look! I never saw as many as this! They’re like sideways rain!” His mother grabbed a rug from the chair and dropped it across his shoulders. “Pretty chilly rain if you ask me. Here put this rug round your shoulders before you freeze to death.”

The wind was sharp and cold and in the darkening sky the first few stars were already glittering icily. They watched in silence for a while, but before long they went back to watching TV and Andrew wheeled himself back to the computer. Andrew’s friend Stephen was waiting for him to appear. Stephen lived on a back country sheep station, far to the south and the boys kept in touch most evenings and especially on the night for the weekly online meetings. There were several other boys who lived too far from town and this was their best means of communication. Most of their early education had been done on computers and by now the group was well versed in IT matters. Stephen was first on-line and his message was brief.

GET ON SKYPE. TOO EXCITING TO TYPE! “

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Yates’ Landing

When Chloe Mainwell, the pampered only child of an ambitious British politician goes to France for her debut into society, she discovers life to be far more unbelievable than she could ever have imagined. After marrying ‘under a cloud’, her arrival in New Zealand at the turn of the 20th century leaves her in no doubt of how different, or how difficult, life can be. Yates’ Landing is a romantic novel set on the Kaipara Harbour against a background of historical events such as Women’s Emancipation, Halley’s Comet, the sinking of the Titanic, World War 1 and the influenza epidemic which devastated much of the country. The Whangarei-born author has captured the essence of a fascinating district and its place in New Zealand history in this, the first of three books set in the north.

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Extract From Yates Landing:

1895

In the gloom of a London bedroom, a deep voice rumbled softly.

‘I wish you would reconsider. I am unhappy about her going to Amee. Surely she could do as well here in England?’ 
‘Now Charles, we have been through all this before. I think you are making mountains out of molehills.’ Edwina thumped her pillow into a more comfortable shape. ‘Unless you can tell me positively why you dislike Claude, she shall go.’‘ 

I wish I could tell you positively, Edwina, my dear, but I don’t know exactly. I only remember it was something unsavoury.’  A candle glowed to life and Edwina sat up abruptly,‘Rumours! Surely you are not going to hold her back because of rumours from so many years ago. His daughters are said to be delightful; and I understand Rolf is about to finish at the Sorbonne. Claude cannot be too bad if he can produce such clever children. Besides, it’s all arranged.’‘Could she not go to your sister Sophia’s? ’‘ 

Good heavens, NO!’ Sophia has no more idea of bringing up a daughter than flying to the moon!  All she can think of is her paintings, her arty friends.  As for that sculptor husband of hers – well!  Sophia should be ashamed of herself for allowing such goings on with a vulnerable child in the house.’‘I did not think she was all that bad. After all, there are some very artistic people who. . . ‘‘We don’t want to expose Chloe to that influence; all those live artistic models; ‘cousins’ he calls them, as if anyone believed such nonsense and Annabel spends all her summers at some beach with goodness knows what types. No, definitely, she must go to Amee! ’‘No good will come of it, I just know it.’ he muttered, ‘Why must you be so. determined?’‘Anyone would think she was going away forever! Now, really, Charles, stop making a fuss and go to sleep.’

He sighed and tried to get his mind back to the meeting he had attended that evening. As he began to doze off Edwina mumbled, ‘You will have to escort her to France.  I can’t spare Vera and there is no-one else. ’‘You know I hate sea travel!’‘Surely you don’t mind doing such a little thing for your own child, Charles! When I think of all the time I have spent getting things organized for her.’  

Charles burrowed down into the covers, already defeated by her clever way of putting things.

 

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Corrie’s Gold

When Archaeologist Angus Corrie made a commitment to a small boy, he had no idea how challenging it would become.Corrie’s Gold is set between the black sands of the Taranaki west coast and the rocks of Northland’s volcanoes in New Zealand.

Corrie’s Gold describes the journey through time and place of an archaeologist and a small boy as they try to link a friendship begun before their time. Another Kate Stirling historical novel to continue the interest of those who love a good story with roots in the truth while remaining geographically correct. 

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Extract

Autumn 1980

It had taken archeologist Angus Corrie quite a while to get his dates finalised but at last he was on his way to a site he had often visited with students over the years. As always, he looked forward to the energy the students produced. This would be one of the last few trips as autumn replaced the heat of summer.

