Thank you to all those reviewers who took the time to read and review my books.
Bonjour Lucy Bee
Fancy a quick trip to France? All you need is a cuppa, a comfy place to read, and this great book from Anne Ingram. Allons-y! Lucy Bennett, also known as Lucy Bee, is in France with her mother for a family reunion. Staying in her Tante Elise's small hotel, she quickly makes friends with her cousins Sylvie and Jean-Luc, but is not sure about their prickly big sister Celeste; besides, Celeste made some unkind comments about the refugees they saw as they drove home from the train station. While out walking the dogs, Lucy comes across one of the refugees who is hurt and decides to help him. But she can't do it on her own and recruits her cousins to the cause. Lucy's quiet family holiday is anything but. We get to experience it through her eyes as she explores more of the local area and gets to know her French family better. The French phrases throughout add a light handed authenticity, which coupled with the descriptive scene setting has you feeling like you are right there with Lucy. The plight of the refugees is handled well; there is no heavy lecturing, instead we are shown the human face of this global issue, and the reality of day-to-day obstacles and struggles to be overcome. There is plenty of action running through the storyline and a good resolution ties up everything up at the end. Well written, it is a thoroughly good read - Bonjour Lucy Bee will make you want to pack your bags for your own French adventure.
VANESSA HADLEY-OWEN, KIDSBOOKSNZ.BLOGSPOT.COM
The reader cannot help but admire Lucy Bee who has to cope with being in a foreign country with people she hasn't met before and trying to communicate with her smattering of French. Her cousin Jean-Luc is one minute friendly and the next stand-offish. Lucy wonders if it is her fault. Then she discovers an injured Afghani refugee boy, Qasim, and her compassion motivates her to secretly help him despite family opposition and prejudice towards refugees. The story does not get political but gently highlights the issue of war and killing as Qasim's background story comes out. Anne Ingram packs so much into this story. The byline on the front cover: "Just what is going on in this little French village?" hints at the mystery woven into the plot. Artworks have been stolen and it seems easy to blame the refugees. There are some lovely depictions of French culture, countryside and chateaux with some French history thrown in. For children aged 9-14 who enjoy mystery, travel or stories about family and relationships, I'd recommend this book.
NOVA GIBSON, LIBRARY MANAGER MASSEY PRIMARY SCHOOL (READ NZ)
Lucy and her mother take a trip to France for a long awaited family reunion. Life is an adventure with lots of new things to see and do, but more importantly, she becomes aware of the plight of the refugees who are seeking safety in France. The book gently tackles the topic of prejudice, tolerance and the current European refugee crisis. It also broaches the subject of illegal immigrants, refugee status and, through getting to know Qasim, the reader sees that illegal immigration often arises from the loss and separation from your homeland, and despair for your welfare. In this case, like many refugees, Qasim suffers the loss of his parents and siblings. The easy way this is written genuinely asks the Year 6 reader what they would do in a similar situation. This is an easy accessible read and I appreciated the good attempt at broaching what is a most pertinent subject in an effectively tender way. There is nothing overtly political in this book; only the truth about human relationships, identity and empathy. MELISSA SPARK, MAGPIES MAGAZINE
I can already think of a few French-New Zealand families I'll be recommending this family-oriented story to. Author Anne Ingram captures well the bewilderment we all feel when we find ourselves in an unfamiliar place. And she wastes no time in plunging Lucy into an adventure, with one of the family dogs Beau. Beau finds one of the young refugee boys in the bushes , with a broken foot. He is about Lucy's age, and his name is Qasim. His entire family was murdered several years earlier in Afghanistan, and after a long difficult journey he is in France illegally. Ingram has skilfully presented the emotions of a morally engaged girl confronted with unfamiliar cultural values ... a very well written narrative focusing on the ability of children to see a moral surety where adults so often cannot. It was also wonderful to see the many French phrases interwoven in the narrative as Lucy learns more of the language. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written family stories. I think deep-thinking pre-teens in particular will enjoy it. Recommended for ages 9+ SARAH FORSTER, THE SAPLING
The story cracks along at a fast pace, with plenty of action, intrigue and mystery to keep readers turning the page. Author Anne Ingram has created a cast of wonderful dynamic characters. Lucy is strong, compassionate and full of empathy. She takes on challenges and isn't afraid to push boundaries or stand up for what she believes in. Each of her cousins have their own backgrounds and emotions, opinions and thoughts. This isn't a story of happy families - there are fights, differences in opinions and views. Ingram does a great job of integrating French words and phrases into the story with translations, which mean you don't have to flip back and forwards to the glossary during reading. A family tree at the start of the book helps readers keep track of the numerous family members. Suitable for upper primary school students it will spark deeper thinking and offers space for reflection for these children. Bonjour Lucy Bee is a considerate and considered story about an important topic.
