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Books for Christmas Giving 2015

‘It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations – something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.’ ~ Katherine Paterson.

Hopefully in our selection of books which we think make fabulous Christmas gifts we have followed Katherine Paterson’s words of advice.

Please note: Many of the books may have more than one publisher, or edition.

Age recommendations are based on both reading level and comprehension. If a book is in the teen list, it is because we feel the content, context, and language is more suitable to older readers. Although younger readers may be capable of reading the text, they may not identify with the issues the teenaged characters are dealing with, or the issues may not be appropriate to their age group.

  • Finding Monkey Moon, by Elizabeth Pulford, illus. Kate Wilkinson (Walker Books)
  • Yak and Gnu, by Juliette McIver, illus. Cat Chapman (Walker Books)
  • Little Hoiho,  by Stephanie Thatcher (Scholastic)
  • Tyranno-sort-of-Rex, Chris Llewelyn (Scholastic)
  • Bye-Bye Grumpy Fly, by Ruth Paul  (Scholastic)
  • What’s the Time, Dinosaur, by Ruth Paul (Scholastic)
  • Quaky Cat Helps Out, by Diana Noonan, illus. Gavin Bishop  (Scholastic)
  • I Am Not A Worm,  by Scott Tulloch (Scholastic)
  • The Song of Kauri,  by Melinda Szymanik, illus. Donovan Bixley (Scholastic)
  • The Anzac Puppy, by Peter Millet, illus. Dominique Ford (Scholastic)
  • I Want Spaghetti, by Stefanie Black (Gecko Press)
  • Travels of an Extraordinary Hamster,  by Astrid Desbordes, illus. Pauline Martin (Gecko Press)
  • When I Am Happiest, by Rose Lagercrantz, illus. Eva Erikson (Gecko Press)
  • Help! The Wolf is Coming, by Charles Ramadier, illus. Vincent Bourgeau  (Gecko Press)
  • Franky, by Leo Trimmer (Gecko Press)
  • Muddle & Mo, by Nikki Slade Robinson  (Duck Creek Press)
  • John Joe’s Tune: How New  Zealand Got its National Anthem, by Tania Atkinson, illus. Christine Ross  (Duck Creek Press)             
  • Aunty Edna of Duck Creek Pond, by Nigel Gray, illus. Stephanie Thatcher (Duck Creek Press)
  • The Roadman Boogie, by Nikki Slade Robinson (Duck Creek Press)
  • Why Do Cats Have Tails?, by David Ling, illus. Stephanie Thatcher (Duck Creek Press)
  • Uncle Vic’s Farm, by Raewyn Caisley, illus. Lisa Allen (Duck Creek Press)
  • Blackie the Fisher Cat,by Janet Pereira, illus. Gabriella Klepatski (Craig Potton)
  • Have You Seen A Monster?, by Raymond McGrath (Penguin)
  • Jim’s Letters, by Glyn Harper, illus. Jenny Cooper (Penguin)
  • Kakapo Dance, by Helen Taylor (Penguin)
  • My New Zealand ABC Book, by James Brown (Te Papa Tongarewa)
  • My New Zealand Colours Book, by James Brown (Te Papa Tongarewa)
  • Pussycat, Pussycat, by Donovan Bixley (Upstart Press)
  • Ducks to Water, by Brett Avison, illus. Janine Dawson (Five Mile Press)
  • Whose Beak is this?, by Gillian Candler, illus. Fraser Willianson (Potton & Burton)
  • Stan the Van Man, by Emma Vere-Jones, illus. Phillip Webb (Scholastic)
  • The Ghosts of Tarawera, by Sue Copsey  (South Pacific Bks (distr.))
  • The Bakehouse, by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)
  • The Girl Who Rode the Wind, by Stacy Gregg (HarperCollins)
  • Island of Lost Horses, by Stacy Gregg  (HarperCollins)
  • Conrad Cooper’s Last Stand, by Leonie Agnew (Penguin)
  • The Pirates and the Nightmaker, by James Norcliffe (Random House)
  • Felix and the Red Rats, by James Norcliffe (Random House)                    
  • Teddy One-Eye: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear, by Gavin Bishop (Random House)
  • Out on the Water: Twelve tales of the sea, by Tessa Duder  (Libro International)                                                                     
  • Monkey Boy, by Donovan Bixley (Scholastic)
  • Trouble in Time, by Adele Broadbent (Scholastic)
  • Harbour Bridge, by Phillipa Werry (Scholastic)
  • Cool Nukes, by Des Hunt (Scholastic)
  • How I Alienated my Grandma, by Suzanne Main  (Scholastic)
  • The Name at the End of the Ladder, by Elene de Roo  (Walker Books)
  • Ophelia Wild, Deadly Detective, by  Elena de Roo  (Walker Books)
  • Detective Toad: The First Case, by Ulf Nilson Gecko Press)
  • The Volume of Possible Endings, by Barbara Else (Gecko Press)
  • The Knot Impossible: a Tale of Fontania, by Barbara Else (Gecko Press)
  • Non-Stop Nonsense, by Margaret Mahy illus. Quentin Blake (Hachette)
  • The Letterbox Cat & Other  Poems, by Paula Green, illus. Myles Lawford (Scholastic)
  • A Treasury of New Zealand Poems, by Paula Green (ed)   (Random House)


