Sound and Touch June 2021

Blind Low Vision NZ Library—Te Puna Whakamōhio

Blind Low Vision NZ, formerly Blind Foundation

Produced 2021 by Accessible Formats Service, Blind Low Vision NZ, Auckland, New Zealand

Please keep this issue of Sound and Touch so that you can refer back to it.

Transcriber’s Note

If reading this etext on a portable braille device, please note that it is unproofed by touch.

Welcome to the June 2021 issue of Sound and Touch

In this issue:


Ockham award winners in audio and braille

CD retirement

Library volunteers

Alexa update

Alexa tips

BookDrive update

Saying Goodbye to Geraldine

Many thanks to our generous sponsors


Narrators—The person behind the voice

Our studio is where the action is. Our team of narrators share their gifts and talents by bringing words to life. You may recognise their voice but it would be good to know a little about the person who reads you your stories.

Meet Margaret Blay. No te Iwi Pakeha ahau, born in Tamaki Makaurau. Privately trained as a singer in Auckland, was in musicals and cabaret in the UK for 5 years, then home to work around Aotearoa in straight theatre, tv, radio & films. Have been part of Blind Low Vision since early 60s, I have been on and off but now very much on—with thanks to Blind Low Vision NZ readers! And loving it. Studied Te Reo for a couple of decades and was very privileged to narrate “He Kupu Tuku Iho” by Timoti Karetu & Wharehuia Milroy earlier this year. I have led theatre games workshops in schools, preschools for adults and children. I have given over 100 performances of my own original solo shows, also with a wide range of audiences. For about 25 years, I have been active as Spangle the Storyteller. I am a committed activist in the struggle for Aotearoa and our planet to become carbon neutral. In addition, I knit—when there is time! Nga mihi nui na Margaret.

Ockham award winners in audio and braille

We are currently adding a few award winners and nominees into our library in DAISY audio and braille. These titles include winners of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, the General Non-fiction award, Bookseller Aotearoa New Zealand Award For Illustrated Non-fiction, Mary and Peter Biggs award for poetry as well as the shortlisted and longlisted Ockham award nominees. You can find these titles at the beginning of the “New DAISY audio” content section of this magazine, and after the paragraph below. Read below what the New Zealand Book Awards Trust write about some of the Ockham book award winners.

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction:

Bug Week by Airini Beautrais (in production for Daisy audio and braille)

There is nowhere to hide with a short story. It must say a lot by saying very little. With its spiky confidence and mordant humour, short story collection Bug Week is a knockout from start to finish. Casting a devastating and witty eye on humanity at its most fallible and wonky, this is a tightly wound and remarkably assured collection. Atmospheric and refined, these stories evoke a strong sense of quiet unease, slow burning rage and the absurdly comic. Guest international co-judge Tommy Orange said, “I was consistently surprised by sentences, the beauty and singular language. If the book were a bug it would be a big one, with teeth and venom, with wings and a surprising heart, possibly several, beating on every page with life.”

General Non-fiction award winner:

The Dark is Light Enough: Ralph Hotere A Biographical Portrait by Vincent O’Sullivan (in production for Daisy audio and braille)

This is a sensitive, detailed portrait of one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most important modern artists, shaped around the four pou of Hotere’s identity: his Māoritanga, faith, whenua, and whānau. O’Sullivan displays masterly skill in the layering of information, observation and anecdote. He gives us a deep understanding of the forces and passions that drove one of New Zealand’s greatest artists. The judges commended Vincent O’Sullivan for an extraordinary achievement in biography.

Bookseller Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-fiction

Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso (available in Daisy audio, Book number 136734)

The recipes in Monique Fiso’s first, extraordinary book occupy fewer than half of its pages. The rest is a tour de force of Māori knowledge, written from a Māori perspective. For many of us this will be our introduction to the indigenous cuisine of our own land, and its ingredients, practice, culture, history and knowledge. Fiso’s text is hard-won, inspiring and utterly original in scope; the book is also beautifully designed and photographed. The judges were all drawn to it, coming back to it repeatedly; finding a careful, kind and generous work, which never lectured, but took them on a journey and left them hungry for more. Book number 136734.

CD retirement

It has been a long time coming but CD retirement is upon us and we have managed to contact many BLVNZ library users to transition to our multiple audio library platforms. We are no longer distributing CDs from 30 June 2021 and hope you are already accessing our audio library through alternative technology. James Dunn our Content Delivery Specialist has been working alongside some amazing volunteers to dispatch CDs. These volunteers have been with us between 15-20 years ensuring you receive your CDs; I would like to thank Shelley Grant, Matthew Neighbour, Kaye Wood, Christine Litchfield and Annette Lindsay for your tireless and loyal commitment to our library members. We would have been at a loss without you.

Please do not wait for us to contact you to move to an alternative method of accessing our library. You can contact us and we can discuss the options with you. Please call on 0800 24 33 33 or email

We are in short supply of the CD cardboard mailers and for those of you who have been creating a collection of CDs before they retire, you may have built up a healthy pile of these much-needed mailers. We will still be using these cardboard mailers to distribute BookDrive, if you could kindly return empty cardboard mailers to our team in dispatch we would be very grateful.

