Children's Things We Like

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Children's Things We Like

Children's New Zealand Book Awards 2019

Are you looking for the best in New Zealand Children's books?

The annual New Zealand Children's Book Awards finalists list for 2019 have been announced.

The main categories in the annual awards are - Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-fiction, Illustration, Te Reo Maori book, with a special award for best first book.

The winners will be announced in a ceremony on August 7, 2019

Go to the New Zealand Children's Book Awards website

Check out the finalist lists below...

Picture Books

Mini Whinny: Happy Birthday to Me

Written by Stacy Gregg and illustrated by Ruth Paul

A gentle tale about a little pony who is unhappy about sharing her birthday with all the other horses. Superb production and a muted colour palette give this book a classic and child-friendly appeal. Any child who has ever had to share their birthday will completely understand Mini’s behaviour — and ultimately her regret. The wonderful resolution and energetic ending keep this story upbeat and celebratory.

See Mini Whinny on our catalogue or place a hold

Puffin the Architect

Written and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews

An architect takes on the toughest clients yet in this clever story, full of warmth and gentle surprise. Luminous and detailed illustrations reveal cross-sections of each animal’s house, and encourage exploration. The rhythm and rhyme are impeccable, with a refrain listing the essential requirements for the perfect home — readers are left in no doubt that friends and family are the most important ingredients.

See Puffin the Architect on our catalogue or place a hold

The Bomb

Written by Sacha Cotter and illustrated by Josh Morgan

Set firmly in Aotearoa, this summery, exuberant tale will resonate with any child who has ever tried to do something that scares them. The detailed, artful illustrations are as joyous and assured as the story they capture. The unwavering love and encouragement of the child’s Nan illuminates a strong and convincing message about being yourself and having the courage to do things in your own way.

See The Bomb on our catalogue or place a hold

Things in the Sea are Touching Me

Written by Linda Jane Keegan and illustrated by Minky Stapleton

A deceptively simple warm family story about swimming in the sea, which interweaves themes of natural science, courage, love and rainbow families with a delightfully light-handed approach. The child calls to her ma every time something touches her as she swims. Ma helps educate and reassure her about the wildlife in the ocean. The design and rhythm of the text are surprisingly complex, while also vibrant and child focused.

See Things in the Sea are Touching Me on our catalogue or place a hold

Who Stole the Rainbow?

Written and illustrated by Vasanti Unka

Inspector Beagle is called in to solve the mystery of the missing rainbow. Fluorescent, modern illustrations interact perfectly with a quirky, witty storyline. Fold-out pages, engaging fonts and design details make this a book that children will be drawn to — and the rainbow explanation will have them learning without even realising it. Thoroughly original, whimsical and entertaining.

See Who Stole the Rainbow? on our catalogue or place a hold

Junior Fiction

Search for a Kiwi Killer

Written by Des Hunt

Set in Kerikeri and Waitangi Forest. Kiwiare being killed by dogs. Local pets and pig-hunting dogs are suspects. A boy saves and befriends an injured pig dog in the forest. Immediately the dog becomes a major suspect. The boy must find the realkiller before his new friend is euthanised.

See Search for a Kiwi Killer on our catalogue or place a hold

The Dog Runner

Written by Bren MacDibble

Ella and her brother Emery are alone in a city that's starving to death. If they are going to survive, they must get away, upcountry, to find Emery's mum. But how can two kids travel such big distances across a dry, barren, and dangerous landscape? Well, when you've got five big doggos and a dry-land dogsled, the answer is you go mushing. But when Emery is injured, Ella must find a way to navigate them through rough terrain, and even rougher encounters with desperate people...

See The Dog Runner on our catalogue or place a hold

The Mapmakers’ Race

Written by Eirlys Hunter and illustrated by Kirsten Slade

Four children temporarily lose their parents just as they are about to begin the race that offers their last chance of escaping poverty. Their task is to map a rail route through an uncharted wilderness. They overcome the many obstacles posed by nature, bears, bees, bats, river crossings, cliff falls, impossible weather, but can they survive the treachery of their competitors? This is a fast-paced and charming novel. It's children are brave and competent but not always right. It's world is magical enough to be intriguing but close enough to our own to keep the reader on firm ground.

See The Mapmakers’ Race on our catalogue or place a hold

The Telegram

Written by Philippa Werry

A historical tale set during WW1 in small-town New Zealand, where Beatrice, age 14, must leave school to become a telegram girl. Beaty demonstrates the strength of the everyday hero — as a worker, reader, friend, teacher and nurse. Readers will be drawn in by the attention to detail of time and place, and by the compassion and determination of the main character. The skilful writing balances plot and character at a perfect pace for intermediate readers.

See The Telegram on our catalogue or place a hold

Whetū Toa and the Magician

Written by Steph Matuku and illustrated by Katharine Hall

When Whetū’s mother takes a job at amagician’s house and farm, Whetū becomes the animal keeper, looking after some unusual animals, including a troublesome white rabbit called Errant. Errant's been playing around with magic and done something he can't undo. Rather than face the magician, he disappears, and Whetū becomes the magician's new assistant. At a royal magic performance, it's all going well until Errant reappears. Now, Whetū must save the day and do something amazing with the magic in her fingertips.

See Whetū Toa and the Magician on our catalogue or place a hold

Young Adult Fiction

Ash Arising

Written by Mandy Hager

Ash McCarthy thought he had done enough by broadcasting his story to the world, exposing the corruption and lies of Prime Minister Chandler and his cronies. With his small band of friends and family on a remote campsite in the backcountry, he awaits the international community to answer his call for action. But the public response is not what he had hoped for and the fallout from his revelations will lead him and his companions into even more danger. Can Ash withstand the new challenges that confront him? And what of Mikey. Can he survive in this increasingly merciless world?

See Ash Arising on our catalogue or place a hold

Children of the Furnace

Written by Brin Murray

Under the iron rule of the Revelayshun, one boy discovers the truth…'Ty promised my ma he'd bring me up right. Bring him up to hear the rhythm beat, she said, and to feel the heartsblood warm. Not Strong - not in their way - but strong in the ways of the heart.' When the Revelayshun murders his pa, Wil discovers through savage inquisition that he's marked as a Heater, one of the old-time heretics who burned up the world. But Wil holds the key to a secret. Sekkerland's Shame, the Atrocity, is a great lie - and the Revelayshun will use fire, blood and death to hide the truth.

See Children of the Furnace on our catalogue or place a hold

Invisibly Breathing

Written by Eileen Merriman

I wish I wasn’t the weirdest sixteen-year-old guy in the universe.' Felix would love to have been a number. Numbers have superpowers and they’re safe, any problem they might throw up can be solved. 'If I were a five, I’d be shaped like a pentagon...there’d be magic in my walls, safety in my angles.' People are so much harder to cope with. At least that's how it seems until Bailey Hunter arrives at school. Bailey has a stutter, but he can make friends and he's good at judo. And Bailey seems to have noticed Felix: 'Felix keeps to himself mostly, but there's something about him that keeps drawing me in.

See Invisibly Breathing on our catalogue or place a hold


Written by Whiti Hereaka

Riki wakes after an accident to find he’s gone back a century. He is mistaken for his great-grandfather, who happens to be a soldier in the middle of Egypt during WW1 — a long way from present-day Wellington and his girlfriend. The convincing characterisation and scene setting help readers understand the moral complexities and challenges of life as a Māori soldier during the WW1 campaigns.

See Legacy on our catalogue or place a hold