A beautiful, gentle Christmas story, with the message being that it's family and friends that are most important. Beautifully illustrated by talented up-and-coming illustrator Patrick McDonald, winner of the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Picture Book Illustration.
These are The Listener's Top 50 Kids' Books for 2013
This list will be published in Issue 3837 of The Listener, online on Thursday 14 November, and in print on Friday 15 November.
This list is exclusively available to bookseller and publisher members of Booksellers NZ, to ensure stock of the appropriate titles will be available as your regular customers request them. All books are arranged alphabetically by author's last name, this is not indicative of how they will be arranged in the publication. The kiwi symbol indicates a kiwi author or publisher.
Lift Education (Lift), a division of South Pacific Press Limited, has been named as the new provider of publishing services for the Ministry of Education’s instructional series, which includes the School Journal, Ready to Read and Connected.
Neale Pitches, CEO of South Pacific Press (and former CEO of Learning Media) is excited about working on this series with the Ministry, who will be the publisher. “We will continue to support the Ministry to tell New Zealand stories and to build the School Journal community of excited readers and Kiwi talent,” said Pitches.
Artists featured: Laurence Aberhart, Gavin Bishop, Kushana Bush, Jane Campion, Kip Chapman, Sean James Donnelly (SJD), Dean Parker, Jono Rotman, Damien Wilkins, Megan Wraight, Mark Adams, Thomas Atkins
Wellington Children’s Bookshop owner Ruth McIntyre is looking forward to the buzz and excitement of Storylines Wellington Family Day at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday 17 August. “There’s a lot of preparation for it, making sure there’s stock of all the guest writers’ books. But I have a wonderful time on the day. People are really impressed because it is free and so it has a really good vibe,” says Ruth.
The event is obviously good business for the store, who will have at least three staff members on hand as well.
A teen novel that begins its dramatic journey on New Zealand’s East Coast has picked up the top prize at this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.
Ted Dawe’s book Into the River won the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and was also the winner of the Young Adult Fiction category. This engaging coming of age novel follows its main protagonist from his childhood in small town rural New Zealand to an elite Auckland boarding school where he must forge his own way – including battling with his cultural identity.
An impressive variety of books make up the finalists of this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. And Chief Judge Bernard Beckett says it suggests we have a group of New Zealand writers who are confident enough to pursue their own interests.
We hope that media, including bloggers and keen social media users will use these resources to create great content about the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards finalists. Images and information have been provided by publishers.
Things like posters, school resource pages and the Kiwi Kids' Good Book Guide are on our resources page.
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The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Christchurch on Monday, 24 June.
New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards logo
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Finalist books, authors, illustrators and images - by category
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A Great Cake
by Tina Matthews
Walker Books Australia
Target age 3+
The essential ingredients in this book are family, imaginative play and simple pleasures. A must for every family with a preschooler.
Harvey wants to bake a great cake, but doesn’t have all the ingredients. That doesn’t stop him. Harvey can make cakes from the most amazing things!
Tina Matthews (writer and illustrator)
Tina Matthews was born in New Zealand and now lives with her family in Sydney. She is an artist and designer who has worked in children's theatre and television for 25 years, including on Bananas in Pyjamas, The Ferals, The Upside Down Show and Jim Henson's Labyrinth. Tina teaches puppetry at NIDA and is designer of the best-selling Black and White Baby Mobile.
Her first title with Walker Books Australia, Out of the Egg won the Best First Book Award in the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards and Waiting for Later was a finalist in the Picture Book category of the 2012 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.
by Kyle Mewburn
illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly
Published by Scholastic
RRP $31.00 hb, $19.50 pb
Target age 3-7
Melu decides to follow his dream, instead of the herd.
