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WINNER 2010 AUSTRALASIAN CALEB PRIZE FOR BEST CHILDREN’S BOOK
Ten year old Milly had always dreamed of living in the country and owning all sorts of animals. So when her parents buy a piece of land and move their six children into a ninety-year-old barn, Milly can’t believe her luck.
But she never imagined that living the simple life would include mucking out a filthy water tank, gathering endless supplies of firewood, clearing the land and rescuing animals in a ‘hundred year’ storm. Nor did she expect to hear deep groanings in the night…
Where Lions Roar at Night by Rosie Boom is an engaging book for the whole family to enjoy. It tells of the fun and adventures and dramas of a modern day ‘pioneering’ New Zealand family – the Booms. It is the first of The Barn Chronicles series and winner of the 2010 CALEB Prize for children’s books.
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It’s exciting to know that families all over the world are enjoying reading together about the fun and adventures we’ve enjoyed as a family on our piece of land, living in our barn.
When we first moved to Whangarei, New Zealand and bought 11 acres of farm land, complete with an old barn, I never dreamed that the next two years would hold so much fun and so many memorable moments. I love cooking on our woodburning Homewood stove, tending the vegetable garden, and enjoying the constant challenges that go hand in hand with a small block.
And I have loved re-living all the special moments as I’ve written this book!
When I was a child, my parents and siblings lived in Papua New Guinea for three years. That was the most thrilling time in my childhood. I’m sure it set me up for thriving on a challenge and enjoying having to ‘rough it’. When I first laid eyes on the ancient barn, all I could think was, ‘We could live here!’
In the first six months, we survived two ‘one hundred year’ storms. The barn creaked and shook and groaned, but outlasted the onslaught. Those were exciting, nerve wracking days and nights of gale force winds, rain so loud on the tin roof that we couldn’t hear ourselves shout, rescuing animals and anxiously watching to see if the barn roof would lift off.
Milly, the main character in the story, is my strong willed, feisty 12 year old. She is full of life and action, and is passionately fond of any sort of animal. Over the two years we have been here, she has gathered quite a menagerie of pets – chickens, Indian Runner ducks, a pony and a milking cow to name a few. But more of that in the book!
You may be wondering about the title of my book, given that there are no wild lions in New Zealand! The first night we spent in the barn was an exciting one. We all lay on mattresses on the loft floor, complete with mosquito nets. It was to be a very wakeful night for some of us – strange noises, worries about rats, loud water pumps, and then… the eerie sound of lions roaring. I couldn’t believe it at first. But Chris assured me that it was indeed lions. Just north of the barn and over a few hills is Zion Wildlife Gardens home to a large number of lions and tigers. And when the wind blows the right way, we hear their roaring. A spine tingling sound in the middle of the night! The sound somehow encapsulated the exciting start to our new adventure and seemed to be a fitting title when I came to write the book.
My hope is that Where Lions Roar at Night will cause people to reflect on the joy and wonder of family. I hope that the adults who read this book will re-capture some of the wonder of childhood. And of course I hope that all the children who enjoy the adventures in the book will be inspired to make the most of their own childhood and enjoy many similar adventures with their own family.
“… a simple piece of sunlit childhood. “ Emma Jelsma, Scene Magazine
“Where Lions Roar at Night is a truly wonderful story that will be loved by all ages. It has everything – animals, family drama, exciting adventures, pioneering spirit, disaster, triumph, laughter and tears, and a wonderful New Zealand flavour. A must read!” Home schooling mother, New Zealand
“This book is a winner! We devoured it as a ‘family read’ in less than a week. Many chores were left undone as my family pleaded for “just one more chapter, Mum!” again and again. We got to know each family member as a close friend, laughing at their antics, sharing their adventures with enthusiasm and their crises with bated breath. This is the captivating, real life story of a Kiwi family that every reader would want to know and be a part of, a family who cares for each other and shares each other’s triumphs and losses. It’s about creativity, making the most of life’s ups and downs, dancing in the puddles (or canoeing in the floodwaters) on rainy days and living the great adventure with whatever’s at hand. Where Lions Roar at Night is more than the New Zealand family biography that we’ve been longing to read, it’s an inspiration to families and readers of all ages. We can’t wait for the next installment!” Jenni Anderson, mother
“Our family has always loved Little House on the Prairie. We never imagined we would discover another book we would love as much, especially a New Zealand one. Where Lions Roar at Night is hugely entertaining.” Emily, 20
“I loved hearing how Aslan the Lion lived just along the road and I wanted to play on the rope swing by Black Rabbit Island. I liked how the children surprised their parents for their wedding anniversary. That was a fantastic idea!” Benjamin, 9
“An awesome book – everyone should read it! Parts of it are very funny. I didn’t want Mum to stop reading it. The characters come alive – it made me want to meet them.” Sarah, 11
“I have officially discovered I am a selfish mother. Last night I read Where Lions Roar at Night – to myself and got about a quarter of the way through, and then last night I read some more – to myself, and this morning finished it off – by myself! I couldn’t wait for the kids to read it with them. Selfish, selfish, selfish! But – I so enjoyed it." Rachelle, mother
“This story is a fantastic and engaging read. The characters are inspiring. I didn’t want to put it down. Exciting and written for all ages, it makes for a very good read by the fire on a winter’s night.” Rachel, 16
“A very good story – exciting, funny, surprising. This is one I’ll enjoy reading over and over.” Ben, 13
“Life seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old exudes such a golden glow of possibility – and for young Milly Boom that golden glow has been faithfully, skillfully recreated in the pages of her Mum’s novel.
Reading this hard-cover tale will have you reminiscing deep into the night; and for thiose of us who remember that unique blend of excitement and innocence from childhood favourites Little House on the Prairie and Swiss Family Robinson, those feelings of wonder will come flooding back.
In a world bursting with shock-value and fast-paced cheap thrills, this book is a simple piece of sunlit childhood.
Rosie, her husband Chris and their brood of six children live in Whangarei – not too far from Zion Wildlife Gardens; hence the rather unusual title. Following the daily life of the Booms, we glimpse a modern-day pioneering childhood where high jinks and adventures abound. Gentle yet absorbing. Parents and children will enjoy reading this together at bedtime.” Emma Jelsma, Scene Magazine