Sunday, June 9, 2024

Lightning struck twice ...

AAARGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I'm a finalist!!! Last thursday June 6th the finalists were announced for the 2024 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and I am more than thrilled to say that Lucy and The Dark, illustrated by Vasanti Unka and published by Puffin (Penguin Random House), is shortlisted for the Best Picture Book Award and He Tārū Kāhika, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, translated by Paania Papa and published by Scholastic, is a finalist for  the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Maaori. These are exciting times! 

 




There is immense joy to be found in the pages of a good book, and a finalist list can help you navigate the book shelves in shops and libraries if you are uncertain what books to try. I love that this year's list has been picked with the advice and support of the students of 75 schools across the country - the children have been involved and had their voice heard which is so important for children's writers and illustrators - they are our biggest audience!! But ....

... children's books aren't just for children. I never forget the adult audience when I am writing for children. I know parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and other intermediaries might be sharing these books with their young charges. It is better to entertain, inform, charm or disarm ALL your potential readers. But there is no reason you have to have a child in tow to enjoy a children's book. A satisfying story is a satisfying story at any age. Ask any adult their favourite book of all and many will recall childhood favourites - these books can leave a lasting impression. And if you have any doubt about how good reading can be for everyone go check out this wonderful article in NZ's Education Gazette. 

So here are this year's finalists. I challenge you to try at least a couple of these. They are filled with terrific writing and illustrations. And feel free to let me know what you think in the comments :-)


Picture Book Award Finalists

• At the Bach, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Hilary Jean Tapper (Gecko Press)

• Dazzlehands, Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Te Whānau-a-Kai) (Huia Publishers)

• Hatch and Match, Ruth Paul (Walker Books Australia)

• Lucy and the Dark, Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Random House NZ)

• Paku Manu Ariki Whakatakapōkai, Michaela Keeble, illustrated by Tokerau Brown (Gecko Press)


Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award Finalists

• DoubleDippers!, Raymond McGrath (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Lopini the Legend, Feana Tu‘akoi (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Nine Girls, Stacy Gregg (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Maru Hauraki) (Penguin Random House NZ)

• Take Me to Your Leader, Leonie Agnew (Penguin Random House NZ)

• The Grimmelings, Rachael King (Allen & Unwin)


Young Adult Fiction Award Finalists

• Catch a Falling Star, Eileen Merriman (Penguin Random House NZ)

• New Dawning, A M Dixon (One Tree House)

• The Sparrow, Tessa Duder (Penguin Random House NZ)

• Tonight, I Burn, Katharine J Adams (Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand)

• Tsunami, Ned Wenlock (Earth's End Publishing)


Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction Finalists

• Patu: The New Zealand Wars, Gavin Bishop (Tainui, Ngāti Awa) (Penguin Random House NZ)

• The Observologist: A Handbook for Mounting Very Small Scientific Expeditions, Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press)

• Tuatara: A Living Treasure, Katie Furze, illustrated by Ned Barraud (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Ultrawild: An Audacious Plan to Rewild Every City on Earth, Steve Mushin (Allen & Unwin)

• Wot Knot You Got? Mophead's Guide to Life, Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)


Russell Clark Award for Illustration Finalists 

• Dazzlehands, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Te Whānau-a-Kai) (Huia Publishers)

• Paku Manu Ariki Whakatakapōkai, illustrated by Tokerau Brown (Gecko Press)

• Patu: The New Zealand Wars, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Tainui, Ngāti Awa) (Penguin Random House NZ)

• Samples from the Lab, illustrated by Rob Foote (Creativity Unleashed)

• The Dream Factory, illustrated by Zak Ātea (Te Āti Awa Taranaki) (Huia Publishers)


Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award Finalists

• He Tārū Kahika, Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu), translated by Pānia Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Nani Jo me ngā Mokopuna Porohīanga, Moira Wairama, illustrated by Margaret Tolland (Baggage Books)