Library volunteers

With the introduction of new library technology, we are in need of enthusiastic volunteers to support our Blind and Low Vision clients in the use of our new devices and technology in the exciting and changing world of audio library. Below is a list of regions we are in particular need:

  • Far North

  • Kerikeri

  • North Shore to Whangarei—especially Whangaparaoa and Warkworth

  • South Auckland

  • Thames

  • Wellington Region—especially Porirua and the wider part of the region

  • Whakatane

  • Whangamata

If you have a passion to help others and would like to become a library volunteer please contact Diana Morse our National Volunteer Coordinator on 0800 24 33 33 or

For those that are already library volunteers, we thank you for your continued support in helping our clients have access to library services, which is a loved and valued service.

Alexa update

Some of our clients have a very endearing term for the Amazon Alexa speaker; they call her “friend”. Our “friend” Alexa has been popping up all over the country (approx. 2700) and making herself familiar with many of our clients who have had to say goodbye to our old friend CD. From time to time, our friend can be a bit of a bother especially when she’s reading out one of your books, so if you are having trouble with Alexa please see below a couple of tips that may help build your friendship.

Alexa tips and tricks

“Why does Alexa lose my place in a book? She keeps skipping backwards!”

We have been hearing from many of our readers that sometimes their Alexa will jump backwards in the middle of a book, going back to the beginning of a chapter when they come back to a book, or even going back more than one chapter. Sometimes she will repeat herself and you will realise you have heard that part of a story before.

This is caused by very brief interruptions to your Internet connection, which are not long enough for Alexa to detect an error, but will cause her to go back to the last part in the story she remembers. That will usually be the beginning of a chapter, or the last point where you told Alexa to stop or pause. If you are having trouble getting through a long chapter, or if Alexa is going back more than one chapter, you can try saying, “Alexa, pause” and then, “Alexa, continue” occasionally while reading.

Another way to keep Alexa moving through your book is to use the Sleep function. This trick comes from our member Chris Orr: while you are reading a book, you can say, “Alexa, sleep in twenty minutes” (or however long you want to read). When the time is up, Alexa will stop reading and save your place. When you start the Blind Low Vision skill again, she will pick up where she left off.

“I can’t find a new book in Alexa. Is she up to date?”

All of our books should be available in Alexa as soon as they are published to our Library collection. Everything that is available in our Library can be found in our on-line catalogue, which is linked from the Blind Low Vision NZ website: the audio books in our catalogue are identified as DAISY audio (electronic resource). Most books should come up by title in Alexa, or you can ask for a list of books by the author you want. If you are looking for a new release which is promoted in Sound and Touch, or our library newsletters, you may also have the book number, which lets you request just that book from Alexa using the numeric code.

If there is a book you are looking for in our collection that you cannot find, please give us a call on 0800 24 33 33 and we will investigate for you.

BookDrive update

Many clients who were unable to access our online services have moved to our BookDrive service. BookDrive although new, is simple to use. BookDrive is a USB drive that inserts into the USB port found on the left hand side of the DAISY player. Once inserted, you use the buttons on the DAISY player to navigate, as you would have with CDs. Your first BookDrive will come with print instructions and audio instructions.

Saying Goodbye to Geraldine

BLVNZ and the Library team have had the privilege of having Geraldine Lewis as the Library manager for the last six years. In April, Geraldine decided to start a new venture. We would like to thank Geraldine for her commitment and dedication to our library service and clients. We thank her for years of service and the exemplary work she has undertaken bringing the BLVNZ library service into the digital world.

Many thanks to our generous sponsors

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors for their support since the last issue of Sound and Touch. With these funds, we are able to make print material accessible to the Blind and Low Vision community. Thank you for making these audio books available to our library users.

We would like to thank Milford Asset Management for supporting the Alexa roll-out, and Room-Simmonds Charitable Trust for their support to our studios. We would also like to thank the following funders for the addition of talking books for our Adult Library:

The New Plymouth Community Committee and the Norma Bailey Estate

One Foundation

Mt Wellington Foundation

Grummit Sisters Charitable Trust

McAlpine Hussmann

The Barney & Patsy McCahill Charitable Trust

The Datt Family

The Gordon Roberts Charitable Trust

In addition, we would like to thank the following funders for the addition of talking books for our Youth Library: Kingston Sedgfield Charitable Trust.

Book reviews for recent titles, from our audio producer, Simon Lynch

Great Railway Journeys In New Zealand and Australia by David Bowden

For Antipodeans, train travel and great railway journeys have strong appeal, and David Bowden’s book covers no less than 35 such journeys. From the length of New Zealand to the entire width of Australia, Great Railway Journeys is peppered with descriptions, anecdotes and fascinating historical information. Across mountain ranges with hand hewn tunnels, magnificent alpine scenery of the Southern Alps to the vast desert landscapes across Australia, points of interest and route maps entice the reader to plan trips or enjoy an armchair ride. Superbly narrated by Paul Barrett in 6 hours, 33 minutes, this non-fiction book springs to life for any train-loving enthusiast. Book number 136732.

Southern Nights: The story Of New Zealand’s Night Skies by Naomi Arnold

One of the Top 10 Non-Fiction books of 2019, Southern Skies is one of those rare non-fiction books that observes astronomy from a New Zealand perspective. The writing is simply brilliant, and the science is made easy to understand, whether explaining asteroids or aurorae. The act of stargazing is literally all within the pages of this fascinating book that educates and illuminates without dogma. For New Zealanders, this book encapsulates everything and more we understand observing the universe from our shores. Again, expert narration from Paul Barrett in 9 hours, 3 minutes. Book number 136200.

New DAISY audio

This issue contains DAISY audio books added to the collection since the last issue of Sound and Touch in March 2021.


BA: Blackstone Audio Inc.

