Image: mypurgatoryyears/iStock/Getty
Image: mypurgatoryyears/iStock/Getty

BooksFebruary 1, 2020

The Unity children’s bestseller chart for the month of January

Image: mypurgatoryyears/iStock/Getty
Image: mypurgatoryyears/iStock/Getty

What’s the best way to get adults reading? Get them reading when they’re children – and there’s no better place to start than the Unity Children’s Bestseller Chart.


1  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Amulet Books, $30, 8+)

Briar at Little Unity writes: so this is the movie tie-in hardback edition, but it’s the classiest movie tie-in I’ve ever seen in my life. Got the traditional red (leather-look) cover, gold title. Photos aren’t on gross glossy paper in the middle but instead are on the same paper stock, in black and white and are inserted at appropriate points in the story. Just feel like this is important information.

2  No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference (New Expanded Edition) by Greta Thunberg (Penguin, $10, all ages)

Greta for World President.

3  Māui & Other Legends by Peter Gossage (Penguin, $40, all ages)

“In How Māui Slowed the Sun I look at the bound sun’s incandescent moko, jagged teeth and swirling eyes, and Māui approaching with a jawbone raised high, and I see one of the heroic images that has shaped the visual imagination of generations of New Zealand children.” – John Huia of the NZCER, talking to Paula Morris in this stunning tribute.

4  Māui’s Taonga Tales/ He Paki Taonga i a Māui by David Brechin-Smith, translated by Stephanie Tibble  (Te Papa Press, $30, all ages)

Stories springing from the taonga at Te Papa.

5  Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy by Alain de Botton and Anna Doherty (Affirm Press, $40, 8+)

“Philosophy helps us to live wise lives. But what does “wisdom” mean? It’s not very obvious at first. Is being wise just about being clever? No, it’s much more than that …”

6  My First Words in Māori by Stacey Morrison, Ali Teo and John O’Reilly (Penguin, $20, 5+)

Two to get you started: tārere is swings; paihikara is bicycle.

7  The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Macmillan, $17, 10+)

“No one is ever satisfied where he is.”

8  Lizard’s Tale by Weng Wai Chan (Text Publishing, $21, 9-13)

“Being born in Singapore with a father who grew up in poor but colourful Chinatown, being a voracious reader, enjoying biographies about English colonial life, reading WWII stories because my kids were interested in those – all these fed into the writing of Lizard’s Tale.” – the author, over at The Sapling.

9  Tu Meke Tui! by Malcolm Clarke & Flox (Mary Egan, $30, 0-5)

Gorgeous, obvs – Flox! – but the words are not really all that.

10 Te Tiriti o Waitangi: The Treaty of Waitangi by Toby Morris with Ross Calman, Mark Derby, and Piripi Walker (Lift Education, $20, 8+)

Toby rulz.


The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House, $35, 15+) 

“Meeting her again after all these years is like running into a childhood friend at a school reunion and feeling a shock of estranged recognition hit you straight in the gut: Oh, you’re just the same as you always were. But then again: Oh, you’ve changed so much.” – Vox, on Lyra.

2  No One is too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin, $8, all ages) 

3  La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman (Penguin, $21, 15+)

“As a treat, there are scenes demonstrating the special bond between humans and their daemons, one of Pullman’s most delightful creations, as when Lyra babbles endlessly with her baby dæmon, the two teaching each other how to talk.” – the New York Times. 

4  New Zealand Nature Heroes by Gillian Candler (Potton & Burton, $30, 8+)

Do a grid search of the beach, build a critter tracker for your garden, make a seed bomb, etc. Terrific.

5  The Beast of Buckingham Palace by David Walliams (HarperCollins, $25, 7+) 

In which a young prince plucks up his courage and ventures out from the safety of the palace.

6  Wrecking Ball #14 Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (Puffin, $18, 6+) 

DIY hijinx.

7  Deeplight by Frances Hardinge (Pan, $25, 13+) 

“In the island chain of the Myriad, gods once rose from the weird waters of the Undersea, ravaging shipping and coastlines, devouring sailors. Razor-mouthed or glass-tentacled, they were a source of fear and reverence – until one day they turned on one another, and tore each other apart. Now “godware”, the powerful detritus of their corpses, is the basis of a thriving economy for those courageous and foolhardy enough to seek it in the depths.” – the Guardian.

8  117-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton (Macmillan, $18, 7+) 

“It used to be a 104-story treehouse, but it just keeps growing!” – PR.

9  The Dinky Donkey by Craig Smith & Katz Cowley (Scholastic, $20, 2+) 

Please no

10 Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty (Orion, $38, 8+)

Subtitle: “big questions from tiny mortals about death”.

Keep going!