This is a rich intelligent book designed to capture a young reader's imagination through an interplay of many different themes held together by a pacey adventure story. The background is is the landscape, language and culture of France and the history of Burgundy (but without a single boring date). The storyline: a very special summer holiday into which is woven a contemporary conundrum that challenges Lucy's innate New Zealand sense of justice and fair play. Her dilemma calls for unerringly mature responses; young readers will be hoping at every turn of the page that she makes the right choices. The array of characters is delightful - all ages, three nationalities, various temperaments all tested by changing circumstances.
A thoughtful, well written story. ANN DAVID, GOODREADS
Lucy Bee & the Secret Gene
On the way home from school. Lucy is bullied by an older boy and called a fuzzy-haired freak. She has thick fuzzy hair and it bothers her big time ... she thinks: "Where did I get my fuzzy hair from?" She decides she looks nothing like her parents and that she has either been adopted or swapped at birth. Psychologists tell us many children have such thoughts. Her mother and father handle it well but Lucy is unconvinced. A school science project gives Lucy and her friend Megan a chance to compile a family tree and investigate family traits and DNA profiling. Will this provide the answer? A simple yet fascinating story that also highlights childhood friends, vandalism and bullying. BOB DOHERTY, DOMINION POST
I really enjoyed this book. It is about a young girl called Lucy Bee. Lucy was quite a girl who got bullied because of her fuzzy hair. She began to wonder if she was adopted because she looks different from the rest of her family. The story followed her as she digs up her family history. The story kept me guessing until the end. I can't wait for Anne's next book.
EVIE PETERS, aged 11 years, KAPANUI SCHOOL
Lucy Bee's bete noir is Neil, whose name-calling about her frizzy hair sets the 'Freakgirl' looking for evidence that she's adopted - no one else in her family has the same hair. Mindful that the boy's black eye hints at his own victimhood, Lucy researches her DNA under the guise of a school science project. A satisfying story of friendship and family.
ANN PACKER, NEW ZEALAND LISTENER
This is a delightful story of the small dramas children have in their lives - nagging doubts about identity, loyalty, the shifting nature of friendship - which seem to underpin most dramas at primary school. Lucy Bee explores these and resolves them. Anne Ingram knows, understands how to write for children. JOHN MACINTYRE, NATIONAL RADIO
I really enjoyed this book. It's beautifully written. It's funny. I loved it. And what I really liked was that it looked at bullying from both sides.
PAM COLEMAN, YOUTH SERVICES COORDINATOR FOR KAPITI LIBRARIES.
Like many children. Lucy Bennett suddenly has a terrible moment of doubt. Are her parents really her parents? Lucy decides to track her genes and the quest keeps the reader guessing until the last pages. This is one of those stories you simply do not want to put down.
BARBARA MURISON, AROUND THE BOOKSHOPS
I have just read an awesome book that is just right to encourage kids into family history. Lucy has frizzy hair but no one else in her family does. The Science Fair is coming up and Lucy needs to find a project. Voila: lets look at family characteristics and see who in the wider family shares them. It's a good read and will get the kids thinking about how all this genes and DNA stuff works. NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY OF OF GENEALOGISTS
Anne Ingram handles Lucy's story with great skill and a light touch. You will want to know where that hair came from.
RENE NOL, OTAGO DAILY TIMES
Ben, a teenager from New Zealand, has his holiday in Borneo, Malaysia well worked out. His plans include windsurfing, snorkeling and lazing by the pool; but they definitely do not include tours to cultural villages that his mother insists he come on. However, it is during a tour that Ben meets Mahmood, a young Malay about his own age. The two have barely become friends when they are thrust into a world that Ben could only have dreamed about - the dangerous world of modern Malaysian sea robbers. Anne Ingram...writes with a classic adventure style and with tight descriptive passages which bring Malaysia into the imagination with ease. A great read for ages 11+ and in an attractively presented book.
In our class we read your book Sea Robbers. I really enjoyed the story. It had a lot of action in it. My favourite character was Kassim.
ROCHELLE REES, MANNING INTERMEDIATE
Pirates in an exotic foreign land...isn't that what all boys dream about? New Zealand teenager Ben certainly thought a family holiday in Malaysia would be made all the more interesting by an encounter with some. Young imaginative minds will enjoy this adventurous tale. BAY OF PLENTY TIMES
An exciting story about piracy and kidnapping in Borneo. Ben had speculated about pirates, but finds the reality rather more frightening than his rather glamorised imaginings. He also develops a friendship with Mahmood, a Malay villager whose life and aspirations are very different from his own. DOMINION POST
Anne Ingram's first novel aimed at teenagers and she does a ripping job. At 86 pages, she manages to pack a lot of action into the tale, interspersed with an obvious knowledge of the country she writes about. THE CHRONICLE
This is a neat book for teenagers - a gripping story that embraces the Malaysian and New
Zealand cultures. NORTHLAND TIMES
This book will appeal to less motivated readers as it looks short but offers a good storyline with rounded characters they will relate to easily. It also has a great cover which will make it attractive. NEW AND NOTABLE