BN: DAISY audio Book Number

CNIB: (formerly known as) Canadian National Institute for the Blind

NLS: National Library Service

RNIB: Royal National Institute of Blind People

RNZFB: Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind

Ulv: Ulverscroft

VAILS: Vision Australia Information and Library Service

Short & Longlisted Ockham Award Nominees

Available: The following books short and longlisted at the Ockham book awards are available in DAISY audio.


Fake baby by Amy McDaid, Book number 133437


Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso, Book number 136734

This pākehā life: an unsettled memoir by Alison Jones, Book number 136386

In production: The following books short and longlisted at the Ockham book awards are currently being produced in DAISY audio.


Victory Park by Rachel Kerr—The Hubert Church Prize for a best first book of Fiction

Nothing to See by Pip Adam

Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey

Sprigs by Brannavan Gnanalingam

The Swimmers by Chloe Lane

2000ft above worry level by Eamonn Marra

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Toto among the murderers by Sally J Morgan


Specimen: Personal Essays by Madison Hamill—The E.H. McCormick Prize for a best first work of General Non-Fiction

Te Hāhi Mihinare: The Māori Anglican Church by Hirini Kaa

The Mirror Steamed Over: Love and Pop in London, 1962, Anthony Byrt

Crossing the lines the story of three homosexual New Zealand soldiers in World War II, by Brent Coutts


The Savage Coloniser Book by Tusiata Avia—Winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

I Am a Human Being by Jackson Nieuwland—The Jessie Mackay Prize for a best first book of Poetry

Funkhaus by Hinemoana Baker

Magnolia by Nina Mingya Powles

National Anthem by Mohamed Hassan

Adult non-fiction

Actors and Entertainers (Biography)

Sure beats working by Fred Botica. Autobiographical account of the author’s life, a migrant to New Zealand and a DJ in New Zealand and Australia. Read by Gary Denvir in 12 hours, 42 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136427

African Countries

Born a crime: stories from a South African childhood by Trevor Noah. Trevor Noah is the host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Noah was born illegal—the son of a white, Dutch father and a black Xhosa mother in South Africa. This first book tells his coming of age story during the last years of apartheid-era South Africa and the turbulent years that followed. Read by Francis Mountjoy in 8 hours, 25 minutes. RNZFB. BN 135721


Daughters of Erebus by Paul Holmes. The crash of a giant DC-10 airliner on the lower slopes of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus in late November 1979 remains one of New Zealand’s greatest disasters. Everyone on board—257 people—were killed and the aircraft disintegrated to nothing but a black smear on the snow. This is the story of Captain Jim Collins’s family—his wife Maria and his four daughters—who endured not only the death of a beloved husband and father, but also the injustice of his being wrongly blamed for the disaster. Read by Romy Hooper in 18 hours, 14 minutes. RNZFB. BN 137288

Disabilities (Biography)

Worship is a lifestyle: a memoir by Lesley Lilley. The author was born blind but had an operation that gave her some sight. She tells us about her life as an adult but also talks about her schooling with the Foundation for the Blind for low vision children, learning Braille, and the frustrations of being able to see the Braille with her eyes more than she could feel it with her fingers. Read by Margaret Blay in 3 hours, 10 minutes. RNZFB. BN 135680

Disabilities and Society

Nobody makes games for us by Jarek Beksa. An investigation into the independent design of audio games through the development of the Audio Game Hub and Blind Cricket. Read by Christina Cie in 13 hours, 32 minutes. RNZFB. BN 137249


Common ground: garden histories of Aotearoa by Matt Morris. Common Ground: Garden histories of Aotearoa takes a loving look at gardens and garden practices in Aotearoa New Zealand over time. While many gardening books focus on the grand plantings of wealthy citizens, Matt Morris explores the historical processes behind “humble gardens”—those created and maintained by ordinary people. Read by Paul Barrett in 11 hours, 1 minute. RNZFB. BN 137304

Health and Wellbeing

Think like a monk: train your mind for peace and purpose every day by Jay Shetty. The author, a social media superstar and host of the podcast “On Purpose”, shares insights earned as a practising monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life. This book is a guide on how to overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that lie within all of us. Read by John Leigh in 11 hours, 59 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136415

Maori Spirituality

Aroha: Māori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet by Dr Hinemoa Elder. The author, a Māori psychiatrist, shares the power of aroha (love) and explores how it can help us all every day, through 52 whatatauki—traditional Māori sayings, proverbs, and life lessons. Read by Romy Hooper in 3 hours, 12 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136387

New Zealand (Biography)

Finding Frances Hodgkins by Mary Kisler. Frances Hodgkins, our most celebrated artist, left New Zealand in 1901, determined to succeed. In this engaging book, curator Mary Kisler follows in Hodgkins’ footsteps through England, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Wales to discover the locations in which Hodgkins constantly pushed her exploration of modernism. Warm, insightful, fresh, expert and richly illustrated, this handsome book sheds new light on Hodgkins’ life, art and social milieu. Read by Catriona MacLeod in 11 hours, 54 minutes. RNZFB. BN 133373

New Zealand History

Rock College: an unofficial history of Mount Eden Prison by Mark Derby. An unofficial history of the Mount Eden Prison. For 150 years, it has held both New Zealand’s political prisoners and its most infamous criminals. Its interior has been the scene of mass riots, daring escapes and hangings. Read by Paul Barrett in 13 hours, 3 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136385

