Cyclone Bola by Kath Beattie

It is 1988, and twelve-year-old Amy’s boat-mad parents are going on a sailing trip from Vanuatu back to New Zealand. Amy is most unimpressed, especially when her mother and father decide to send her to stay at her great-aunt and uncle’s home in Gisborne. Reluctantly she leaves for Gisborne, anticipating a boring stay at a farm; she couldn’t be more wrong.

Uncle Jim and Aunty June are both kind, charming people. Amy has fun exploring the vineyard they own, and begins to enjoy country life, even liking the nearby school that she attends. However, her stay is ruined by the stressful news that a cyclone is coming dangerously close to Vanuatu. Amy is concerned for her parents’ safety, and desperately tries to contact them. It doesn’t hit her that the cyclone could reach New Zealand until it is upon them.

Amy can only watch as the quiet countryside is transformed. The cyclone is destroying the land and putting lives in danger as fierce wind and rain attack Gisborne. As Amy, her uncle and aunt try to survive the storm, she wonders; when will it end? Will she see her parents again? The answers are uncertain; everyone’s fates are in the hands of the merciless cyclone.

 Cyclone Bola is a fascinating read; one of the latest book in the My New Zealand Story series. It’s a wonderful book to read for a project, as it has plenty of useful information on the topic of Cyclone Bola, and keeps you turning pages as Amy’s exciting tale unfolds. At the back of the book there are photographs of damage, to give readers an idea of just how destructive the cyclone really was. If you want to learn about the devastating Cyclone Bola- part of New Zealand’s history, then this is the book for you!

Reviewed by Tierney.

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