When they arrived, he switched the van off and sat back. It had been a long journey and he was ready to stop; get out in that bracing wind and stretch his legs. Through the wet wind-screen he could see the tide was well out, the rocks black and shiny from the rain and the sea water. Sea birds straggled along, feathers flicking in the stiff breeze as they poked for small creatures amongst the loose rocks. Wet and cold or dry and hot, they still had to eat and their food was always there waiting.

The river was quiet this time though it could become a raging torrent that scoured new paths to the sea. Then it would strip another layer of sediment from between the larger rocks and leave ever more small fan shaped fossils exposed upon the dark sand. These layers upon layers of monotis were a Triassic-period shellfish that presaged the Jurassic Era of dinosaur fame. At some stage the sea floor must have been completely covered by them, their scallop shaped shells clustered together in the grey mud. Once again he wondered if they had been a plague or how they managed to live in such vast numbers.

At one side of the river rough, sharp grass grew close to the edge of the sand-hills where cattle grazed, but on the other side where Corrie stood, the scene was quite different. Here, row upon row of thin petrified rocks piled atop each other and stretched out into the water, like fingers clinging to the land as time slipped by.

Thunder Children

Her memories of her childhood on the wretched gum-fields of the Northern Wairoa have a lasting effect on the original Thunder Child, Jessica Jackson. An only child who loses her mother at a very early age, she grows up obsessed with feelings of poverty and loss. Her efforts to protect her own children from such deprivation become her downfall; her strong character leading her into strife along the way as she tries to influence events that are actually beyond her control. Thunder Children is set on the Kaipara Harbour and the surrounding districts against a background of New Zealand history.

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Extract

The winter of 1936 was a hard one, with continuous frosts and then rain, every day for weeks. Later, as the spring came there would be thunder storms and floods but now it was simply cold. The gum-fields of the Kaipara were not pleasant, even in good weather but in winter, they were abysmally bleak and miserable.

In a sheltered hollow, high above flood water levels, a solitary whare, a shack, stood surrounded by heavy fog that muffled sounds and cast an air of mystery around the place. Inside the punga walls a family slept fitfully, the cold seeping almost into their bones. Even the birds, usually so prolific and noisy were still huddled out of the cold.

In the gloom, six year old Jessica sat up slowly on her rough sacking hammock and peered through the early morning gloom at her parents’ bed. Her father’s form was barely discernible behind the bulk of her pregnant mother.

The wind whispered in through the cracks in the punga log wall as the child quietly pulled the thick coat closer round her shoulders and tried to find a comfortable spot in the hammock. The old grey blanket that covered the sacking had slipped down in the night and now formed a hard ridge in the middle. She tugged futilely at the blanket then curled herself into a ball, avoiding the ridge and squinting dreamily at a chink of light in the punga frond thatch roof.

‘Come on, you two! Time to get moving! A lot of work to be done today.’

William Jackson’s voice snapped her wide awake. For all his rough tone her father’s voice was gentle. He climbed out of bed, ruffled his wife’s hair and gave Jessica a light tap on the rump as he passed her hammock. Jessica yawned hugely and he protested, ‘Good grief, child, put a hand in front of your mouth when you yawn! I can see what you had for dinner last night! It’s still all in a heap down there!’

She smiled blearily at him, shivering in the half light as her mother dragged herself wearily from her bed. Caroline pushed back a mane of hair and went to the fireplace where she stirred the embers before adding a few sticks. Jessica stood close to the warm ashes and peered up the gap between the whare walls and the free standing corrugated iron chimney that towered above her, smoke already curling from its top and staining the early morning fog. At night, she could sometimes see the stars through this gap but now all was white outside.

Shark Harbour

Cover of Shark Harbour

When Chloe Mainwell, the pampered only child of an ambitious British politician goes to France for her debut into society, she discovers life to be far more unbelievable than she could ever have imagined. After marrying ‘under a cloud’, her arrival in New Zealand at the turn of the 20th century leaves her in no doubt of how different, or how difficult, life can be. Yates’ Landing is a romantic novel set on the Kaipara Harbour against a background of historical events such as Women’s Emancipation, Halley’s Comet, the sinking of the Titanic, World War 1 and the influenza epidemic which devastated much of the country. The Whangarei-born author has captured the essence of a fascinating district and its place in New Zealand history in this, the first of three books set in the north.

