Funny, moving and devastatingly honest, See Ya, Simon is a New Zealand favourite that has won several awards and has been translated into seven languages. A must read for all teenagers.
David Hill is a prolific and highly regarded New Zealand writer, playwright, poet, columnist and critic. Best known for his highly popular and award-winning body of work for young people, ranging from picture books to teenage fiction, his novels have been published all around the world and translated into several languages, and his short stories and plays for young people have been broadcast here and overseas. Born in Napier, New Zealand, David studied at Victoria University of Wellington and became a high-school teacher, teaching both in New Zealand and the UK. In 1982 he became a full-time writer and his first novel for teenagers, See Ya, Simon (1992), about a boy with muscular dystrophy, was shortlisted for major awards in New Zealand and the UK and won the 1994 Times Educational Supplement Award for Special Needs. An enduringly popular novel used as a class text in high schools all over New Zealand, in 2002 it was awarded the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book. David has published more than 40 titles over the past three decades. His recent middle-grade novels include My Brother's War (2012), which in 2013 won the Junior Fiction Award and the Children's Choice Junior Fiction Award in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, the LIANZA Librarian's Choice Award and was listed as a Storylines Notable Junior Fiction book, a White Raven and an IBBY Honour book. This was followed by novels Brave Company (2014) - also a Storylines Notable Junior Fiction book; The Deadly Sky (2015); Enemy Camp (2016), which won the 2016 HELL Children's Choice Award for Junior Fiction; Flight Path (2017), a Storylines Notable Book; and Finding (May 2018). David is also the author of a number of critically acclaimed picture books with illustrator Phoebe Morris. First to the Top (2015) is their bestselling story of the life of Sir Edmund Hillary, which won the 2016 Children's Choice Award for non-fiction and was a 2016 Storylines Notable Picture Book. Speed King (2016), about the world-record-breaking achievements of Burt Munro, and Sky High (2017), recounting the life of the daring aviator Jean Batten, were both presented with Storylines Notable Picture Book awards. In 2004 David was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and in 2005 he was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal, acknowledging his significant contribution to children's literature in New Zealand. He lives in New Plymouth with his wife Beth, and juggles his many writing projects with numerous school visits, leading professional development for teachers, mentoring new and emerging writers and tutoring creative writing.
Gr 6-8-A sensitively written story of friendship and an informative examination of the experience of a young person afflicted with muscular dystrophy. Nathan, a compassionate 14-year-old, relates how, through his friendship with Simon, he develops an appreciation for life that too often eludes teenagers. A sharp sense of humor underlies each boy's character, which intensifies the honesty of their relationship. Simon's words and actions spotlight the psychological problems faced by the disabled as he explains that he wants to be seen as a human being, not as someone to be avoided or pitied. He is an intelligent boy who is basically well adjusted to his situation. He participates in school as fully as his abilities allow. From the outset, it is clear that he will die during his adolescence, but the author avoids a maudlin tone, thus adding to the book's power. In this excellent novel peopled with multidimensional characters, Hill gives readers a look at this disabling and fatal disease. Booktalk this winner with Jan Slepian's Lester's Turn (Macmillan, 1981; o.p.) and Anne Knowles's Under the Shadow (HarperCollins, 1983).- Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Hill's first YA novel, set in the author's native New Zealand, chronicles 14-year-old Nathan's turmoil as he watches best friend Simon deteriorate from muscular dystrophy. Popular and fun-loving, Simon won't tolerate pity in himself or others. Yet he's aware that death is imminent--a fact he openly shares with his classmates. Nathan reciprocates Simon's courage and candor: even as he inwardly agonizes over signs of Simon's progressive weakening, he helps boost Simon's morale with cheerful, tough banter. Hill is particularly adept at demonstrating how his characters use humor in coping with Simon's disease and in preserving Simon's self-respect; his is a noble counterpart to weepy melodramas about dying teens. The novel falters in places--the antagonism between Nathan and his sister is overdone, and Nathan's romantic interest in a classmate is handled in almost painfully obvious fashion--but in the end it is a glowing and memorable tribute to a stalwart, life-affirming friendship. Ages 10-14. (June)