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Moving, charming novel from much-loved, international-award-winning children's author Kate de Goldi, author of the 10pm question. Beautifully packaged and illustrated throughout with drawings by Greg O'Brien.

Moving, charming novel from much-loved, international-award-winning children's author Kate de Goldi, author of the 10pm question. Beautifully packaged and illustrated throughout with drawings by Greg O'Brien.

A Globe 100 Best Book of 2014

Perry’s mother and father are busy people … they’re impatient, they’re tired, they get cross easily. And they think that only children, like Perry, should be kept busy. On Saturday mornings Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the Santa Lucia rest home, but Gran never remembers them. ‘Who is that man?’ Honora Lee asks when Perry’s father leaves the room.

After movement class is abruptly cancelled, Perry is allowed to go to Santa Lucia on Thursday afternoons. She discovers her Gran has an unconventional interest in the alphabet, so Perry decides to make an alphabet book with the help of Honora and the others. Soon everyone is interested in Perry’s book project.

Kate De Goldi’s The ACB with Honora Lee unfolds with characteristic warmth, quirky, surprising humour and a rich cast of ‘residents’. The story is a meditation on kindness and patience and acceptance; that of the very young and the very old. It's a story that will resonate with echoes of recollection for many — from Perry’s endearing perspective on the adult world to the embracing kindness of those who care for the elderly.

A many-layered and playful novel with a crossover audience, it will delight both the young and the not so young.

Shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2013 and the LIANZA Award 2013.


Wholly unique in voice, and warmly hilarious, this story of a granddaughter making a book with her grandmother and her co-habitants in their long-term care home is a diamond.

Lauren Bride, Globe and Mail, Canada

A must-read. This book is about Perry and her visits to her grandmother who has lost her memory but has a very strong personality. It is like this: 1. Her grandmother goes very fast and bumps into everything, even people. 2. She has lost her memory and lives in a place that looks after old and memory-lost people like her. 3. She loves her alphabet very much, so her 9-year-old grand-daughter Perry makes her a mixed-up illustrated alphabet about the place where she lives. 4. Because she has lost her memory Perry’s grandmother goes into other people’s rooms, sleeps in other people’s beds and takes other people’s things. Nobody minds except Melvyn Broome. One day Perry’s grandmother steals peppermints from his room so he attacks her with his walking stick and they have to be separated by a nurse. 5. Of course the other annoying thing is that because she has lost the remembering part of her mind she can’t remember where she is or who people are. Sometimes she mistakes people for other people from long ago. Also she can’t remember incidents like the one with Melvyn Broome. Perry’s grandmother and other people who have very bad memory loss have to have people to look after them all the time. Altogether I would say this book is about good things, even though it is also about memory loss and mortality. A book like no other, perhaps.

Cosmo, aged 10, Page & Blackmore

I read this novel in one sitting. I think you have to in order to hold in your head what it is all about. Perry is an imaginative 9 year old girl who needs constant stimulation. She has thick lensed glasses, an inquisitive and sharp mind and a caring nature. You can say aah here. Her mother and father fill her life up with after school activities like music and art work but she needs more. Then she finds out about her grandmother, Honora Lee. Honora is in a rest home, has dementia and a head full of memories that burst out at any time. Perry adores visiting her and decides to do an ABC book about life in the rest home. I had a mother with dementia and this brought it all home to me. You will laugh and cry at the same time. As the ACB book evolves Gregory O’Brien illustrates with perceptive drawings that reflect Perry’s understanding with Honora’s dementia. Absolutely superb. I loved the way Kate showed the family connections through the dialogue, I hope the children don’t miss this. As I read I reached the conclusion that it was a children’s book for adults as well as an adult’s book for children.The link between the old and the young is wonderfully portrayed with the usual eccentricity that characterise Kate De Goldi’s books.

Bob Doherty, Bob's Book Blog

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Formats & editions

  • EBook


    October 5, 2012

    Random House New Zealand

    128 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Awards and Recognition

  • Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Award
    Storylines Notable Junior Fiction
  • NZ Post Children's Book Awards
    Junior Fiction category

Also by Kate De Goldi