NZ and Pacific Non-Fiction

Gangland: New Zealand’s underworld of organised crime by Jared Savage. Award-winning investigative reporter Jared Savage shines a light into New Zealand’s rising underworld of organised crime and violent gangs. These stories included in this book go behind the headlines and open the door to an invisible world—a world where millions of dollars are made, life is cheap, and allegiances change like the flick of a switch. Read by John Leigh in 9 hours, 35 minutes. RNZFB. BN 137287

Politics (Biography)

The room where it happened: a White House memoir by John Bolton. A seasoned public servant with thirty years of experience in international issues and a reputation for tough, blunt talk—served as National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump for 519 days. In his memoir, he offers a substantive and factual account of his time with the Trump administration. Read by Wendy Karstens in 28 hours, 18 minutes. RNZFB. BN 135887

Royal Families (Biography)

Finding freedom: Harry and Meghan, and the making of a modern royal family, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. This book goes beyond the headlines to reveal unknown details of Harry and Meghan’s life together, dispelling the many rumours and misconceptions that plague the couple on both sides of the pond. As members of the select group of reporters that cover the British Royal Family and their engagements, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have witnessed the young couple’s lives as few outsiders can. Read by author in 10 hours, 34 minutes. BA. BN 136256


Listen to spirit by Kelvin Cruickshank with Donna Fleming. The author shares stories from his lifelong work listening to spirit. This book draws on his most recent work, including how he has helped to solve high profile missing person’s cases and murders, both in his native New Zealand and in the USA. Read by Bruce Hopkins in 7 hours, 12 minutes. RNZFB. BN 133251

War Memories (Biography)

Agent Sonya: lover, mother, soldier, spy by Ben Macintyre. In the quiet Cotswolds village of Great Rollright in 1945, an elegant housewife emerged from her cottage to go on her usual bike ride. A devoted wife and mother-of-three, Mrs Burton seemed to epitomise rural British domesticity. However, rather than pedalling towards the shops with her ration book, she was racing through the Oxfordshire countryside to gather scientific intelligence from one of the country’s most brilliant nuclear physicists. Secrets that she would transmit to Soviet intelligence headquarters via the radio transmitter she was hiding in her outdoor privy. Far from a British housewife, Mrs Burton—born Ursula Kuczynski, and codenamed “Sonya”—was a German Jew, a dedicated communist, a colonel in Russia’s Red Army, and a highly-trained spy. Read by Ben McIntyre in 13 hours, 23 minutes. Ulv. BN 136852

Women (Biography)

Know your place by Golriz Ghahraman. When she was just nine, the author and her parents were forced to flee their home in Iran. After a terrifying and uncertain journey, they landed in Auckland where they were able to seek asylum and create a new life. This autobiography talks about making a home in Aotearoa, the author’s work as a human rights lawyer, her United Nations missions, and how she became the first refugee to be elected to the New Zealand Parliament. A story about breaking barriers, and the daily challenges of prejudice that shape the lives of women and minorities. In addition, about overcoming fear, about family, and about finding a place to belong. Read by Catriona MacLeod in 10 hours, 13 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136426

Adult Fiction

Crime Fiction

Hunting game, by Helene Tursten. When one of her peers is murdered during a routine hunting trip, Embla takes charge of the search to track down the killer. However, the murky underworld she uncovers during the course of the investigation will force her to grapple with some dark secrets of her own. Detective Inspector Embla Nystrom series, book 1. Has sequel: Winter grave, to be added to collection soon. Read by Christina Cie in 7 hours, 30 minutes. BLVNZ. BN 137282

Chaos by Patricia Cornwell. A twenty-six-year-old woman is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. Dr. Kay Scarpetta is certain that it is not a natural or accidental death. Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who has access to her private information and proves increasingly difficult to track. Kay Scarpetta series, book 24. Sequel to: Depraved heart, BN 134882. Read by Anne Speir in 12 hours, 43 minutes. BLVNZ. BN 134882

Close to the bone by Stuart MacBride. Someone is leaving little knots of bones outside Detective Inspector Logan McRae’s house, but he has more things to worry about. Rival drug gangs are fighting over product and territory; two teenage lovers are missing; someone’s crippling Asian immigrants; and Logan has been lumbered with an ambitious new Detective Sergeant, a mountain of paperwork, and the unwelcome attention of his superiors and the local crime boss. Logan McRae series, book 8. Sequel to: Shatter the bones, BN 136832. Has sequel: The missing and the dead, Not yet in collection. Read by Steven Worsely in 14 hours, 33 minutes. Ulv. BN 136844


Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant, hears a song drifting from the corpse of a murdered jazz player. As the investigation progresses, Peter begins to suspect that, his dad, a famous trumpet player, may be connected to the case. Violence and strong language. Read by Erik Sandvold in 12 hours, 10 minutes. NLS. BN 133745

Trader by Charles De Lint. Max Trader, an introverted artisan, wakes up one morning and finds himself in another man’s body, that of the wastrel Johnny Devlin. While Max ponders how to reclaim his life, he encounters people and situations that cause him to re-evaluate the meaning of living. Some strong language and some violence. Read by Brian Conn in 17 hours, 1 minutes. NLS. BN 133649

General Fiction

Things not seen by Andrew Clements. When fifteen-year-old Bobby wakes up and cannot see his body, his relationship with the physical world and with his parents’ changes. He confides his invisibility situation to a new friend, Alicia, blinded two years before, and they try to figure out what happened to him. Read by Barry Bernson in 6 hours, 12 minutes. NLS. BN 133626

