This list of suggested books on New Zealand includes picture books, fiction and non-fiction mainly for children and a few adult titles.
Titles newly included in this list are marked with •
If you would like to order any of the books, send orders to Austral Ed by post, fax or email to firstname.lastname@example.org Payment can be made with bank cheques in Australian dollars (preferably) or by credit card.. Freight is sent by the most economical method, depending on urgency.
Recommended by Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke
The House of the People illustrated by Robert Jahnke hardback 9780859533003 $19.95
A long time ago a group of Maori people decided they needed a special meeting house. This is the story of how that marae was built and the special carvings and patterns that were part of the beautiful wood building (8 up)
Taming the Sun: Four Maori Myths pb 9781869790349 $21.95
This beautifully illustrated collection contains four stories: Maui and The Sun, Maui and the Big Fish, Rona and the Moon and Kahu the Taniwha. (3 – 7 years)
Counting the Stars 9781869790721 $21.95 contains four more Maori myths, Ranginui and Papatuanuku, Hinemoa and Tutanekai) and two less well-known legends The battle of the birds and Kae and the whale. (3 – 10 years)
Duck in the Gun pb 9781921150838 $16.95
This anti-war classic was first published in 1969 and is one of 10 books selected for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The General is ready to go to war, but a duck has made a nest in the gun. While waiting for the eggs to hatch, the General runs out of money to pay his soldiers, so he strikes up a deal with the Prime Minister and the ensuing chain of events results in them putting off the war for good. (6-10 years) MC
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy pb 9780140505313 $14.95 Big Book 9780947212117 $44.95 Hairy Maclary and his friends are all terrified of Scarface Claw, the toughest tomcat in town. This rhyming story has a rollicking pace and lots of humour. There are many sequels including Hairy Maclary’s Bone pb 9780140505580 $14.95, Hairy Maclary Scattercat pb 9780140505801 $14.95 and Slinky Malinki pb 9780140544398 $14.95, Slinky Malinki, Open the Door pb 9780140553260 $14.95, Hairy Maclary’s Caterwaul Caper pb 9780140508734 $14.95, Schnitzel von Krumm’s Forget-Me-Not hardback 9780143505358 $19.95, Schnitzel von Krumm’s Basketwork pb 9780140555578 $14.95, Hairy Maclary SIT pb 9780141330952 $14.95, Hairy Maclary’s Showbusiness pb 9780140545500 $14.95, and Slinky Malinki Catflaps pb 9780140565720 $14.95
Hairy Maclary Rumpus at the Vet pb 9780140542400 $14.95
Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack hardback 9780143505235 $19.95 pb 9780141330969 $14.95 is about a playful duckling who is too fast for Hairy Maclary.
Hairy Maclary, Shoo hardback 9780733325458 $21.99 pb 9780141328065 $14.95 a big shemozzle as Hairy Maclary gets lost and causes havoc as he races through shops and the school till he is found taken back home.
Scarface Claw hardback 9780143505242 $19.95 pb 9780140568868 $14.95 is the toughest tom cat in town. Can anything frighten him?
• Schnitzel von Krumm, Dogs Never Climb Trees hardback 9780143505211 $19.95 is the latest.
Also A Dragon in a Wagon pb 9780140540857 $14.95, Sniff-snuff-snap pb 9780140558685 $14.95 and Find Me a Tiger pb 9780140544831 $14.95
The Three Fishing Brothers Gruff pb $15.00 (9780340893425)
When the selfish, greedy bad-tempered Gruff brothers have polluted the water and caught all the fish in Poverty Bay, they simply move on to the Bay of Plenty and do it all again, laughing all the way to the bank. Then the residents of both towns kick them out and the Minke Whale, guardian of the ocean, takes a stand. With the Gruff brothers deep in their watery grave, the sea-life returns to the bays. A morality tale about greed with a strong environmental message at its heart. (6-10 years) MC
How Maui Slowed the Sun pb 9780143505181 $16.95 , How Maui defied the Goddess of Death pb 9780143504634 $14.95 , How Maui Found his father and the Magic Jawbone pb 9780143505198 $16.95 How Maui Found his Mother pb 9780143505204 $16.95, How Maui found the Secret of Fire pb 9780143503798 $14.95 and The Fish of Maui pb 9780143505174 $16.95
These are all traditional stories from the Maori in New Zealand. Stunningly illustrated and simply told, these stories of Maui provide a very good introduction to some of the most important Maori traditional stories. Striking illustrations by Peter Gossage bring the stories to life. (7 – 11 years)
Kuia and the Spider illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa pb 9780140503876 $12.95
A traditional Maori story about two weavers; a kuia (a grandmother) and a spider.