The mules had been clip-clopping around the sun-baked hills for generations. They always clip-clopped in the same direction: west towards the setting sun. And they never ventured down to the glittering green sea. But Melu was different. He was always out of step. When the herd clipped, Melu clopped. When the others clopped, Melu clipped. And one day, he decided he wanted to go down to the glittering green sea …
Kyle Mewburn (writer)
Kyle Mewburn has had over 20 children’s books published in nine countries. He has won numerous awards, including the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year for the picture book Old Hu-Hu. His other titles include Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!, Duck's Stuck! and the Dinosaur Rescue series.
Originally from Brisbane, Kyle lives with his wife Marion in South Otago. When not writing, Kyle is usually found in his garden singing to his vegies, in his creek swimming, or off exploring the strange land he's discovered at the back of his wardrobe.
Ali Teo and John O’Reilly (illustrators)
Ali (an illustrator by trade) and John (a designer) live and work together from their home in Papamoa Beach. Picture book work is a labour of love for them and an opportunity to create something from the heart, outside the commercial work which is their ‘day job’.
Ali and John spend much of their spare time on the beach with their young son, Tiger, and their two ex-SPCA dogs. John also works with his business partner creating games and apps for digital mobile devices.
by Margaret Mahy & Gavin Bishop
Published by Gecko Press
RRP $34.99 hb, $19.99 pb
Target age 4+
A lively, hilarious picture book by two of the luminaries of New Zealand children’s books.
Absentminded Mister Whistler always has a song in his head and a dance in his feet. In a rush to catch the train, he is so distracted he loses his ticket.
Is it in the bottom pockets of his big coat or the top pockets of his jacket? Perhaps he slipped it into his waistcoat... Where is Mister Whistler’s ticket?
Please credit this image to Shar Devine.
Margaret Mahy (writer)
Margaret Mahy is one of the world’s best and most famous authors for children and young adults. She was born in Whakatane in 1936, and wrote her first story at the age of seven. She won numerous honours for her books, including the Carnegie Medal (twice), and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for her “lasting contribution to children’s literature”. Her works have been translated into more than 15 languages. Margaret lived in Governor’s Bay until her death in 2012.
Gavin Bishop (illustrator)
Gavin Bishop is an award-winning children’s picture book writer and illustrator who lives and works in Christchurch, New Zealand. As author and illustrator of nearly 60 books his work ranges from original stories to retellings of Maori myths, European fairy stories, and nursery rhymes. He has exhibited internationally, and won many major awards for his work both in New Zealand and overseas. In 2009 he helped establish the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award to encourage up-and-coming illustrators in New Zealand.
Remember That November / Maumahara ki tērā Nōema
by Jennifer Beck
illustrated by Lindy Fisher
translated by Kawata Teepa
Published by Huia
Target age 6+
It’s almost Guy Fawkes Night, and at the school speech competition Andy talks about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. The children cheer excitedly, thinking Andy will win the contest.
But then, Aroha gets up, wearing a white feather in her hair, and tells the story of another fifth of November – the invasion of Parihaka in 1881.
Jennifer Beck (writer)
Jennifer Beck is an award-winning writer and author of more than forty-five children’s books. Her books have been recognised at the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in the picture book, book of the year and children’s choice categories and have been included in the Storylines Notable Books Lists.
Lindy Fisher (illustrator)
Lindy Fisher is an artist, graphic designer and illustrator. She has illustrated over 75 postage stamps and illustrated children’s picture books. She and Jennifer Beck have won awards for Nobody’s Dog (Children’s Choice Award, New Zealand Post Book Awards, 2006), A Present from the Past (Honour Award, New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, 2007) and Stefania’s Dancing Slippers (Silver Medal, Moonbeams Children’s Book Awards, 2008).
Kawata Teepa (translator)
Kawata Teepa (Tūhoe) has been a translator for number of years, carrying out translation work with the Ministry of Education, Te Kete Ipurangi, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the New Zealand Translation Centre to name a few. Working at Huia Publishers has opened another avenue for me with regards to translations for children’s books, trying to keep the integrity of the original version (English) whilst keeping the Māori language rich but simple as well.