• Te Pīkari Pipi, Angie Belcher, illustrated by Lily Uivel, translated by Pānia Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Te Pukapuka ka kore e Pānuihia, Tim Tipene (Ngāti Kurī, Te Uri-o-Hau, Ngāti Whātua), illustrated by Nicoletta Benella, translated by Kanapu Rangitauira (Te Arawa, Ngati Porou, Te Whakatohea) (Oratia Books)

• Te Rā Kura Ki Aotearoa, Donovan Bixley, translated by Darryn Joseph (Ngāti Maniapoto, Rereahu) (Upstart Press)


NZSA Best First Book Award Finalists

• A M Dixon, New Dawning (One Tree House)

• Tokerau Brown (illustrator), Paku Manu Ariki Whakatakapōkai (Gecko Press)

• Tangaroa Paul (Muriwhenua) (author), Rere Atu Taku Poi! Let My Poi Fly! (Oratia Books)

• Ned Wenlock, Tsunami (Earth's End Publishing)

• Steve Mushin, Ultrawild: An Audacious Plan to Rewild Every City on Earth (Allen & Unwin)


Friday, May 3, 2024

Unexpected consequences ...

Recently I was asked to do a small paying job after a casual chat at an event with someone I didn't know terribly well at the time. At that same event another chat with someone I'd never met before ended with an invitation to participate in something poetic later in the year.  And not long after I was emailed with some lovely news. A poem I had submitted to this fun and welcoming UK online children's poetry site is to appear in an anthology they are putting together. Opportunities can spring from the most unexpected places. This is not why we have the chats or go to events but it is a reminder that this business can be full of good unexpected consequences if we actively participate in it.  

I may have talked about this before. I know I have definitely mentioned that being a writer is a long game. Every part of the process tends to be fairly slow as a rule (to which there are always exceptions), and some outcomes happen years after the wheels were set in motion. But sometimes things also follow a pathway that no one can see or takes the road less travelled popping up in a different, sometimes better destination than you had in mind.  We can't anticipate how things will play out. How can we plan accordingly? How can we control any of it? For the most part we can't. But there are some things to keep in mind as you traverse this crazy book writing journey.

Our industry is a community. It is good to join it and participate in it, whether on the periphery or fully immersed (or anywhere on the spectrum inbetween). Everyone is there because they share your passion - this is your tribe. And your tribe will embrace you, support you and be the font of opportunites. And you will have the chance to give back in your turn.

Be true to yourself. If you always do what is right for you and reflects who you are inside and out, then any outcomes will be the right ones for you. They will be more satisying and your journey will have consistency as a result. With the long game, and continuing community participation, others will see this too. And sometimes this leads to other opportunites you had not anticipated. Keep working on your body of work. 

Be polite and professional. Make this a strand of your brand. People will want to work with you if you are good to work with. 

Enjoy everything in the moment as much as you can. Keep copies of any good news you get so you can remind yourself of it when you need a boost. Be hopeful. Trust your intuition. Don't let failure undermine you. The writers you admire have had their failures too. And failures can also end up having good outcomes, because remember, this is a long game. 

And here is a poem I wrote that I am a wee bit fond of - just a lil bonus content for you: 


Revolution

the world cannot turn like it

used to - it creaks and groans

with nothing left to grease it

the oil long since mined

pimped, pumped and spent

leaving a grimy film on the

sky like a weighted blanket

 

the world cannot turn like it

used to – swollen tides

climb out of the sea to

wash the dirt of houses and

gardens, fish cooked and

oversalted gasp on beaches

there are rivers in the sky

 

the world cannot turn like it

used to – the poles want change

will there be a gentle pause

and reverse, or a jolt

no less than we deserve

shucking us off into the

waiting hell of the heavens

 

I guess we shall see what the revolution brings

 

Melinda Szymanik


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A bag of cats ...

I finally sent off my last piece of non-fiction writing on Monday - a report - that was on my list of to dos. It's taken me two and a half months to reach this point, and I tell y'all my mind is a bag of cats right now. I decided to take a few days off but I am not yet feeling rested - too many cats up there, I tell ya.