Historical Novels

Gulliver’s wife by Lauren Chater. London, 1702. When Gulliver is lost at sea, his wife is forced to rebuild her life without him. However, upon his return, her ordered world is turned upside down. She is caught in a crossfire of superstition and fear driven by her husband’s outlandish claims of the wonders he has seen, and she must set out on her own journey to discover the truth of Gulliver’s travels. Read by Janice Finn in 12 hours, 40 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136425

Sword of kings by Bernard Cornwell. Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a man of his word. Uhtred has sworn that on King Edward’s death, he will kill two men, and now Edward is dying. A violent attack drives Uhtred south away from the ancestral home he fought so hard to regain and headlong into the battle for kingship. As two opposing Kings gather their armies, fate drags Uhtred to London, and a struggle for control that must leave one King victorious, and one dead. Uhtred’s destiny is to stand at the heart of the shield wall once again. Read by Gary Denvir in 11 hours, 17 minutes. Last kingdom series, book 12. Sequel to: War of the wolf, BN 133198. Has sequel: War lord, not yet in collection, waiting on book for studios. RNZFB. BN 133410

Death of kings by Bernard Cornwell. As the ninth century wanes, England appears about to be plunged into chaos once more. For the Viking-raised but Saxon-born warrior, Uhtred, whose life seems to shadow the making of England, this presents him with difficult choices. King Alfred is dying and his passing threatens the island of Britain to renewed warfare. Alfred wants his son, Edward, to succeed him but there are other Saxon claimants to the throne as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north. Last kingdom series, book 6. Has sequel: The pagan lord, BN 133432. Sequel to: The burning land, not yet in collection, on order from ABC. Ulv. BN 136837

The secrets between us by Judith Lennox. It is Christmas 1937 when sisters Rowan and Thea travel from London to Scotland to visit their dying father. Having lost their mother in a tragic sailing accident when they were young, the two women are accustomed to grief. But they have no idea that their father’s death will expose a terrible deception … for back in London is his wife Sophie and their two sons. Neither family knows of the other’s existence, nor when news reaches Sophie of Hugh’s death, her whole world is turned upside down. Meanwhile, Rowan’s marriage is crumbling, and Thea reluctantly finds herself acting as a go-between for her sister and her lover. However, with the onslaught of World War II, the lives of all three women will change forever. Read by Penelope Freeman in 15 hours, 40 minutes. Ulv. BN 136845

Light Romance

The elite by Kiera Cass. Six women remain in the competition to win Prince Maxon’s love. The closer America gets to the crown, the more torn she feels. Each moment with Maxon is like a fairy tale, but whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, she longs for him—and she is running out of time to choose. The Selection series, book 2. Sequel to The selection BN 87887. Has sequel The one, BN 136272. Read by Amy Rubinate in 8 hours, 1 minute. BA. BN 136268

Modern Women’s Fiction

The book of two ways by Jodi Picoult. Dawn Edelstein is on a plane when she is told to prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, their beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula. But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, a man who she met fifteen years ago. He works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a career Dawn once studied for but was forced to abandon. The airline ensures that the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation to wherever they want to go. The obvious destination is to fly home, but she could take another path: return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history. Read by Janice Finn in 15 hours, 44 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136730

Mystery and detective stories

Troubled blood by Robert Galbraith. Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwall when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough—who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974. Strike has never tackled a cold case before, let alone one forty years old. However, despite the slim chance of success, he is intrigued and takes it on—adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, are currently working on. Cormoran Strike series, book 5. Sequel to: Lethal white, BN 129959. Read by Robert Glenister in 31 hours, 51 minutes. Ulv. BN 136843

Raven black by Ann Cleeves. Fran Hunter finds the strangled body of her teenage neighbour, Catherine Ross, as she walks home through the snow. The news of her death filters quickly through the quiet islands. Catherine’s startling and vicious demise has thrown a veil of suspicion over everyone who knew her, and detective Jimmy Perez is determined to keep the investigation open and the rumours at bay. Shetland series, book 1. Has sequel: White nights, BN 136848. Read by Kenny Blyth in 10 hours, 18 minutes. Ulv. BN 136830

Blue lightning by Ann Cleeves. Shetland Detective Jimmy Perez knows it will be a difficult homecoming when he returns to the Fair Isles to introduce his fiancée, Fran, to his parents. It is a community where everyone knows each other, and strangers are still viewed with a degree of mistrust. Challenging to live on at the best of times, with the autumn storms raging, the island feels cut off from the rest of the world. The islanders are trapped, tension is high and tempers become frayed. When a woman’s body is discovered at the renowned Fair Isles bird observatory, with feathers threaded through her hair, the islanders react with fear and anger. Shetland Island series, book 4. Sequel to: Red bones, currently only available in braille and ebraille formats, in next ulverscroft order. Has sequel: Dead water, in next ulverscroft order. Read by Kenny Blyth in 10 hours, 22 minutes. Ulv. BN 136846

Pepper Pike: a Milan Jacovich mystery, by Les Roberts. Introducing Milan Jacovich, Cleveland’s favourite private eye. Milan, an ex-cop, Vietnam veteran, and former football player, is a private investigator with a master’s degree, and a knack for finding trouble. Milan is offered a huge sum by high-powered advertising executive Richard Amber for twelve hours of bodyguard service. However, when Milan gets to the Amber house in the elegant suburb of Pepper Pike, no one is home. The next morning, Amber’s beautiful but brittle wife hires Milan to find her husband, who, it seems, has disappeared. Milan Jacovich series, book 1. Has sequel: Full Cleveland, BN 130295. Read by Gary Denvir in 6 hours, 58 minutes. RNZFB. BN 135541

