Ron Bacon was a prolific writer of children’s books. Bacon21q12s debut, The Boy and the Taniwha (1966) was a publishing milestone, presenting Maori legends in a high-quality illustrated format for the first time, with illustrations by renowned Maori artist and carver Para Matchitt. Many of Bacon’s titles have received critical praise for their role in the revival of maoritanga. Though many of his stories were written for book clubs, full book publications are increasingly being printed by Waiatarua Publishing. Bacon passed away in 2005.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bacon, Ron (1924 - 2005) was born in Australia, moving to New Zealand in 1931. As a school teacher, he perceived a need for indigenous children's books, and began a prolific writing career: over fifty of his titles were in print in 2000.
Bacon's debut, The Boy and the Taniwha (1966) was a publishing milestone, presenting Maori legends in a high-quality illustrated format for the first time, with illustrations by renowned Maori artist and carver Para Matchitt. Now out of print, The Boy and the Taniwha was a popular and critical success. One reviewer wrote 'This book, which will take its place effortlessly alongside books on folklore from other countries, cannot be recommended too highly.'
The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature writes that 'Bacon was in the forefront of the revival of maoritanga, insisting that New Zealand children be made aware of Maori legends in books whose production and illustrations were of the highest quality.'
Titles with a focus on Maori folklore include Rua and the Sea People (1968); Hautupatu and the Bird Woman (1979); The House of the People (1977); The Fish of our Fathers (1984), winner of the 1985 Picture Book Award. He has also published the popular Hemi series, beginning with Hemi Dances (1985).
Ron Bacon's The House of the People, illustrated by Robert Jahnke, won the inaugural Russell Clark Award for illustration in 1978.
The Naming of the Land (1998), illustrated by Manu Smith, was shortlisted in the non fiction section of the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards in 1999.
Other non fiction titles include The Clay Boy (1990) and Save Our Earth (1988).
Ron Bacon was awarded the 1994 Children's Literature Association Award.
The Great Jellification at the House of Ebenezer was published in 2002, illustrated by Richard Hoit.
Much of Ron Bacon's work was published for book clubs, and so was not readily available through normal bookshop outlets. However, many of his books are now being made available again through Waiatarua Publishing.