Over the weekend I got to read my poem Pet Lessons and a couple of others at the launch of Takahe 110 at The Open Book in Ponsonby. You can read my poem here or check out all the goodness here.  Despite some nerves, I enjoyed reading my poetry aloud. And I loved hearing the work of others. The whole event felt warm and inviting and supportive. Note to self 1: attend more poetry reading events. Note to self 2: write more poems. 





I have sent a couple of picture book manuscripts off into the ether (fingers crossed for these babies) and am waiting on edits for another in preparation for its publication hopefully later this year. Now I want to work on a couple of longer projects but I am finding it hard to settle in to it. The end of daylight saving doesn't help. Is it just this year or is every autumnal 'fall back' accompanied by this amount of sleep adjustment? It also doesn't help that the nights are unseasonably warm. I also navigated my first school visit for the year, talking to Year 7s and 8s at St Kentigern Boys' School on Monday. It was a fun session with such lovely students. I have another booked in for July at a primary school and a couple of creative writing workshops earmarked for May. It's good to have a mix of things on the schedule because I think I work better when time is somewhat limited.

I was excited to see some lovely reviews of Sun Shower on the KiwiReviews site here:  

I think what first drew me to Sun Shower was the quality of the illustrations. Isobel Joy Te Aho-White has done a superb job in capturing the essence of the differing landscape patterns of Aotearoa New Zealand with the weather variations unfolding in the sky above. 

The text contains a powerful message about diversity, cooperation, and friendship. Melinda Szymanik has started with a scientific concept and presented it in a context that even very young children can understand.

I was apprehensive as to whether my 10-year-old would stay interested in the story, but knew my 7-year-old would stay till the end, but to my surprise my eldest was captivated, and it even opened up conversations about other weather patterns and how they are formed. I recommend this book as a cute story to show that even though people maybe opposites, they can still get along and still create something special.

And the book is currently hanging out at the Aotearoa New Zealand stand at the 2024 Bologna Book Fair, along with many other superb local titles. I hope some international rights get sold!!

Monday, February 26, 2024

Ready for the 100 day challenge?

Happy New Year! I can't believe we're just about to say hello to March. The last few months have galloped by and seem to have been all about poetry and non-fiction for me.

I received a lovely email from Roi Faineant Press while I was away over Christmas accepting all three adult poems I'd sent them - Double HappyPlum Jam and The Politics of Pockets - which was a wonderful surprise to end the year on. You can read the poems here. I also received a copy of Volume Ten from Paddler Press in Canada which has one of my poems in it - The Night is Singing. And another three children's poems of mine have been published on the Dirigible Balloon site, most recently The Talk in the Trees which you can check out here. I still feel very much in my infancy as a poet so these results are very encouraging. I feel so slow writing poems - I wish I could speed up. There are a steady stream of publishing opportunities and I never seem to have sufficient new poems to submit - more on that in a minute.

Despite the earlyness of the year I have already been busy with a brace of projects - current status? - two down (I have penned a profile on the wonderful Feana Tuʿakoi which will be in the next Magpies Magazine, and I wrote an article on 'translation' for The Sapling), one to go. There are other small jobs hovering round the edges as well. As is always the way, because I have these jobs on the go, my mind has been busy working out a solution to an old abandoned junior novel. Of course, as soon as I am done with those other tasks my brain will lose interest in the junior novel. I'm wondering if I can trick my brain into maintaining that excitement. It really is a very fickle organ sometimes. Perhaps it needs some specialist training.

To that end, and apropos of my comment earlier about never having enough poetry to send out, a small dedicated bunch of us are running a project which we hope will help build a lovely daily poetry writing habit and result in a good swag of poems. If you are a keen poet you might like to check out the 100 day Poetry Writing Challenge over on The Poets XYZ page on facebook, starting March 1st. I hope I see you there!!