NZ and Pacific Novels

Heartland by Jenny Pattrick. Donny Mac, a loveable simpleton put in prison on trumped-up charges, is released at Eastertime about a month before Pansy Holloway, also known as Nightshade, disappeared for good. When an accident threatens to put Donny back into prison, he and a friend come up with a solution. However, can the secret remain hidden? Read by Christina Cie in 10 hours, 12 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136544

The last time we spoke by Fiona Sussman. One mild summer evening in rural New Zealand the lives of Carla Reid, a middle-aged farmer’s wife, and Ben Toroa, an illiterate teen, brutally collide. Neither will be the same again, their futures forever linked. In the bleak aftermath of this home invasion, the story traces both Carla and Ben’s journey as they each try to make sense of their new reality. Carla’s long road from rage and resentment interleaves with Ben’s time in prison as he hardens into manhood. Set against these parallel stories is also the voice of a Maori ancestor who looks down from beyond, transporting the story to a wider historical stage. Read by Penelope Freeman in 9 hours, 20 minutes. Ulv. BN 136833


Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble. This collection of poems speaks about beauty, activism, power and popular culture with compelling guile, a darkness, a deep understanding and sensuality. Winner of the 2019 Jessie Mackay Prize for Best First Book of Poetry. Read by Romy Hooper in 1 hour, 16 minutes. RNZFB. BN 133439

Science Fiction

The testaments by Margaret Atwood. Following the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. The lives of three radically different women are about to converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets. Handmaid Tales series, book 2. Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, BN 46203. Read by Margaret Blay in 11 hours, 11 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136729

The twelve by Justin Cronin. Present day: As three strangers attempt to navigate the chaos cast upon civilization by a U.S. government experiment gone wrong, their destinies intertwine. More than a hundred years in the future: Amy, Peter, Alicia and the others introduced in “The Passage” pinpoint the weaknesses of the twelve original vampires, even as they confront a betrayal by one of their own. Passage series, book 2. Sequel to: The passage, BN 136330. Has sequel: The city of mirrors, BN 136546. Read by Catriona MacLeod in 23 hours, 55 minutes. RNZFB. BN 136547

The Family

Sons and other flammable objects, by Porochista Khakpour. The story of the trials and tribulations faced by an Iranian family forced to leave their homeland. A teenage son painfully aware that he is different; a father consumed by his sense of exile; a mother trying to fit in and make friends. All of them unable to make sense of the terrifying, violent last moments in the homeland left behind. Read by Liz Barry in 11 hours, 19 minutes. RNZFB. BN 131243


Where the crawdads sing by Delia Owens. For years, Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast is haunted by rumours of the “Marsh Girl”—barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. When a handsome local man is found dead, the locals immediately suspect her. However, she is not what they say. Read by Janice Finn in 10 hours, 58 minutes. RNZFB. BN 135514

The kingdom, by Jo Nesbo. Before Roy’s father died in the car crash that also killed Roy’s mother, he told his teenaged son that it was his job to protect his little brother, Carl, from the world and from Carl’s own impulsive nature. Roy took that job seriously, especially after the two were orphaned. But a small part of him was happy when Carl decided that the tiny town of Os in the mountains of Norway wasn’t big enough to hold him and took off to Canada to make his fortune. Which left Roy to pursue the quiet life he loved as a mechanic in the place where they grew up. Then suddenly an older Carl is back, full of big plans to develop a resort hotel on the family land, promising that not only will the brothers strike it rich, but so will the town. Read by Sean Barrett in 17 hours, 47 minutes. Ulv. BN 136842

Worth dying for: a Reacher novel by Lee Child. Traveling through a small Nebraska farming community, Reacher angers the abusive Duncan trucking family who have all of their neighbours cowed. They want Reacher gone before an illegal shipment arrives, but he wants answers about the disappearance of a local girl. Violence and strong language. Jack Reacher series, book 15. Read by Mark Delgado in 12 hours, 2 minutes. NLS. BN 134021

Fifty fifty by Steve Cavanagh. Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife. Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom. Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury. However, one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be. Read by Adam Sims in 11 hours, 30 minutes. Ulv. BN 136840

War Stories

Liberation by Imogen Kealey. To the allies, she was a fearless freedom fighter, a Special Operations legend, a woman ahead of her time. To the Gestapo, she was a ghost, a shadow, the most wanted person in the world. However, at first, Nancy Wake was just another young woman living in Marseille and recently engaged to a man she loved. Read by Penelope Rawlins in 11 hours, 40 minutes. Ulv. BN 136851

Billy Brown, I’ll tell your mother by Bill Brown. By the time he was ten years old, Billy Brown was running a successful little business on the black market: whatever you needed, from bricks and firewood to dress material or machetes, Billy Brown could get it—or knew a man who could. For the right price, he would deliver it direct to your door in an old carriage pram. With energy and insight, Billy Brown paints a vivid and lively picture of Britain emerging from the ruins of the war, the hunger for opportunity, the growing pace of modernisation and the pride and optimism that held communities together. Read by Bill Brown in 8 hours, 37 minutes. Ulv. BN 136838

New braille and ebraille books

This issue contains braille and ebraille books added to the collection since the last issue of Sound and Touch in March 2021. Adult braille books have a BN number as they are embossed upon request. Titles with more than 5 volumes will only be provided as ebraille. Please contact us to enquire as to whether a particular title is available for embossing.


