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About the book
  • Published: 1 October 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143771654
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $25.00

Hero of the Sea

Sir Peter Blake's Mighty Ocean Quests


Formats & editions


Meet Peter Blake, the famous New Zealand yachtsman, who won the world's most famous yacht races and worked to help save the world's precious waterways.

A stunning biographical picture book for young readers about Sir Peter Blake, world-renowned New Zealand yachtsman, adventurer and environmentalist.


“Remember,” he wrote, “this is the most beautiful world, and it's the only one we've got.”

Sir Peter Blake’s life was filled with amazing adventures. During his 30-year career on the ocean, he sailed around the globe, won the world’s most famous races and broke records. Even his red socks became a national sensation. But no matter how many trophies Peter won, he always knew the survival of our planet was more important.

This illustrated picture book, by an acclaimed author and illustrator, tells the remarkable story of a true Kiwi hero. It is the fourth book in their bestselling series about famous New Zealanders.

  • Pub date: 1 October 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143771654
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $25.00

About the Authors

David Hill

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. Hero of the Sea: Sir Peter Blake's Mighty Ocean Quests was published in 2018 and Dinosaur Hunter: Joan Wiffen's Awesome Fossil Discoveries was published in 2019.

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.

Phoebe Morris

Phoebe Morris has been drawing for herself since 1996, and for other people since 2013. From a small studio in Wellington, she has collaborated with acclaimed author David Hill on award-winning picture book biographies of famous New Zealanders for Penguin Random House New Zealand: Sir Edmund Hillary (First to the Top, 2015), Burt Munro (Speed King, 2016), Jean Batten (Sky High, 2017) and Sir Peter Blake (Hero of the Sea). Phoebe is also the illustrator of the Frankie Potts junior fiction series by Juliet Jacka.
Unanimously praised for the quality of the illustrations, First to the Top was named a 2016 Storylines Notable Picture Book. In a review for the New Zealand Listener, Ann Packer wrote 'Wellingtonian Phoebe Morris makes a stunning debut as an illustrator ... from the arresting cover, through cameos of his younger life, to haunting, other-worldly mountainscapes, Morris's style gives the old story a cool new edge.'
In 2018 Phoebe was shortlisted for the Russell Clark Award for Illustration in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Though much of her work focuses on narrative storytelling, Phoebe also creates illustrations for apps, websites, editorials, animation and interior design. Find out more about her work at phoebemorriscreative.com


Praise for Hero of the Sea

“The dream-team of Hill and Morris is back with the fourth in a thoughtful series of picture books recounting the life stories of some of New Zealand’s most daring record breakers. This focuses on sailor and environmentalist Sir Peter Blake’s remarkable life, explaining in straightforward writing and charming illustrations how he sailed from a North Shore childhood to become one of the world’s greatest yachtsman. It’s a chance for adults to reminisce about Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup triumphs — and the red socks — as well as talk with young readers about the natural world and why Sir Peter wanted to make a difference . . . leaving readers with the chance to think about how we can all work to make the world a better place.”

Dionne Christian and Zoe Gadd, Weekend Herald

“An absorbing account of a true Kiwi hero”

Ruth McIntyre, Australian Women's Weekly

“A beautiful biographical picture book that allows a new generation of Kiwi kids to learn about Sir Peter Blake. A stellar tribute to one of New Zealand’s greatest heroes, with great illustrations from Phoebe Morris.”

Paddy Richardson, Heidi North, and Rebekah Fraser., Judges' comments, NZ Booklovers Awards

“In Hero of the Sea we read about Sir Peter Blake's life from when he was a sailing-mad child through to a much-respected leader sailing the seas in the Whitbread Round the World races and the America's Cup. We also learn about how much he cared for the marine environment, how his family became part of his big adventures, and what caused his tragic end. Illustrated with Phoebe Morris's stunning illustrations - it's a much needed resource for 6-9+ year old readers, who love illustrated adventure stories.”

Maria Gill, Kids Books NZ


Awards & Recognition

  • NZ Booklovers Award

    Shortlisted • 2019 • NZ Booklovers Award for Best Children’s Book


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Q&A
The co-creators of Hero of the Sea interview each other about writing, illustrating and their latest collaboration.
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