On the 27th of September, I visited the Christchurch Principals' Conference in Hamner Springs to make a donation of resources. South Pacific Press and its US partner Pacific Learning gifted 4000 copies of an innovative new graphic non-fiction book to Christchurch schools affected by recent earthquakes.
The Great Earth Magnet, by physicist Gillian Turner, is gifted in memory of my friend Brian Taylor, former Director of Kings Language School, and long-time Director of Science Alive in Christchurch, who died in the February 22 earthquake. Brian was a passionate educator, with a special love of science. He understood that science literacy needs to start at an early age, and there is no better time than now to get students thinking about the earth and the powerful forces that churn beneath our feet. He also championed the wider literacy benefits of learning science – Kings Language School was a pioneer of the South Pacific Press and Pacific Learning CSI Literacy project of which The Great Earth Magnet is a part.
Schools in Christchurch have had their learning heavily disrupted this year, not only with the February 22 earthquake, but also with the thousands of aftershocks that have followed. Many schools have had their resources badly damaged, so it was without hesitation that South Pacific Press and Pacific Learning offered to help. Peter Baker Transport, in a generous show of support for the initiative, will deliver the books from Nelson to Christchurch free of charge.
The Great Earth Magnet explains, in an easy-to-understand format, the forces impacting on Earth and the consequences of those forces. We have young students playing with magnets and musing, as Einstein did, about the forces involved. This book explains a great mystery – why our planet has a magnetic field – in a way that will enthral and educate anyone, from a young child to a grandparent.
Gillian Turner adapted the book’s script from her book North Pole, South Pole, published by Awa Press, a non-fiction specialist with a strong interest in popular science. North Pole, South Pole was a finalist in this year’s Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize, and an American edition is already into a second printing.
In addition to this donation, South Pacific Press has collaborated with Awa Press to offer The Great Earth Magnet with e-book plus North Pole, South Pole as a special package for sale to schools and families across New Zealand. It’s vital for New Zealand’s ‘new economy’ that New Zealanders are science literate, and Gillian Turner is an astonishing science communicator.
| Neale Pitches