UEB: Unified English Braille code

Ebraille: Electronic braille books held at Parnell Library

RNZFB: Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind

CNIB: (Formerly known as) Canadian National Institute for the Blind

SE: Seeing Ear

f.: Computer file available for embossing

v.: volume(s)

The following braille books are contracted, single-spaced and double sided.

Adult non-fiction

Business and Economics

Steinway & Sons, by Richard K. Lieberman. Lieberman traces the history of one of the world’s most famous instrument makers. Founded in 1853, the Steinway Company quickly rose to prominence and maintained its reputation with improvements in piano technology and creative marketing. Lieberman describes the company’s passage through two world wars, bitter labour disputes, growing competition, and five generations of family ownership, which ended in 1972 when the family sold the company to CBS. 6 f, UEB. CNIB. Ebraille 121197

Health and Wellbeing

The perfection of hope: a soul transformed by critical illness by Elizabeth Simpson. Elizabeth Simpson reflects on her life since her cancer diagnosis in 1994. After surviving a potentially lethal treatment, which put her into remission, she began to seek out alternative therapies and changed her lifestyle drastically. She also began writing the stories in this book, exploring the idea that hope is a powerful medicine itself. 3 f. UEB. CNIB. Ebraille 121220

Musicians (Biography)

Dead people I have known by Shayne Carter. In this autobiography, the author, a legendary New Zealand musician, tells the story of a life in music. This is an intimate exploration of the history of New Zealand Music. 7 f, UEB. RNZFB. Ebraille 133341. Braille 133388

Adult fiction


The white bone by Barbara Gowdy. Mud is a young elephant cow, orphaned at birth and blessed with visionary powers. Her adoptive family roams the plains in search of water holes, until ivory poachers find them. Many are killed, and Mud and the other survivors set out to search for the legendary Safe Place. 4 f. UEB. CNIB. Ebraille 121209

General Fiction

Halibut on the moon by David Vann. Story of a middle-aged and deeply depressed man who comes to live with his brother and wanders ghost-like through the remains of his old life attempting to find meaning in his frayed relationships with family and friends. Story of a man struggling to escape from the grip of dark logic of depression. This book has language and sexual material that may offend some. It deals with mental health issues and suicide and we have included support material at the end of the book. 3 f, UEB. RNZFB. Ebraille 135915. Braille 135916

NZ and Pacific Novels

Auē by Becky Manawatu. Story of human friendship and love—for humans and animals—and the courage they give to face sorrow, violence and dysfunctional families. 5 f, UEB. RNZFB. Ebraille 133382. Braille 133389


Where or when by Anita Shreve. When Sian Richards receives, a letter from her first love after they have been apart for thirty years she decides it can’t hurt to respond. They’re both married and have families, she decides nothing will come of answering the letter but a chance to reminisce. However, when she and Charles decide to meet again they are swept up in the past and overtaken by an obsessive love. They must accept the consequences and the effect of their relationship on both their families. Some descriptions of sex. May be embossed on request. 3 f, UEB. RNZFB. Ebraille 121208


Where are the children? by Mary Higgins Clark. Seven years before, no one, not even her husband, had believed Nancy Harmon’s pleas of innocence in the death of her two children. She changes her name and starts life over in New England. However, the nightmare returns when her two new children go missing. 4 f. UEB. CNIB. Ebraille 121207

Junior Collection

Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. Running is all Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, has ever known but he has done it for wrong reasons. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential. Available as: Braille 136148, Large print 127602

Dawn raid by Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith. My New Zealand Story. Includes bibliographical references (pages 170-171). A shadow is cast on Sofia’s normal sunny teenage world when her older brother Lenny starts talking about marches and protests and overstayers, and how Pacific Islanders are being bullied by the police for their passports and papers. Through her diary entries, we witness the terror of being dawn-raided and gain an insight into the work of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights. Available as: Braille 120298

Book of a thousand days by Shannon Hale. A fifteen-year-old girl shares her mistress’s years of punishment locked in a tower and brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are and work as kitchen maids. Available as: Braille 136639, Etext 136637

Refugee by Alan Gratz. Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together. Available as: Braille 137347

The Lotterys plus one by Emma Donoghue. Once upon a time, two couples with Jamaican, Mohawk, Indian, and Scottish ethnic roots won the lottery and bought a big house where all of them, four adults and seven adopted and biological children, could live together in harmony—but change is inevitable, especially when a disagreeable grandfather comes to stay. Grades 4-7. Read by Jo Crichton in 6 hours, 27 minutes. Available as: Daisy 134899, Etext 134898

Moo and Moo and the little calf too by Jane Millton; illustrated by Deborah Hinde. Based on a true event. During the massive 7.8M earthquake that hit New Zealand in November 2016, two cows and a calf were stranded on a two-metre high “island” when their paddock slid and buckled 80 metres from its original position. They stayed put and were rescued by farmers a day or so later. An iconic story of bravery in the face of great adversity, and of helping others and protecting those around us. Read by Christina Cie in 00 hours, 16 minutes. Available as: Daisy 133591

Story’s end by Marissa Burt. A deadly Enemy threatens the future of Story and only Una can stop his plans and save the character world from destruction. Read by Christina Cie in 8 hours, 12 minutes. Sequel to: Storybound: 129219. Available as: Daisy 131628, Braille 131627

Taniwhasaurus: the true story of finding the dinosaurs of Zealandia by Clayson Howell; illustrated by Mike Howell. The story of Joan Wiffen, a self-taught fossil hunter who discovered the first evidence of dinosaurs in New Zealand. Available as: Twin Vision 133257