PS: My picture book Lucy and the Dark, illustrated by Vasanti Unka and published by Puffin (Penguin RH) has been shortlisted in the picture book category of the 2024 NZ Booklovers Awards (you can see all of the finalists here ) woohoo!!!, and it is also off to Germany, hopefully for publication there later this year.


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

I'm Back! ...

I'm back! And I have lots to tell you. But while I shrug off my jet lag and catch up on all the admin that awaited my return, here are a few snippets of news to keep you going. 

My new picture book Sun Shower/He Tārū Kahika, beautifully illustrated by the amazing Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, translated into Te Reo by the very skilled Pānia Papa and published by Scholastic NZ has arrived in bookstores. It looks fabulous - I am so pleased - I love the colour palette and generous detail in these books. And there have already been some lovely lovely reviews, on Bob's Book Blog here, and on the KidsBooksNZ site here





And I am thrilled to say Lucy and the Dark is a 2023 Storylines Notable Book!! Below is today's announcement and the complete list of 2023 Notable Books. Congratulations to all the creators!!

Storylines Children’s Literature Trust Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o Aotearoa is delighted to once again celebrate excellence in New Zealand publishing for children and young adults with the announcement of this year’s Storylines Notable Book Award winners.

“Congratulations to all the creators and publishers of this year’s award winners,” says Storylines Trust chair Christine Young. “These are impressive lists of excellent books in all categories; testament to the strength and depth of local children’s and young adult publishing.

“The strength of publishing in te reo Māori remains evident, with books from a number of publishers. The non-fiction category covers everything from wildlife to environmental issues; sports to New Zealand and Pasifika history. I was particularly delighted to see an anthology of Pasifika student poetry highly commended in this category.

“As ever, the young adult, junior fiction and picture book categories are strong, with books by new and established writers impressing the judging panels.

Clearly the commitment from New Zealand publishers and authors to producing quality books for young people remains strong, and I’d commend these lists of award winners as providing excellent choices for whānau or friends looking for Christmas gift ideas, or for teachers and librarians looking to add to their school or early childhood centre libraries.

“It is so important that our tamariki and rangatahi enjoy reading – and equally important that they have access to high quality books that reflect and broaden their experience of growing up in New Zealand.”

Storylines Notable Books are selected in five genres (picture books, junior fiction, young adult, non-fiction and books in te reo Māori) by expert panels of teachers, booksellers, authors, academics, and librarians from across the country.

The 2023 awards cover books published between 16 November 2022 and 15 November 2023.

Storylines’ Notable Book Award winners provide adult buyers and young readers with lists of the ten best New Zealand books published in the latest year in each genre, that will inspire tamariki and rangatahi and their whanau to share and enjoy reading.

The lists are excellent reading and buying guides for anyone wanting to encourage young people read for pleasure and information.

The 2023 Storylines Notable Books are: 

Non-Fiction

Critters of Aotearoa: 50 Bizarre But Lovable Members of Our Wildlife Community, Nicola Toki, Lily Duval (Penguin Random House NZ)

The Observologist – A handbook for mounting very small scientific expeditions, Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press)

Good Sports: A Storybook of Kiwi Sports Heroes, Stuart Lipshaw (Penguin Random House NZ)

My First Words About Tikanga Māori, Stacey Morrison, Kurawaka Productions (Penguin Random House NZ)

Patu: the New Zealand Wars, Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House NZ)

Those Magnificent Voyagers of the Pacific, Andrew Crowe, Rick Fisher (Bateman Books)

Mangō: Sharks and Rays of Aotearoa, Ned Barraud (Te Papa Press)

Tuatara, a Living Treasure, Katie Furze, Ned Barraud (Scholastic NZ)

Wot Knot You Got? Mophead’s Guide to Life, Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)

Ultrawild an Audacious Plan to Rewild Every City on Earth, Steve Mushin (Allen & Unwin)

Highly Commended

Pasifika Navigators – Pasifika Student Poetry Collection How Did I Get Here? Soliloquies Of Youth, Darcy Solia (Illustrator) ***Note: The poetry includes 52 Pasifika student contributors (Mila’s Books) 

