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Homegrown Books: Between You & Me, Culture in Context in Aotearoa

Thalia Henry recommends Between You & Me, Culture in Context in Aotearoa, an anthology, edited by Lee Murray, Piper Mejia and Jean Gilbert - Rogue House Publishing, 2022

Contributors include: a foreword by Victor Rodger, and stories and poems by Sarah Dunn, Jean Gilbert, Dan Rabarts, Isaiah Tour, Shriya Bhagwat, Kyle Mewburn, Ikey Ihaka Tunui, Gina Cole, Lee Murray, M.L.E. Brown, Sally McLennan, Jack Remiel Cottrell, Hina Tabassum Cheema, Donna McLeod, Piper Mejia, and Jade Kake, and by student writers Elizabeth Chua, Emma Sio, Jacob Hagan, Kevin Lee, Sian McIlroy, Rebecca Talsma, and Robbie Murray.


This is an anthology of short stories and poetry written for a Young Adult audience. The stories, told from a range of unique perspectives are inspired by the experiences or observations of the authors themselves and feature teenage protagonists.

With a foreword by acclaimed Samoan playwright Victor Rodger the diverse range of Aotearoa-New Zealand contributors embrace their culture in the context of their identity. And according to the blurb, “writing loudly into the silence of the page, they remind us that everyone has a story to share about how they found themselves still standing”.

If you’re a teacher, Between You & Me includes a comprehensive teaching guide, with particularly excellent suggestions on crafting stories. The guide includes individual notes on the narratives.

Each of the pieces in the collection included moments that made me smile or that I felt affected by, but I was particularly taken with The Dump by Sally McLean and Dancing Ghost by Gina Cole. I enjoyed reading the authors’ bios to follow each story, that included reflections about the inspiration for each piece.

I highly recommend this anthology for a teenage readership. We need to celebrate the diverse voices that illustrate stories and experiences of Aotearoa-New Zealanders and ensure that young audiences can read about themselves.

Cost: 15 class book bundle for $375, 2nd bundle for $330 (including teaching notes and postage)

Teacher notes are available here and you can buy the book as a class set in 15 copy bundles by emailing:

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