Peril at the top of the world by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein; illustrated by Juliana Neufeld. After their adventures in China and Germany, the Kidd family heads to Russia where a set of priceless paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt has gone missing. Hot on the trail of the daring thieves, the Kidds race through the sinister streets of St. Petersburg and the wild Arctic tundra to track down the stolen treasure. The action never stops with more chases, sneak attacks, spy missions, and double-crossing than anyone could handle … except the Kidds! The treasure hunters; book 04. Sequel to: Secret of the Forbidden City: 128685. Available as: Daisy 87909, Braille 128689, Etext 128691

The boy at the back of the class by Onjali Q. Raúf; illustrated by Pippa Curnick. The book includes a thank you note, author’s note and other special information on additional pages at the end. A new boy sits in the empty chair at the back of the class. He never talks and never smiles and doesn’t like sweets! But then the boy sitting next to him learns the truth: the new boy is not strange, just a refugee who’s run away from a real War. Find out how his classmates plan to help him. Available as: Braille 136365

Young Adult Collection

The librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe; translated by Lilit Žekulin Thwaites. Includes bibliographical references. Follows the true story of Dita Kraus, a fourteen-year-old girl from Prague who after being sent to Auschwitz is chosen to protect the eight volumes prisoners have smuggled past the guards. Translated from the Spanish. Read by Dr John Reynolds in 13 hours, 17 minutes. Available as: Daisy 134905

Ghost boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Note: Racism is mentioned in this material. A twelve-year-old shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat is dead. As a ghost, he watches his family trying to cope with his death but also begins to notice other ghost boys. Each of them has a story and they all have something in common. Contains content that may be upsetting to young readers. Available as: Braille 136448, Etext 136446

The eternal city by Paula Morris. Laura Martin is on a class trip to Rome when Mercury, a dark-eyed boy with wings on his heels, appears to give her a message, and Laura soon realizes that she is at the center of a brewing battle between the gods and goddesses—and only she and her friends can unravel the mystery behind what is happening. Read by Owen Scott in 6 hours, 34 minutes. Available as: Daisy 132460

I am leather-man by Ged Maybury and Anna Venczel. Jake moves into his mother’s new house without telling his about-to-be-divorced wealthy parents, hoping to live there undisturbed. But that’s when his adventures and troubles really begin. Available as: Braille 136192

Rapture by Lauren Kate. The sky is dark with wings. And time is running out for Luce and Daniel. In order to stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the Fall began. Only Luce can break the curse, and it is her choice alone that will decide all of their fates. Has sequel: Unforgiven: 133314. Available as: Braille 133318, Etext 133316

The freedom merchants by Sherryl Jordan. 1600. Ireland. Story about a 13-year-old boy, whose life is changed because of the raids of corsair pirates who captured white Christians from as far north as fishing villages in England and Ireland, and even from Iceland, and sold them in slavery to Muslim masters in the Mediterranean. This white slave trade went on on the Barbary Coast (which was the Northern Coast of Africa). Available as: Braille 134890, Etext 134888

The poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighbourhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. Available as: Braille, 137008

Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan. Set in the UK in a village in the Middle Ages, it starts out with Harry losing control of an ox due to a bee buzzing inside his shirt. The ox kicks a young girl Tilly who is seriously injured. Harry is looking after the ox while its owner, Jeffrey, is having a romp in the woods with the beautiful Gwenifer. Jeffrey and Gwenifer have made Harry promise not to tell anyone what they are up to—and Harry adores Gwenifer and sticks to his word. The Steward of Lord Roderick’s Manor, Shem, presides in a Court hearing when Tilly’s father tries to get compensation for his daughter’s injuries. His mother, rumoured to be a witch, is a blind old crone who wants to take the long and perilous pilgrimage to Ransomwood to drink the tears of the statue of the Blessed Lady, hoping to restore her sight. Available as: Braille 136891

Contact details

Blind Low Vision New Zealand Library

Postal Address:


Blind Low Vision New Zealand

PO Box 104136

Lincoln North Post, Henderson, Auckland

Street Address:

Unit C—upper level

197 Universal Drive

Henderson, Auckland 0610

Phone during working hours: 0800-24-33-33 (Toll free)


Fax: 0800-24-33-34 (Toll free)

Blind Low Vision NZ Youth Library

Homai Campus

Blind & Low Vision Education Network NZ

Private Bag 801

Manurewa, Auckland 2243


Phone during working hours: 0800-24-33-33 (Toll free) or 268-3215 (Auckland callers)

Library Newsline on the Telephone Information Service (TIS)

Free calling areas:

Whangarei: 929-9099

Auckland: 302-3344

Hamilton: 834-2288

Tauranga: 929-6199

Napier-Hastings: 835-9136

Gisborne: 929-1033

Palmerston North: 354-8316

Wanganui: 348-4403

New Plymouth: 929-3088

Wellington: 389-3858

Nelson: 929-5033

Christchurch: 355-8381

Timaru: 688-6921

Oamaru: 433-1026

Dunedin: 455-8833

Balclutha: 418-3332

Gore: 203-3001

Invercargill: 218-6470

All other areas: 0800-36-33-44 (Toll free)

Sound and Touch is available in print, DAISY Audio over Alexa, on Bookdrive, email, braille or on TIS176. To change your format or cancel, please contact the Library. To receive Sound and Touch by email, send an email to

End of Sound and Touch June 2021