Non-fiction Books

    Pole to Pole
    Fire to Life
    All for Love

Pole to Pole

Shortlisted for the Eve Pownell Award for Information Books in the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards.

The far polar world, north or south, is white and blue during the day, but at night it lights up with every colour in the rainbow, when the Auroras dance across the sky

When winter changes to summer, the whole world is transformed, bursting with life - from the tiniest mammals in the world to the huge herds of caribou, from playful penguins to the greatest of the great whales. North or south, the icy deserts of the poles are home to all kinds of strange and wonderful animals. Visit the Arctic and the Antarctic in Pole to Pole.

This book came out of a plane trip where I flew in a jumbo jet right over the South Pole. It took us twelve hours there and back and was one of the most astonishing and wonderful days of my life. I was fascinated by the look of the Antarctic - it is so different from any other landscape on Earth. So I jumped at the chance to do a book on Arctic and Antarctic animals with Philip Blythe.

I enjoyed doing the research for this book but I've only included the tip of the iceberg - there's so much more to find out about these extraordinary places!

Click here to see some of the photos I took on her flight over the Antarctic.


Fire to Life

The cycle from fire to life fascinates us all...

From the extreme of intense heat is created some of the lushest and most fertile habitats. From the volcanoes of the world springs abundant life. Fire to Life abounds with wonderful illustrations of animal life and, in the background, we can see the brooding volcano that gave rise to the unique habitats.

Basically, it's all about dirt and where dirt comes from. I love the fact that the minerals and rock grains in the dirt came originally from deep underneath the ground. I really like rocks, and there is a particular beauty in igneous rocks (those that come out of volcanoes as lava). I like their names, I like their looks, and I like the fact that, to be healthy, we need them in the ground that grows our food.

Although this is the story of volcanoes and their effect on the world, it is also the story of water and the habitats it creates in river, stream, lake and sea.

After Philip and I did Pole to Pole together, I was very keen to work with him again. He has created some stunning pictures of animals, birds and fish. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.


All for Love

Love comes in all sorts of guises and includes, as far as I am concerned, friendship and family relationships, not just romance. The stories in this book look at love and friendship from all angles. They move from Hawaii to China, Australia, Kenya, Cambodia and into cyberspace; from a family of refugees to a Sultan in his palace; from stories of legendary passion to a heart-stretching piece about the waiting, watching wife of a man lost in the frozen Arctic.

Anecdotes, limericks and quotations add a light touch and may tell you things you never knew before.

All for Love include the real life stories of historical characters: Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin, the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelana, and the love story between Phar Lap and his strapper, Tommy Woodcock! Two real-life modern day couples are included: one pair who met via the Internet and one who married across a huge cultural divide.

Then there are legendary stories: the story of the Willow Pattern Plate, the legend of the Hawaiian fire goddess Pele and her love, the story of the great friendship of Phintias and Damon (often called Pythias and Damon). Then there is the story of a family who were separated in the killing fields of Cambodia, only to be reunited, against the odds, many years later.

I enjoyed doing the research for these stories and some, especially that of John and Jane Franklin, still haunt me. I would like to thank the many people who let me use their stories in this book, particularly Thida Yang and her family.