Changing Times is a non-fiction book aimed 7-12 year olds giving an overview of the history of European settlers in New Zealand by following one town through the history of delivering their newspaper. It’s a complex undertaking, presented in comic book style, with snippets of the newspaper.
Eleven-year-old Matt is a newspaper delivery boy. He introduces us to Scottish settlers James and Mary McPherson, who started New Zealand’s first newspaper in 1840 (which isn’t factually correct), and their extended family who we’ll meet through the book.
Author Bob Kerr is an accomplished New Zealand author for children, and has twice been a judge of the New Zealand Post Book Awards. He understands how his hero Matt feels – his first job was delivering the newspaper in Tokoroa where he grew up.
Changing Times takes on a widely vast topic – the entire history of our country – and filters the changes that happened through our relationships with newspapers. While the book is admirable for trying to show a specific piece of European history in New Zealand through the way we receive the news, it misses the mark for giving an overview of anything other than the fact that the way we receive our news has changed, which in and of itself, doesn’t make a compelling story.
However, I do like the online link provided to a fictional blog by Matt, which gives more detail into some of the history of New Zealand that the book has referenced.