Books children-summer-reading

Published on May 2nd, 2016 | by Booknotes Administrator

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50 New Zealand books every kid should read by age 12

Last week when Stuff published 50 books every kid should read by age 12, we started talking about NZ books we loved as kids, and NZ books that the kids in our lives love.

We’ve compiled a (very subjective) list of 50 NZ books we think every kiwi kid should read before they’re 12. We’re not making any high claims of this being THE list. (What even is THE list?) This is just a selection of books we’ve been talking about in the office lately – more of a jumping off point to start a conversation about what NZ books us kiwis think are important for our kids. We’d really love to hear your thoughts! Tell us in the comments below what NZ books you think every kiwi kid should read before they are 12.

Top three – Mahy, Cowley and Gee

Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley and Maurice Gee are the holy trinity when it comes to NZ children’s authors. There was much bickering in the office trying to agree the best book by each author. In the end, we gave up. Our recommendation is for everyone to read ALL of their books – they’re the holy trinity for a reason!

Mahy

Cowley

Gee

 

4. The Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald’s Farm by Donovan Bixley

Okay, we also bent the rules and gave Donovan two books – they’re equally amazing and we have so many nieces/nephews/cousins who are obsessed with these two classics!

donovan

 

5. I am Not Esther; I am Rebecca; Being Magdalene by Fleur Beale

We recently surveyed our member schools, and found that this series is the most taught NZ book in schools for 2016.

beale

 

6. See Ya, Simon by David Hill

see ya simon

 

7. The Bone Tiki by David Hair

The-Bone-Tiki-cover-295

 

8. Genesis Bernard Beckett

genesis

 

9. The Wednesday Wizard by Sherryl Jordan

wed wiz

 

10. The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi

10pmquestion

 

11. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd

hairy

 

12. The Runaway Settlers by Elsie Locke

Runaway Settlers

 

13. My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes by Eve Sutton, illustrated by Lynley Dodd

catlikestohide

 

14. Night Vision by Ella West

nightvision

 

15. The Little Yellow Digger by Betty and Alan Gilderdale

SetWidth620-yellow-digger-cover

 

16. The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith

donkey

 

17. I Am Not a Worm by Scott Tulloch

not-a-worm

 

18. Alex by Tessa Duder

alex

 

19. Duck’s Stuck by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly

duck

 

20. The Kuia and the Spider by Patricia Grace

pat grace

 

21. Oliver in the Garden by Margaret Beames

oliver

 

22. Mr. McGee and the Biting Flea by Pamela Allen

pamela allen

 

23. How Maui Slowed the Sun by Peter Gossage

maui

 

24. Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

brainjack

 

25. The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka

boring book

 

26. Changing Times: The Story of a New Zealand Town and its Newspaper by Bob Kerr

37

 

27. The Traveling Restaurant by Barbara Else

traveling

 

28. Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark and Rowan Somerset

baa baa

 

29. Pigtails the Pirate by David Elliot

Pigtails-the-Pirate

 

30. Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms? by Dawn McMillan and Bert Signal; illustrated by Ross Kinnaird

dogs sniff

 

31. Grandpa’s Slippers by Joy Watson and Wendy Hodder

grandadslip

 

32. The Bantam and the Soldier by Jennifer Beck  and Robyn Belton
large_9781775432074

 

33. A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children edited by Paula Green & illustrated by Jenny Cooper

9781775533566

 

34. The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

9780143011392

 

35. Purple Heart by Andrew Fiu

large_9781869418045

 

36. Baxter Basics: Poems for Children

large_9781877448188

 

37. Telesa by Lani Wendt-Young

5162EAUFc4L._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_

 

38. Stomp by Ruth Paul

13064935

 

39. Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam by Juliette MacIver, Sarah Davis

978-1-86943-928-6

 

40. Red Rocks by Rachael King

Rachael-King-Red-Rocks-cover

 

41. Project Huia by Des Hunt

four_col_Project_Huia_by_Des_Hunt

 

42. The Red Poppy by David Hill, illustrated by Fifi Colston

red poppy

 

43. Juggling with Mandarins by V.M. Jones

four_col_Juggling_with_Mandarins_by_VM_Jones

 

44. Conrad Cooper’s Last Stand by Leonie Agnew

conrad

 

45. Chicken Licken by Gavin Bishop

chickenlicken

 

46. New Zealand Hall of Fame: 50 Remarkable Kiwis by Maria Gill

9781869663124

 

47. Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill by Debbie McCauley

Motiti_Blue_FRONT_COVER_22_AUGUST_2014_medium

 

48. Ngā Ki by Sacha Cotter and Joshua Morgan Translated by Kawata Teepa
i294_250_0

 

49. Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story by Philippa Werry

books_anzacday

 

50. School Journal

Instructional-Big-Picture

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13 Responses to 50 New Zealand books every kid should read by age 12

  1. marg stevens says:

    What do you think would be suitable for an 8yr old girl and a 2 yr old boy whose Mum reads to him?

  2. john christeller says:

    “Falter Tom and the Waterboy” is a beautiful story by Maurice Duggan and deserves to be better remembered.
    Also we New Zealanders are so parochial and virtually ignore Australian art and literature. If you don’t enjoy Norman Lindsay’s “The Magic Pudding”, well, my copy is many-times-patched.

  3. Sarah White says:

    The Wild West series are one of Joy Cowley’s triumphs – a picture of one of those would have been good

  4. Sarah White says:

    I would have put in Grandma McGarvy paints the shed – Jenny Hessell – marvellous!

  5. Pip says:

    I’d probably add The Watercress Tuna and the Children of Champion Street (all language versions)

  6. Eirlys Hunter says:

    The real danger in giving a child a book that’s too old for them is not that they’ll be damaged in any way, but that they’ll miss out. Because they’ll either discard it (‘boring’) or rip through it without understanding what they’re reading, and never pick it up again. Don’t waste Genesis on an eleven-year old; astonish a fifteen year old with it instead.

    • Steph Soper says:

      I disagree with this lol. Totally get that there are a lot of 11 years olds out there that wouldn’t be ready for something like Genesis, in terms of content or reading level. But there are heaps that are! When I was 12, I was reading things like Lord of the Rings, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights. I loved them at the time, and I still love them now. There are a lot of 11/12 year olds that Genesis would not be ‘wasted’ on.

  7. Christine Haggerty says:

    For twelve or younger, One Boy, No Water by Lehua Parker is the beginning of a really good series.

  8. Raewyn Patton says:

    I’d swap out 10pm Question and put in “The ACB for Honora Lee” by the fabulous Kate deGoldi, myself. Or “Clubs” – just what kids need to read to inform them about this tricky world we expect them to negotiate.

    • Linda Gray Brett says:

      Great list but not enough Gavin Bishop for me I agree that I’d add Clubs and The ACB and Honora Lee by Kate de Goldi. I’d also add Memory by Margaret Mahy and some others that will come to mind later.

  9. Galenand says:

    Yep, great books. But there’s a few on there I wouldn’t give a 12 year old to read, and so many other great books that you could give them instead.

  10. Ada nally says:

    Purple Heart
    Amazing story
    However thought more for adults?

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