Te Reo Māori

Te Rā Kura ki Aotearoa, Donovan Bixley, Darryn Joseph (Translator) (Upstart Press) 

Tōku Whānau Rerehua – My Beautiful Family, Rauhina Cooper, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Oratia Books) 

Ko Ngā Whetū Takirua o Matariki, Ko Waitī rāua ko Waitā, Miriama Kamo, Zak Waipara, Ariana Stevens (translator) (Scholastic NZ) 

Ko Tama me te Taniwha, Melanie Koster, Monica Koster, Pānia Papa (translator) (Scholastic NZ) 

Riwia me te Mātai Arorangi, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Huia Publishers) 

Ko Te Wai, Ko Tama Me Te Marama, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Huia Publishers) 

Ka Wehi Au Ki Ngā Wenerei, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Huia Publishers) 

He Reo Iti Noa Ahau, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Huia Publishers)

He Mahi Taunga Kore, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Huia Publishers)

Young Adult

The Sparrow, Tessa Duder (Penguin Random House NZ) 

Catch a Falling Star, Eileen Merriman (Penguin Random House NZ) 

The Other Brother, Jax Calder (OneTree House) 

The Edge of Light: New Dawning, AM Dixon (OneTree House) 

Iris and Me, Philippa Werry (The Cuba Press) 

Flying and Falling, Lynda Tomalin (GlitterInk Press Ltd) 

The Impossible Story of Hannah Kemp, Leonie Agnew (Walker Books Australia)  

Junior Fiction

Tūī Street Legends, Anne Kayes, Craig Phillips (Wildling Books) 

Below, David Hill (Penguin Random House NZ) 

Pipi and Pou and the Tentacles of the Deep, Tim Tipene, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (OneTree House) 

The Hudson, the Hunt & the Helicopter, Joan Joass (Copy Press Books) 

Jason Mason and the Flightless Bird Fiasco, Jason Gunn, Andrew Gunn (Bateman Books) 

Once Upon A Wickedness, Fleur Beale, Lily Uivel (Penguin Random House NZ) 

Children of the Rush – Book 2, James Russell (Dragon Brothers Books) 

Lopini the Legend, Feana Tu‘akoi (Scholastic NZ) 

RockyBottoms! Big Little Blue, Book Two, Raymond McGrath (Scholastic NZ) 

Like The Wind, J L Williams (Ocean Echo Books) 

Highly Commended

Caged, Susan Brocker (Scholastic NZ) 

Picture Books

Lucy and the Dark, Melinda Szymanik, Vasanti Unka (Penguin Random House NZ) 

Matariki, Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House NZ) 

Granny McFlitter’s Eggcellent Easter, Heather Haylock, Lael Chisholm (Penguin Random House NZ) 

At the Bach, Joy Cowley, Hilary Jean Tapper (Gecko Press) 

The Great Kiwi School Day, Donovan Bixley (Upstart Press)

E Oma, Rāpeti: Pō Mārie / Run, Rabbit: Goodnight, Norah Wilson, Kimberly Andrews, Pānia Papa (translator) (Scholastic NZ)

Duck Goes Meow, Juliette MacIver, Carla Martell (Scholastic NZ) 

Grandpa’s Dashing Dessert, Tania Sickling, Lael Chisholm (Scholastic NZ) 

Tama and the Taniwha, Melanie Koster, Monica Koster (Scholastic NZ) 

Dazzlehands, Sacha Cotter, Josh Morgan, (Huia Publishers)



Sunday, August 27, 2023

Packing my suitcase ...

My new picture book with fab illustrator Vasanti Unka, Lucy and the Dark, is released!! Huzzah! Published by Penguin RH NZ with a glorious glow-in-the-dark cover, this wee book is garnering some nice reviews which makes us very happy. Reviews can be found here, here, here and here. Many thanks to Lou from Wardini's Books, What Book Next, The Sapling and Kids Books NZ for their very kind words. There are copies of the book signed in fancy silver pen by both Vasanti and I available at Time Out Bookstore if you are interested in getting yourself one.