The ACB with Honora Lee
by Kate De Goldi
illustrated by Gregory O’Brien
Published by Random House
Target age 8-12
On Saturday mornings Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the rest home, but Gran never remembers them. ‘Who is that man?’ Honora Lee asks when Perry’s father leaves the room.
Perry’s parents think that only children, like Perry, should be busy. So after movement class is abruptly cancelled, Perry is allowed to go visit Gran on Thursday afternoons. She discovers her Gran has an unconventional interest in the alphabet, so Perry decides they should make an alphabet book. Soon everyone is interested in Perry’s project.
A meditation on kindness and patience and acceptance.
Kate de Goldi
Kate de Goldi is one of this country's most loved authors. The author of the phenomenal The 10 PM Question, which has been published extensively overseas, she is a two-time winner of the New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year Award. She has held several major fellowships and is a respected broadcaster, book festival chair and public speaker. She is also dedicated and committed to working with schoolchildren. Kate lives in Wellington.
Gregory O'Brien is a Wellington-based writer and artist. His visual art is included in the touring exhibition Kermadec—Nine Artists in the South Pacific. His latest collection of poetry and drawings is Beauties of the Octagonal Pool (AUP, 2012).
He has recently written books about the painters Euan Macleod and Pat Hanly, and the expatriate New Zealand illustrator Graham Percy.
Greg was recipient of a 2012 Arts Foundation Laureate Award and the 2012 Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement.
The Queen and the Nobody Boy (A Tale of Fontania)
by Barbara Else
Published by Gecko Press
Target age 11+
An adventure story about greed, rebellion, and finding allies in the most unlikely places. Hodie is the unpaid odd-job boy at the Grand Palace in the Kingdom of Fontania. Fed-up, he decides to leave and better himself. The young Queen, 12-year-old Sibilla, is fed-up, too. Sick of gossip about her lack of magical ability, she decides to run away with Hodie, whether he likes it or not...
Barbara Else (author)
Barbara Else is the author of six adult novels, and is one of New Zealand’s most respected writers. She is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature, and has worked as a university tutor, editor and freelance writer. Barbara lives in Wellington, New Zealand. The first book in the ‘Tales of Fontania’ series, The Travelling Restaurant, won the LIANZA Esther Glen Award and was selected as the NZ IBBY Honour Book for Writing in 2012.
My Brother's War
by David Hill
Published by Penguin Books
Target age 9-12
My Dear Mother,
Well, I've gone and done it. I've joined the Army!
Don't be angry at me, Mother dear. I know you were glad when I wasn't chosen in the ballot. But some of my friends were, and since they will be fighting for King and Country, I want to do the same.
It's New Zealand, 1914, and the biggest war the world has known has just broken out in Europe.
William eagerly enlists for the army but his younger brother, Edmund, is a conscientious objector and refuses to fight. While William trains to be a soldier, Edmund is arrested. Both brothers will end up on the bloody battlefields of France, but their journeys there are very different. And what they experience at the front line will challenge the beliefs that led them there.
David Hill (author)
David Hill spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Napier. He studied at Victoria University and became a high school teacher, teaching both in New Zealand and the UK. He became a full-time writer in 1982 and is one of this country's most highly regarded authors for children and young people. David's books have been published internationally and his short stories and plays for young people have been broadcast here and overseas.
David has won awards for his writing in this country and overseas. He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004.
by Rachael King
Published by Random House
Target age 8-12
While holidaying at his father's house, Jake explores Wellington's wild south coast, with its high cliffs, biting winds, and fierce seals. When he stumbles upon a sealskin hidden in a crevice at Red Rocks, he's compelled to take it home and hide it under his bed, setting off a chain of events that threatens to destroy his family.
Red Rocks brings the Celtic myth of the selkies, or seal people, into the New Zealand landscape, throwing an ordinary boy into an adventure tinged with magic. The beautiful writing and eerie atmosphere of this captivating story will thrill junior readers.
Please credit this image to Sharon Blance
Rachael King is the author of two novels for adults and a novel for children.
