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 Unity’s bestseller chart of kids’ books.
1 Atua: Maori Gods & Heroes by Gavin Bishop (Puffin, $40, all ages)
We raved about this beautiful big hardback in our latest Book Report, calling it Bishop’s best book yet, a masterwork.
“My boy grabbed it the moment it arrived and gasped, ‘Is this for kids?’
“It is, but it’s also for adults, and it’ll make them gasp too.”
2 Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy by Alain de Botton and Anna Doherty (Affirm Press, $40, 8+)
Children love it when you take them seriously and this book really does. Recommended.
3 Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary by Kat Merewether & Pania Papa (Illustrated Publishing, $35, 4+)
A resource that’ll grow with your kids – toddlers will endlessly play “find the tūī”, while older ones will use it when they’re stuck on a word – and it’ll look splendid on your bookshelf, too.
4 The Pōrangi Boy by Shilo Kino (Huia, $25, 10+)
Kino won the YA category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults with this debut. We very much hope she has another in the works.
5 Shadow and Bone Box Set by Leigh Bardugo (Hachette, $40, 13+)
A big boost thanks to the Netflix series.
6 Roald Dahl: Revolting things to Touch and Feel by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake (Puffin $21, 1+)
If you have a toddler you’ve touched many more revolting things. Still, this tactile board book is a nice change from the fluffy duck-tummies and shiny dog-noses that dominate the genre.
7 Rescuing Titanic: A Tale of Quiet Bravery in the North Atlantic by Flora Delargy (Wide Eyed Press, $23, 11+)
“This exquisitely illustrated story of quiet bravery tells in rich detail how the little ship Carpathia saved 705 passengers of the Titanic from the icy waters of the North Atlantic” – the publishers.
8 My First Words in Māori Flash Cards by Stacey Morrison (Puffin, $25, 3yrs – adults)
Please picture me holding up flashcards:
9 In Our Own Backyard by Anne Kayes (Bateman, $22, 13+)
A new YA that ties in Covid-19, Black Lives Matter and the Springbok Tour. Selling its socks off.
10 Sapiens: A Graphic History, Volume 1, The Birth of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and David Vandermeulen, and illustrator Daniel Casanave (Jonathon Cape, $48, 11+)
Graphic version of the mega-hit book Sapiens, which somehow was first published a whole decade ago.
1 Adventures of Mittens by Silvio Bruinsma & Phoebe Morris (Penguin, $20, 3+)
Merry Christmas, all of the children of Wellington.
2 Atua: Māori Gods & Heroes by Gavin Bishop (Puffin, $40, all ages)
3 Skinny Dip: Poetry edited by Susan Paris & Kate De Goldi (Annual Ink, $30, 10+)
Warning to Aucklanders: these poems (about school) will make you extremely nostalgic for normality.
4 The Tiny Woman’s Coat by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press, $25, all ages)
Enthusiastically recommended by a panel of expert judges – my six-year-old, my two-year-old, and me. The tiny woman has a huge snail friend and there are massive ploppy raindrops and a mushroom repurposed as an umbrella.
3 The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charles Mackesy (Ebury Press, $40, all ages)
Wellington loves these wise little pen-and-ink critters almost as much as it loves Mittens.
6 Te Tuna Wātakirihi Me Ngā Tamariki o Te Tiriti o Toa (Watercress Tuna and the Children of Champion Street) by Patricia Grace, illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa (Pengun, $20, all ages)
Twenty bucks has never bought you a better picture book. Get amongst.
7 Charlie Tangaroa & the Creature from the Sea by TK Roxborogh, illustrated by Phoebe Morris (Huia, $25, 9+)
Newly-crowned winner of the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year; a very good story about a boy who lives in a tiny coastal town and has a big (supernatural) adventure.
8 Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (St Martin’s Griffin, $33, 16+)
Is there a movie of this? There must be one in the works (indeed there is – ed.). Plot: the hot son of the US President falls in love with the hot prince of England, politics and angst and lots of hot pashing ensue.
9 The Hug Blanket by Chris Gurney, illustrated by Lael Chisholm (Scholastic, $22, all ages)
An earnest, sweet and rather long picture book about a grandmother who adores her grandchildren, takes them on lovely low-key adventures, and knits special blankets for them. When she dies, the children are disoriented and sad, but the blankets are a huge comfort.
10 One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (Piatkus, $35, 16+)
Not as good as Red, White & Royal Blue but still really really good! This one’s about a teenage girl who falls for another girl on the subway. Involves time travel, pancakes and an amazing cast of flatmates.