It's been a busy old month with the NZ Children's and Young Adult's Book Awards held in Wellington, a school visit to the wonderful Sylvia Park School and a day-long workshop on writing picture books at Selwyn Community Education. A trio of poets including me ran a writing-poetry-for-children competition which culminated in sharing the winning poem on facebook on National Poetry Day - you can check this out here. I've been submitting poetry (mostly adult) and chipping away at a few longer works. And this Thursday I am off to Shanghai for the writing residency with the Michael King Writers' Centre. I've been slowly packing my suitcase and getting all my laundry done, organising plug adapters and getting vaccinations and paperwork completed. There is a lot of admin for an adventure like this and hopefully I've dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's that need dotting and crossing and soon I'll be tapping away on some very cool projects in this amazing city that I have never visited before. Wish me luck! And see you in November!!


... in the meantime here is some more poetry I have written for young people:


How to Fly

Is it better to be

a bird or a plane?

Do birds mind the weather,

the wind and the rain?

If their wings got wet

would they fall from the sky?

Do they get blown off course?

Do those feathers drip dry?

Planes only fly to

particular places.

They’re crowded on board

with too many faces!

I suppose at the least

that it’s cosy inside

and I don’t need directions,

the plane is my guide,

but they also cost money,

my savings are zero.

Want to take flight?

Be a caped superhero!



Friday, July 28, 2023

A bit of a rant...

 I often hear the phrase - 'it's really hard to get published' and my mind has often responded with, 'it's always been hard'. I've thought that the publishing setbacks and failures I've experienced are because my stories or books are just not good enough.   

But other things have been happening to legitimately make it harder. The sheer volume of stories being published now provides a veritable ocean of books in which your own book is the proverbial drop. It is easy to sink without trace. There are self published books in addition to traditionally published. It is fantastic that folk can now self publish and there are many wonderful self pubbed titles out there, but the total number of books has increased markedly as a result. There are less in-print reviews, especially of children's books, whether in magazines or newspapers. Some online review sites have popped up (yay!) but are they reaching the audience that can make a difference? How do we get cut through, can we even get seen? And can we stay on the shop shelves long enough with so many books coming through? I read an article here which talks about market saturation and some things you can do to help your book along. Personally, recently I've been teaming up with fellow creators to try and connect more with our target audience on social media in a positive, and interesting way. Social media is having a few hiccups at the moment but people are still hanging out around the digital watercooler so hopefully our community building will have some mutually beneficial outcomes. I'll keep you posted on our project when there is more to share. I also think creating and strengethening your own personal brand can help - being visible whenever possible and doing good work both in your books and in the writing and reading communities.

I've been finding it hard recently to stay strong in the face of the unspoken belief that children's literature requires an inferior skill set to produce and has lesser value in the eyes of adult writers and readers. I know 'not all adult writers and readers' but I've had some personal experience of being denigrated as a writer for children recently and it wasn't great. I am at a loss to understand what the issue is. As if literature is a pie and if adult literature cedes anything to children's literature it is a failure or a loss from their own share. I'm not sure how it became like this but I'd say boosting children's literature and valuing it helps create young readers who turn into adult readers. Isn't that desirable? I'd also argue that children's writers, just as any other writers, strive to master their craft and create quality. I'm thinking about plotting, character development, language techniques and deeper themes. I'm writing for an audience that I am no longer the same as. I'm writing not just for the child reader who might have emerging language skills and an inquisitive and demanding mind, but also the oft present adult intermediary who would like some relief in the form of subtle adult humour or other emotional connection and universal ideas that also speak to them. I am mindful always of the malleability and potential of words and how my efforts in the text will grow and inspire a young person's vocabulary and future reading and writing skills. Its not less than. Its just different. And the disdain I have felt recently is frankly undeserved. Maybe a children's book hurt you as an adult. Honestly, I don't know what it is. But it is selfish and it is unnecessary. Lifting each other up seems like the best thing to do eh?