|Author:||Sally Astridge and Arne Norlin|
A Swedish-New Zealand partnership between writers Arne Norlin and Sally Astridge has resulted in Time Twins. Published in Sweden in 2014, where it has been a runaway success, and in New Zealand this year by Makaro Press, Time Twins is a great read for children and younger teens. Norlin writes the voice of Astrid, and Astridge the boy Tamati. Born at the exact same moment, Astrid and Tamati are time twins - linked across distance. When Tamati is twelve, he starts appearing in Astrid’s room in the middle of the night. He’s been trying to make contact for ages, taking himself to the beach to meditate and focus and let his mind free. It’s a little like teleporting. His Koro, who has great ambitions for Tamati, has been giving him pointers. At first, Astrid is understandably confused by a boy turning up in the middle of the night, but, like Tamati, she feels the link between them. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Astrid’s life at home and school is a little fraught, and Tamati turns out to be a good listener and has some ideas up his sleeve. Life isn’t that rosy for Tamati either, who feels the pressure of being the oldest child in the family, the one who is expected to do well all the time. His Koro believes he is destined to be a great leader and won’t let up on his plans. This is also a story about bullying and doing the right thing. Both Astrid and Tamati are bystanders who find themselves in tricky situations, ones they could avoid or walk away from, but both feel compelled to behave differently. The tie that binds them, being time twins, helps them overcome difficulties and dangers, making them more resilient and stronger. Time Twins is reminiscent of Margaret Mahy’s work for older children, with its real-life problems, relationship development and supernatural elements. The story moves along at a great pace, with plenty of challenges, moments of humour, and two very compelling characters. The writing from both authors works well - it feels seamless - and the local content - Tamati lives in Nelson and the authors both have local connections - is the icing on the cake.
Astrid thinks she is imagining the quiet boy who appears in her room in the middle of the night. He's called Tamati and lives in New Zealand. Astrid lives in Sweden. What's he doing here? And why does he keep turning up? Tamati tells Astrid they are time twins - children born at the exact same time - and his grandfather has shown him how to find her. Their lives couldn't be more different, but both have secrets they haven't been able to share with anyone else ... until now. Then the time twins realise that they might have come together for a reason and that there are ways they can help each other, even if they do live thousands of kilometres apart. Time Twins is an exciting cross-global story written by two authors living on either side of the earth about two children who are doing the same. First published in Swedish, this is the novel's New Zealand debut.
Sally Astridge lives in Nelson, New Zealand. She is a former teacher and this is her first children's book. Arne Norlin is one of Sweden's most loved children's writers and has pub-lished more than seventy titles. He lives in Stockholm but visits New Zealand every year.