  • Spark, by Rachael Craw (Walker Books)
  • Stray, by Rachael Craw (Walker Books)
  • Evie’s War, by Anna Mackenzie (Random House)
  • Being Magdalene, by Fleur Beale (Random House)
  • I am Rebecca, by Fleur Beale (Random House)
  • From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle, by Kate De Goldi (Random House)
  • Singing Home the Whale, by Mandy Hager  (Random House)
  • Speed of Light, by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)
  • While We Run, by Karen Healey  (Allen & Unwin)

  • Waitangi Day: the New Zealand Story, by Phillipa Werry  (New Holland Publishers)                            
  • Ghoulish Get-Ups, by Fifi Colston  (Scholastic)

  • Maori Art for Kids, by Julia Noanoa, illus. Norm Heke (Craig Potton)
  • A Little ABC Book, by Jenny Palmer (Beatnik Publishing)
  • Under the Ocean: Explore & Discover NZ’s Sea Life, by Gillian Candler, illus. Ned Barraud  (Craig Potton Publishing)
  • In the Bush: Explore & Discover NZ’s Native Forests, by Gillian Candler, illus. Ned Baurraud (Craig Potton Publishing)
  • The Book of Hat, by Harriet Rowland  (Makaro Press)
  • New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame: 25 Kiwi Champions, by Maria Gill, illus. Marco Ivancic (New Holland Publishers)
  • See What I Can See: New Zealand Photography for the Young and Curious, by Gregory O’Brien (Auckland University Press)
  • Changing Times: the Story of a New Zealand Town & its Newspaper, by Bob Kerr (Potton & Burton)
  • First to the Top: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Amazing Everest Adventure, by David Hill, illus. Phoebe Morris (Penguin)
  • Beginner’s Guide to Rugby, by Aaron Cruden  (Penguin Random House)
  • Beginner’s Guide to Sport, by Steve Gurney  (Penguin Random House)
  • Jammin’ with Steven Adams, by David Riley  (Reading Warrior)
  • Rugby: the Players, the Skills and the Style, by David Riley, illus. Michel Mulipola (Reading Warrior)
  • Samoan Heroes, by David Riley, illus. Michel Mulipola (Reading Warrior)
  • Motiti Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster, by Debbie McCauley (Mauao Publishing) 
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Storylines Trust Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki and Friends of Storylines Te Pou o Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki together form New Zealand’s only national organisation working year-round to promote New Zealand children’s and young adult literature through activities that include a major national Story Tour to schools, early childhood centres and communities, and awards for writers, illustrators and those who work in the area of New Zealand children’s literature



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