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Warmth and humour and a great read for young people

What is a conscientious objector and how could a conscientious objector possibly be a hero? ‘An Unexpected Hero’ by LP Hansen is a novel set in rural New Zealand with believable characters and happenings. It follows twelve-year-old Matt Turner’s fears and triumphs while also giving an insight into the life of Archibald Baxter, an ordinary kiwi bloke with a strong, determined and extraordinary mindset who lived years before. Archie became a conscientious objector who had to fight for his life, but not in the usual manner, during war. Treated as a defiant coward who refused to participate on the battlefield, he fought one heck of a battle of his own and survived to be heralded as a hero world-wide. Regardless of his stammer, Matt takes up a challenge to speak in public about pacifism in World War 1 as part of a school project. He leads his classmates and their families to appreciate the value of individual rights and freedom of thought. His audience is horrified by the actions of those in authority during wartime who brutally persecuted others for holding beliefs not aligned with their own.
‘An Unexpected Hero’ has warmth and humour and is a great read for young people. I highly recommend this book with its powerful message that transcends time.

Ali Kersten
Teacher Librarian
Hereworth School
Hawke’s Bay

2019 Review for Read NZ Te Pou Muramura

Barbara Murison worked with children, people and books from 1950. Member New Zealand Association of Manuscript Assessors: ‘‘An Unexpected Hero’ is one of those books where you only have to read one page and you are hooked. The story is set in ...

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Ruth Paul, author/illustrator of many award-winning books including ‘The King’s Bubbles’ which won the NZ Post Children’s Choice Picture Book Award 2008: ‘In An Unexpected Hero Linda Hansen cleverly exposes a hidden tale of wartime New Zealand exposed within a ...

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David Hill, author of ‘My Brother’s War’, winner of both the Junior Fiction and the Children’s Choice Junior Fiction: NZ Post Awards, 2013 NZ: ‘Linda Hansen’s novel An Unexpected Hero is a mischievous, affectionate story of a very likeable, very ...

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Ben Dowdle, Founder and Campaign Director of Unmask Palm Oil, The Australasian campaign for mandatory labelling of palm oil: ‘A fast paced and exhilarating read on an important issue. Well researched and well written, it puts a spotlight on activism, ...

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Dr. Michael Morris, Director Environmental Education Ltd, zoologist, author and animal welfare advocate: ‘Transmits a profound and disturbing message in an informative yet entertaining tale of teenage self-discovery.’

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Sue Kedgley, politician, animal welfare campaigner and author: ‘An absorbing and exciting book about teenagers who decide to investigate the way palm oil plantations are destroying the habitat of orangutans. Interwoven into this action-packed novel is the use of palm ...

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Chris Duggan, Founder and National CEO, House of Science, NZ: ‘The Fire Keeper’s Girls is a story full of hope and light, a fast-paced adventure involving deep emotional trials that many teenage girls will identify with. Girls are empowered to be ...

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Alexia Hilbertidou, Founder and CEO, GirlBoss NZ: ‘The Fire Keeper’s Girls is a coming-of-age story to enlighten and inspire the next generation of GirlBosses. This realistic tribute to modern feminism shows that while the path to female empowerment may be ...

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Dawn Sanders ONZM QSM, CEO and Trustee, Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ & Member of the Shakespeare Globe Council, London: ‘Linda Hansen creates a compelling read and a strong endorsement to encourage girls into theatre and the arts. Through Samantha’s cleverly ...

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I learnt a lot about the importance of knowing my own gifts and finding my place in the world. I recommend this book particularly to girls aged 12-18, who will appreciate its story of resisting the pressure to conform, finding ...

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This is a story about a young New Zealand girl Heidi, who has a passion for photography and a yearning desire to be a photographer of the rich and famous one day. However her path crosses with Meke, a homestay ...

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Although this book was published three years ago, it is extremely relevant today in the wake of Greta Thunberg and climate protests. Like Greta, Heidi is 16 years old and has dreamed of using her passion for photography in high ...

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What an excellent short novel this is for young people and a timely reminder that it takes courage to refuse to fight.Matt is in Year 8 and because of his family situation – his father is working overseas and his ...

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What is a conscientious objector and how could a conscientious objector possibly be a hero? ‘An Unexpected Hero’ by LP Hansen is a novel set in rural New Zealand with believable characters and happenings. It follows twelve-year-old Matt Turner’s fears ...

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Your presentation was informative and your enthusiasm in presenting was well received by the twelve Year 9 groups. You obviously have a talent as a storyteller!!Your Session tied up really effectively with our work on Parihaka. We have a school-wide ...

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As you know, at the time of your Session the students were willing to sit on the floor for almost an hour and listen to your story, and had lots of questions for you at the end. I wanted to ...

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Your session was very appropriate for my Year 10 students as they have just started learning about the New Zealand wars and Parihaka. The early links between Parihaka and Rēkohu surprised and impressed them. They were also encouraged to learn ...

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“As a teenager I loved reading and all my pocket money went on books. I had a few favourite authors, and if LP Hansen had been around back then, I’m pretty sure she would have been one of them.”The Fire ...

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‘The Fire Keeper’s Girls’ is an empowering read. It is just the sort of book I would have loved as a teen … adventure, learning, friendship and growth. Highly recommended.I was swept away by the fast-moving story of this book. ...

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