‘Pearl in a Whirl’ Boosts Cyclone Recovery

  • Writer Catherine Robertson and Illustrator Fifi Colston with the Bowkett family

Book sales of ‘Pearl in a Whirl’ – Cyclone Gabrielle’s heart tugging tale of one fluffy cat amid the wreck and ruin has captured the nation and continues to raise funds for Hawke’s Bay’s recovery efforts.

Written by bestselling author Catherine Robertson, illustrated by Fifi Colston and published by Penguin, the book officially launched in June ahead of its release in all good book stores around New Zealand.

Since hitting bookshelves, Pearl has consistently sat in New Zealand’s Top 10 Bestseller’s List with every copy sold helping boost Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s Cyclone Relief efforts.

It’s success has popular children’s book illustrator Fifi Colston beaming with pride.

“I’ve illustrated over 50 books in my career as a book illustrator and this is my favourite. I’m so proud of what we’ve pulled together and what I was able to extract from myself as an illustrator and the team behind it. The book is doing so well and it’s giving back which is so fantastic.”

The book’s official launch back in Pearl’s old neighbourhood at the Puketapu Pub in July was a chance for locals to get together and celebrate the cyclone’s one silver lining.

For community spokeswoman Ange Mackie it was an emotional reunion.

“Pearl in a Whirl is a nice keepsake of the cyclone and what everyone went through and the bravery of those people caught up in it. It’s lovely to see this book come to fruition given the trauma that Amy and her family have been through losing their home and way of life.

“Some members of the community have moved on but others are still feeling heavy and are in the daily grind of waiting for answers about their future. It’s a long road but the community continues to put on fundraisers like this one. I think everyone’s in a place of acceptance now, but they’re just tired…very, very tired.”

As for Pearl, she now calls Napier’s Bluff Hill home and according to owner, Hawke’s Bay Foundation Executive Officer, Amy Bowkett, she’s adapted well to town life.

Author Catherine Roberston is certainly standing by for the next installment.

“I reckon Pearl’s got a lot of adventures in her and we do have options for a sequel, who knows, hopefully not a flood story or a tsunami or earthquake… something less traumatic. I have faith that there’ll be more adventures to come!”