Toitoi 33 is the latest collection of stories, art, and more, created by young people aged 5-18 from across the motu. Student Charlotte Hainstock offers us her thoughts on the newest issue.
This latest issue of New Zealand’s Toitoi magazine is filled to the brim with Kiwi culture. From pavlova haiku to a comic about a slime-cat, this magazine is bursting with young people’s imagination and ingenuity. This issue has two award-winning pieces from talented New Zealand kids, including light-hearted fiction, stories that address the important things such as when the teachers were on strike, the weight of the ANZACs, and even what it means to be a suffragette.
This latest issue of New Zealand’s Toitoi magazine is filled to the brim with Kiwi culture
There were far too many amazing stories for all of them to be listed here, but there were a few parts that really stood out for me. The first was a short one called ‘Another World’, written by Amelia Jacker (11) and illustrated by Sophie Bell-Booth (12). It is about a magnificent underwater scene, filled with atmospheric details which were illustrated beautifully from the point of view of a girl who is amazed by the sights around her, and is taking it all in. I’m not quite sure if this story is true or not, but it feels like it could be the reader who is seeing the whole thing for themselves.
Another one I really enjoyed and made me laugh was titled ‘Memo to my Human’, written and illustrated respectively by twelve-and-ten-year-olds Ruby Merwood and Zach Dei-Conti. Written in an email-type format, this was, as the title suggests, a memo from a cat to his human, listing things to improve on. I loved this piece and its humour. It resonated with me because I have my own fussy cat who likes everything to go her way, so I saw her furry face as I read this.
This book would be a really cool way for younger people to learn that even though we may be the smallest members of our community, we can still make a difference
Another cool piece was called ‘On Your Marks!’, which was written and illustrated by primary-schoolers Maia McIntosh and Charlie French. It was about a non-enthusiastic cross-country runner who really did not want to be there, but managed to persevere and make it through. A really descriptive bit was “the top three runners are showered with praise like honey drizzled on warm biscuits”. I thought that was a really cool simile that makes a lot of sense, don’t you think?
I definitely felt a connection to this one as it reminded me of myself an awful lot. I’m certainly not a runner! I really thought this was an awesome bit of writing.
The last piece I will go into detail about was a short story called ‘The Birds’ Choir’, which was written and illustrated by Seina Evans (12), and Ziqi Cao (14). This lovely, heartwarming story is about a girl who is exploring the forest, and making some new feathered friends along the way. No matter what anyone says, she will dance with the birds. I really loved this story, filled with beautiful illustrations of iconic New Zealand birds. What I loved most about this was that it was purely Kiwi, and had obviously had a lot of hard work put into it.
With gorgeous illustrations and well-thought out pieces, I really enjoyed reading this. I think that this book would be a really cool way for younger people to learn that even though we may be the smallest members of our community, we can still make a difference.
To find out how to submit your work to Toitoi, check out their submission page here.
Edited by Charlotte Gibbs
Published by Toitoi Media Limited
Charlotte Hainstock is a teenage homeschool-highschooler living just out of Christchurch. She is an avid reader, writer and artist herself.