Rachael has a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Wellington’s Victoria University. In 2008 King was the Ursula Bethell Writer in residence at Canterbury University, and she has lived in Christchurch ever since.
Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull
by Jack Lasenby
Published by Gecko Press
Target age 9+
It’s the 1930s and our storyteller is sick in bed when Uncle Trev arrives to let Mum go out and do the shopping. Uncle Trev tells stories about the animals on his farm, his neighbour Gotta Henry, and the time the barbarians sacked the town. He also goes through Mum’s cupboards and helps himself to all her gingernut biscuits and Louise cake... A hilarious novel from New Zealand’s master teller-of-tall-tales.
Jack Lasenby (author)
Jack Lasenby (born 1931) is one of New Zealand’s most important children’s book authors. He has written dozens of books and stories for children and young adults, and has earned numerous honours including key awards and fellowships. In 2003 he received the Margaret Mahy Medal for his contribution to the world of children’s literature. Jack lives in Wellington, where he is patron of the Wellington Children’s Book Association.
Earth Dragon, Fire Hare
by Ken Catran
Published by HarperCollins
Target age 13+
New Zealand’s forgotten war, fought in the deep green jungles of Malaya. On opposing sides are a young Kiwi soldier and a dedicated guerrilla. They are enemies but destiny decrees they will become unlikely comrades. In this treacherous and bloody war, nothing is as it seems — not even trust. The path to honour and the search for peace promise to be hard-fought and come at the highest cost. Earth Dragon, Fire Hare is the ultimate tale of war.
Ken Catran (writer)
Ken Catran has written professionally for 30 years, beginning in television. He now writes YA fiction, and has published close to fifty books: history, war fiction, thrillers and science fiction, published internationally. Winner of nine writing awards, he is the 2007 recipient of the Margaret Mahy Award for services to children’s literature. Ken lives in South Canterbury.
Into the River
by Ted Dawe
Published by MUP
Target age 13+
Some rivers should not be swum in.
Some rivers hold secrets than can never be told.
When Te Arepa Santos is dragged into the river by a giant eel, something happens that will change the course of his whole life. The boy who struggles to the bank is not the same as the one who plunged in, moments earlier. He has brushed against the spirit world, and there is a price to be paid; an utu to be exacted.
Years later, far from the protection of whanau and ancestral land he finds new enemies. This time, with no-one to save him, there is a decision to be made… he can wait on the bank, or leap forward …into the river.
Into the River is a prequel to the award-winning novel Thunder Road.
Ted Dawe (writer)
Ted Dawe grew up in small rural towns around New Zealand. His first novel Thunder Road won the Young Adult Fiction section of the New Zealand Post Book Awards in 2004. It also won for him the Best First Book award. Since then he has published an adult novel, K Road and a Junior fiction novel, And did those feet... (which was a finalist in the Junior division of the 2007 awards). He published a collection of short stories, Captain Sailor Bird and Other Stories and a teacher’s resource book in 2007.
The Nature of Ash
by Mandy Hager
Published by Random House
Target age 14+
In this fast-paced thriller, Ash McCarthy’s life takes a devastating turn when news from the police forces him to return home to his Down Syndrome brother Mikey, and impels him into a shady world of political intrigue, corruption, terrorism and lies. As if this isn't bad enough, the worlds two greatest super-powers start a fight that puts New Zealand in the middle of their deadly games. Ash’s fight to uncover the truth turns into a race to save lives and stop the destruction of all the principles he holds dear.
Mandy Hager (writer)
Mandy Hager won the Esther Glen Award for Fiction for her novel Smashed and Best Young Adult Book in the NZ Post Book Awards 2010 for The Crossing. She was trained as a teacher, and she also has an Advanced Diploma in Applied Arts (Writing) from Whitireia Polytechnic and a MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University. She lives with her husband on the Kapiti Coast on an acre of land.
by Hugh Brown
Published by HarperCollins
ISBN 9781869509569 pb
Target age 12+
Will Clark thinks he’s a socially inept bookworm who just happens to enjoy cross-country running and taekwondo. But then his mother returns after a five-year absence overseas, and he has his first full-contact taekwondo fight, and the gorgeous comic-reading Conway Jones asks if she can be his maths tutor … Will must reassess himself, and his past, as he reaches towards a new future and lets his dreams take flight.