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Extract

At the back of the Auditorium, Will Cray stood, hidden by the curtains in a position where he could peer out at the audience that was filling the hall. Music throbbed, filling every corner of his mind as people still filed in. A quick glance told him it was a full house, every table already cluttered with glasses and a tiny posy of flowers in the centre of each, compliments of the Ladies Guild.

The hall was new, built at the end of the road past Willow Reach. He had contributed to its construction as a memorial to his Grandfather and great Grand-parents and never dreamt that he would be one of the earliest to be welcomed through its doors. And he was regretting his choice. He shouldn’t have gone to the meeting; it could only make him more anxious than he already was. Mentally he blamed Dana Hunter, his school teacher from years ago, for pushing him into it though he knew it was his own fault. He was just too soft.

Tonight he would be presented with an award for his new book and he was alone. All those unfamiliar faces terrified him and he shivered as he let the heavy fabric drop back into place. He couldn’t do it. He knew he couldn’t; had argued with Dana but to no avail. And now he was standing there in a borrowed suit and someone else’s shoes, waiting as if to be fed to the lions. And there would be lions, human ones, just waiting to absorb him, to analyze him, criticize his work, his clothes, his posture and certainly his long hair and beard.

Reporters with cameras and cell phones had hounded him for days after his book came out until eventually, he had simply sailed off in Wanderer and stayed at sea, enjoying the peace and quiet of the harbour. And the locals, who knew his boat well, went about their tasks without letting on that they knew where he was. Not even a glance his way betrayed his escape. Speculation spread widely but no-one said a word. The Harbour community knew when to keep its mouth shut.

Now, he stood trembling. Dana had finally convinced him that it would be rude to the community if he refused the award. They had done all they could to protect him as he stayed, safe and hidden in their midst, but now the time was right. He peered out again, eyes scanning desperately for a face he knew, any friendly face would do. The thoughts raced through his mind as he watched the commotion. Camera men adjusting their lens for the umpteenth time, reporters making sure their mics worked okay. Testing testing. The stage had already been set; a table with the obligatory glass of water and a couple of comfortable chairs, lights glaring up into his face and beyond, a sea of expectant faces, at the moment all laughing and chatting eagerly as they knocked back their choice in alcohol.

‘Joy should be here.’ He thought, ‘She was always there for us. She would have enjoyed this. Grandpa William would have too. But they’re both gone. Everyone’s gone.’

Long Acre

Long Acre is part of another KATE STIRLING HISTORICAL TRILOGY, set in New Zealand from 1946, depicting the impact of the war years on the characters.

Cover of Long Acre

Extract

1946

The wind whistled through the dark she-oaks as the small funeral procession wound its way to the chapel but no-one noticed or cared. Everyone who mattered was there. An older man, tall, strong looking and uncomfortable in a dark suit, his two adult sons and one teenaged daughter plus a few locals formed the party. The daughter stood apart while her father carried his new-born baby daughter.

The baby moved, restless, and her father absently rubbed her back as he stared at the open grave. Rose, his darling Rose, gone for ever. All his dreams and hopes for their future shattered and in his arms, the cause of all the grief.

He forced himself to look at the little face, almost hidden by the shawl as it was.

“Well, little one, you better be worth it. A high price to pay.” At home after the funeral he held out the child to his daughter, but Arial refused to take her. She stood, feet firmly apart as she shook her head, dark eyes clouded.

“Dada, I can’t have her. I’ve done my bit with the boys and now I have only a little time before I go to Training College. I don’t want to spend the next five or ten years of my life looking after her. She’s yours, you do it.”

“But she needs a warm breast to cuddle into.” “You have just as many as I have and I think they are bigger.” Dada scowled as she laughed and walked away. He wasn’t fat and he wasn’t woman!

“Wait.” He called after her. “Give her three months. Just three months. I’ll look after her at nights and through the day when you have to be away. Three months? Please?”

Arial shrugged as she left the room, calling over her shoulder. “Okay. Three months; not a minute more though.” Dada nodded his shaggy head and pulled the shawl down to expose the little red face.

”You hear that then? Three months and then you’re stuck with me. Make the most of it, little one.”

The baby yawned widely as if this was not her problem.

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