Some family holiday memories last a lifetime…

The Homer Tunnel has vanished, and with it the last link to life as the Williams family know it. Fiordland has them trapped, leaving their car – and cellphone – useless. Their only hope is to make it by foot to Milford Sound in an attempt to escape the kaleidoscope of history. Separated from their parents, and each other, Zoe and Seth face an uncertain future, and must rely on the past to survive. Surveying the Homer Saddle, tracking giant moose with Jim Muir and Eddie Herrick, exploring with Young Bob Murrell, and meeting the legendary Lost Tribe, Zoe and Seth venture into an incredible world where anything can happen – and often does! But Fiordland has always been a place where nature rules, and myth and reality merge. Zoe and Seth travel through time, in a bid to reach the eighth wonder of the world. But what will they find when they get there?

(WARNING: Incredible adventure awaits. Contains hunting scenes, a conservation dog, and possibly the greatest eagle that has ever lived. You have been warned!)

For ages 10-14 years, and adults who enjoy a good yarn.

Wondering if you’ll enjoy Home from the Homer?

There’re a couple of pages here so you can decide for yourself.

Home from the Homer is historical fiction/time travel for ages 10 and up. It is set in Fiordland, New Zealand. It has chapters, so it’s like a novel, and it has a few illustrations and photos as well. Some of the photos are real hunting photos.

Zoe and Seth, the twins at the centre of Home from the Homer, are 12 years old.

Test-readers have generally been 10-15 years old. Several 10 year olds have read and enjoyed it, and also, depending on their reading level, needed a little bit of help occasionally with a word or two. Every 12 year old that’s read Home from the Homer has really enjoyed it and finds it about the right reading level. A range of adults have also read the book and found it an entertaining yarn as well.

There’s no swearing, and the most that goes on in that direction is a reference to Mum and Dad kissing (with eye rolling from Zoe and Seth!) The main themes are the New Zealand outdoors, nature, history, and finding supportive friends in life that understand you, whether girl or boy. Three of the main characters are hunters, so there are direct references to hunting – that means rifles, fresh venison for dinner, and talk of moose and wapiti trophy hunting. The hunters have hipflasks, and drink from them (but only after a fairly rugged river crossing!) There’s also a strong theme of conservation, including references to early conservation, a conservation dog, and several of our native birds. One of our native birds in particular is…not friendly, so there’s a bit of action too. And in case you’re not convinced yet, there’s a whole chapter on maths!

Who are the characters in Home from the Homer?

The Williams family are fictional. The people they meet along the way are not – they’re local identities who’ve all worked, visited or lived in Fiordland in the past. Of course, the story itself, and the conversations between the characters, are fictional – but when you read Home from the Homer you’re going back to the past, and meeting people from a different time in a way that lets you see a little bit of what living back then was like. So the way people talk, what they say, and the way things are will be different from what you’re used to now, in 2018! (And there’s no internet!) Things were a lot more formal – husbands and wives would generally call each other Mr and Mrs when they were around other people, and children would call adults Mr and Mrs as well, not by their first names. Zoe and Seth do this too.

What animals are in Home from the Homer?

When you read Home from the Homer, you’ll meet Chester the conservation dog, a moose, blue ducks, a weka, a wood pigeon, a kakapo, a piopio, our superb ground weta, bottlenose dolphins – and Jane the pack-horse. There’s also a very special visitor that you’ll meet – or he’ll find you – when you read the book! Hint: He’s on the cover, and I’m not talking about the moose!

Resource questions and suggested answers

Teachers notes are available free of charge if you are using Home from the Homer in a school or educational group.

Please contact me here to find out more.

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