Hugh Brown (writer)
Hugh Brown has worked as a dishwasher, cook, editor, conservation worker and house dad. When he was young he liked writing rhyming poems (and still does). After studying literature at university he decided he’d like to write stories that were fun to read. He now lives in Paekakariki with his three kids, where he writes, edits, gardens and plays music. This is his first published book, and is the inaugural winner of the Tessa Duder Award for Young Adult Fiction.
Snakes and Ladders
by Mary-anne Scott
Published by Scholastic
Target age 13+
“Life is harsh, Finn, face it. It’s a great big game of snakes and ladders.Duggie has slid down a snake and you’ve been given the chance to climb a ladder.”
Finn’s drugged-out Dad is on trial for manslaughter, and so Finn is sent away to an exclusive boarding school to remove him from the small-town gossip machine. Settling in to such a different life is not easy, but with the help of new mates Andy and Hobbsie, and the attentions of the much-lusted-after Mia, he begins to enjoy his new life. But there is someone who knows Finn’s secret …Blackmail and lies … will Finn ever face the truth? An illicit after-ball party becomes the turning point in his life.
Mary-anne Scott (writer)
Born in Hastings into a family of nine children, Mary-anne Scott grew up around books and music. Aside from writing, she sings and plays guitar, performing at wineries and weddings around Hawke’s Bay. She also plays cello and teaches music to young students. Mary-anne’s mother, Joy Watson, authored the popular Grandpa’s Slippers series.
Mary-anne is married to Paul and lives in Havelock North. The couple have four grown-up sons. The experiences, both good and bad, of her sons and their friends have been great fodder for her writing.
100 Amazing Tales From Aotearoa
by Simon Morton & Riria Hotere
Published by Te Papa Press
ISBN 9781877385797 pb
Target age 12+
100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa gives readers a special look at some of the surprising, wonderful, and significant pieces that Te Papa stores in trust for the nation.
Learn the secrets of one of the first dinosaur fossils ever discovered, see new spider species, be inspired by famous paintings and quirky jewellery, encounter fearsome weapons from the Pacific, and uncover deep and personal stories of Māori taonga (treasures).
Included is a DVD of the complete TV mini-documentaries Tales from Te Papa
Please note that due to publisher error, this book is out of stock until further notice. We will update you on availability as information comes to hand.
Simon Morton (writer)
Simon Morton is a Wellington-based broadcaster and presenter of the Radio New Zealand National show This Way Up and the TV series Why We Buy and Tales from Te Papa.
His first proper job was a three-year stint for bungy jumping pioneer AJ Hackett. Simon also worked at the BBC World Service in London producing the weekly technology series, Digital Planet, and produced work for National Public Radio in the US and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
He’s usually seen around Wellington on his bike, and is dead keen on a game of soccer.
Riria Hotere (writer)
Riria Hotere (Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Aupōuri) is an actor in the Maori Television language series Kōrero Mai and a former member of Te Papa’s education team. Currently she works for Huia Publishers as a Resource Developer.
As well as being a core cast member in Kōrero Mai, she has also been behind the camera as a director on the weekly soap Akina.
Fluent in te reo, Riria also grew up with Japanese and Spanish cultures and studied Spanish at University.
Kiwi: the real story
by Annemarie Florian
illustrated by Heather Hunt
Published by New Holland
Target age 7-12
Kiwi: the real story invites the reader into the secret night world of the North Island brown kiwi, illuminating the facts about its habitat, diet, courting, and parenting. Beautiful illustrations accompany a story that can be read on two levels: for young children a bold rhythmic verse describes kiwi in action in the bush, while the non-fiction narrative provides older readers with added insight into kiwi biology and behaviour.
