Book launch celebrates community in new community iHub

The latest picture-book by author / illustrator duo Sarah Johnson and Deborah Hinde, Enough tells the story of Hana and her efforts to ensure that everyone in her community has enough. Enough to eat, enough to wear, enough company and warmth. 

The book has been published with the assistance of a special grant from Copyright Licensing New Zealand. The 2020 Special Round of Contestable Fund Grants were for projects that responded to the changed environment in the New Zealand writing and publishing sector during COVID-19.

“This is a story I’ve been wanting to tell for a long time,” says Sarah. “And the type of community culture – with people working together to help each other out – that the book celebrates is one that I feel is strong in Raglan. We saw it during last year’s lockdown, but it’s a more general way of being and operating as well. For me, it’s part of the pleasure of living here. 

“Deb and I are very grateful to Copyright Licensing NZ for the grant, as it has enabled us to turn this dream of a story for children that celebrates community, into a beautiful picture-book that does just that!”

The pair are also pleased to be launching their book at the new community iHub on Wainui Road.

The iHub, which held its own official launch party last month, has been set up specifically to showcase and promote local experiences, crafts people and stories, as well as be a one-stop information hub for visitors to Whaingaroa. 

Councillor Lisa Thomson says that the book launch will be first of what the iHub board hopes will be a regular string of community events.

“Part of our purpose is to provide a venue for sharing local perspectives, stories and events,” says Lisa. “Now the iHub is open, we’re busy looking at ways the space can be used to bring people together and support the community.”

Part of the proceeds from every sale of Enough will be donated to Feed the Kids Whaingaroa – a volunteer-run community group that makes sure local school students have access to nutritious school lunches. At Saturday’s launch, $5 from every book sold will go to Feed the Kids. 

Enough will be the fifth book that Sarah and Deborah have produced together and follows hard on the heels of their picture book, The Garden’s Secrets, based on the award-winning Hamilton Gardens and published in late 2020. Two of the pair’s previous books have received Storylines Notable Book Awards.

“In ways, this was a challenging book to work on,” says Deborah. “It was important to both of us that we accurately portrayed a typical New Zealand community – not a flash community, just the type of community that you might find in any small or large town around the country. We wanted people to be able to recognise themselves and their street in the illustrations; that aspiration required a huge amount of work to make sure we got it right.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the launch, which is a free community event. There’ll also be a chance to sample a famous-in-Raglan Feed the Kids toastie, and check out the new iHub and the gorgeous local merchandise on display.

Enough: A story about community will be launched at the new Raglan iHub on Saturday 10 July at 3:30pm, and everyone is welcome to come along.