A collaboration between bookseller Annemarie Florian and artist Heather Hunt, Kiwi: the real story offers a memorable reading experience for all readers.
Annemarie Florian (writer)
Annemarie Florian is an independent bookseller at Storytime, an award-winning children’s store stocking books and toys in Whangarei. An academic librarian in a previous life, Annemarie has convened the Russell Clark Award and was a judge for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in 2012. Other publications she has authored include Time to Sleep and Books for Babies, also a collaboration with Heather Hunt.
Heather Hunt (illustrator) Heather Hunt is an illustrator, graphic designer, artist and photographer. She recently worked with Backyard Kiwi, a local Whangarei initiative, to design a distinctive and unique kiwi character, which has now been portrayed in a range of art prints. The original drawings inspired Heather and Annemarie Florian to develop Kiwi: the real story, which Heather illustrated and designed digitally using vector points.
Taketakerau, The Millennium Tree
by Marnie Anstis
illustrated by Patricia Howitt and Kelly Spencer
Published by Marnie Anstis in association with Steele Roberts Aotearoa
Target age 9+
A child listens to Koro and Grandma as they weave a tale about the life and times of the ancient puriri tree Taketakerau, the settlement and development of New Zealand, and world events that happened over the last 2000 years.
Marnie Anstis (writer)
Marnie’s literary endeavours developed from reading aloud to her children and enjoying the sounds and effects of word-combinations. Initial efforts were frequently published in the NZ Gardener and NZ Dairy Exporter magazines.
Her major writing achievement has been writing and publishing the book Taketakerau: The Millennium Tree, which received a prize in the 2012 Ashton Wylie Children’s Book Award, and was included in the Listener 50 Best Children’s Books, 2012.
Patricia Howitt (illustrator)
After years of painting and drawing the New Zealand high country while working full-time as a lawyer, Patricia Howitt now lives on 10 acres in the Far North, adjacent to virgin bush – one of the continuing inspirations for her work. She freelances in art, illustration, and Internet design and graphics from her home, and recently received an award through the Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust for her 36 paintings for the book Taketakerau: The Millennium Tree.
Kelly Spencer (illustrator)
Kelly is a freelance illustrative artist, moonlighting in graphic design.
Her ‘fine art’ work is strongly influenced by the essence of the natural world - she has great respect for the creatures who share this earth.
Currently based at Honey Badger Creative Studios in Wellington, Kelly’s work includes book illustration, webpage design, tee-shirt graphics, branding and poster design… and painting a fiberglass life-sized baby elephant for the Melbourne Zoo.
She has exhibited in group shows in Wellington, Melbourne, and Atlanta.
At the Beach: Explore & discover the New Zealand seashore
by Ned Barraud & Gillian Candler
Published by Craig Potton Publishing
RRP $29.99 hb, $19.99 pb
Target age 5-8
At the Beach is a delightful introduction to the natural history of the New Zealand seashore.
The stage is set with beautiful, factually correct illustrations (including detailed cross-sections) of three familiar habitats—the sandy beach, rockpools and mudflats. Many of the plants and animals that play a part in these rich ecosystems are shown in situ, and readers are directed from there to pages dedicated to detailed coverage of:
• sea stars, kina and sea anemones
• seaweeds, sponges and sandhoppers
• fish, jellyfish & shrimps
Gillian Candler (writer)
Gillian Candler was a secondary-school teacher for many years before moving into educational publishing with Learning Media in Wellington, where she worked as an editor, project manager and eventually CEO. She currently works as an educational publishing consultant from her home in Pukerua Bay.
Ned Barraud (illustrator)
Ned Barraud is a talented illustrator with a passion for sea creatures. His work has been published frequently in the School Journal, and he illustrated The Earthquake and the Butterfly (2012). He works at Weta Digital as a texture artist and lives in Wellington, spending lots of time exploring the seashore with his three young children.
Note: Four finalists were selected in the non-fiction category, compared to five in the other categories. The judges felt the books selected represented the best on offer, and all were significantly better than the next tier of titles considered.