Granma McGarvey pb 9781869431112 $17.95
Grandma McGarvey Goes to Sea pb 9781869432584 $17.95
Grandma Mcgarvey Paints the Shed pb 9781869432133 $17.95
Grandma Mcgarvey Takes a Dive pb 9781869434182 $17.95
Grandma McGarvey Goes to School pb 9781869434373 $17.95
Grandma McGarvey and the Treasure Hunt pb 9781869437213 $17.95
Grandma McGarvey Goes Camping pb 9781869437220 $17.95
Grandma McGarvey Goes to the Zoo pb 9781869436612 $17.95
Grandma McGarvey has her own very distinctive style to everything she does. These are very popular stories about an adventurous and indomitable grandmother. All the picture books are illustrated by Trevor Pye. (5 – 8 years)
The Whale Rider illustrated by Bruce Potter pb 9780143503279 $14.95 (for younger readers)
The story of Kahu is told in picture book format illustrated by Bruce Potter for younger readers with beautifully realistic illustrations. Kahu is the descendant of the line of Paikea who came originally to Aotearoa on the back of a whale. However her grandfather is disgusted that she is only a girl and not the grandson he had hoped for as he doesn’t believe that a girl can take over the male line of descent from Paikea. Kahu tries to show her grandfather that she can do anything that the other boys in her village can do and finally she is able to show that she is a worthy successor to the line of Paikea. (7 – 12 years)
Matatuhi pb 9780143519942 $14.95
When Mata sees the beautiful Maori cloak and the carved figure of a woman her life is changed as she reclaims her Maori heritage. (8 - 11 years)
Taniwha pb 9780140505986 $14.95
A little boy makes friends with the taniwha in his nearby river. He is thrilled when the taniwha takes him on a wonderful journey back in time and through myth. (7 – 10 years)
The Great White Man-Eating Shark illustrated by Jonathon Allen pb 9780140554243 $14.95
Norvin impersonates a shark so that he can swim unhindered in the bay but he is all too convincing and attracts a lady shark who considers him “the shark of my dreams”. One of my very favourite picture books.
The Man whose Mother was a Pirate pb 9780140554304 $14.95
Loads of fun as a small man takes his boisterous pirate mother (now retired) to see the sea again.
The Boy Who was Followed Home illustrated by Stephen Kellogg pb 9780143504375 $14.95 When a hippo follows Robert home he is delighted but his parents are not pleased! (6 – 8 years)
The Boy with Two Shadows pb 9780143504405 $14.95 A young boy who agrees to take of a witch’s shadow while she is on holidays finds that having two shadows causes problems.
A Lion in the Meadow pb 9780140506303 $14.95 The small boy’s mother gave him a dragon in a matchbox to frighten the lion in the meadow.
Bubble Trouble hardback 9781845077587 $29.95
Such fun to hear Margaret recite with gusto this tongue-twisting delightful story about a baby caught in a bubble. The village people chase the baby in the bubble floating far across town to get him down safely. (4 – 7 years)
The Margaret Mahy Treasury hardback 9780143306276 $34.95
This beautiful collection contains eleven of Margaret’s wonderful picture book stories with their original illustrations. They include The Man whose Mother was a Pirate, The Lion in the Meadow, The Great White Man Eating Shark, The Boy who was Followed Home, The Boy with Two Shadows, The Three-Legged Cat, The Witch in the Cherry Tree, A Summery Saturday Morning, and Jam.
Old Hu- Hu illustrated by Rachel Driscoll hardback 9781869438975 $27.99
When old Hu- Hu dies, little Hu-Hu-Tu wonders where he has gone and asks all the other insects of the forest where he could have gone. This is a moving story about death and the celebration of life. (4 - 8 years)
My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes illustrated by Lynley Dodd pb 9780140502428 $14.95 A fun rhyming story about cats from round the world who do different things but this particular cat just likes to hide in boxes.
Roadworks illustrated by Brian Lovelock hardback 9781921150166 $27.95 pb 9781921529535 $16.95 Big Book 9781921529719 $44.95
The text is noisy and full of action as the trucks and loaders and bulldozers and graders make the road. This is an exuberant story showing how the road is made and how the signs and lights and trees are added till finally the cars and buses and trucks can drive along the road. It won the Picture Book Category of the NZ Post Book Awards 2009.
The Were-Nana (not a Bedtime story) illustrated by Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson pb 9781869438692 $15.99
Simon loves to scare his little sister Stella Rosa with spooky stories. He manages to convince Stella Rosa that their Nana Lupin who is coming to visit them for the very first time is a were-nana. The illustrations and text manage to combine the true spookiness of the images in Stella Rosa’s imagination but at the same time there is also humour at Simon’s lurid descriptions. When Nana Lupin arrives at the airport, poor Stella Rosa is terrified but there is a satisfying denouement as Nana Lupin takes off her coat and scarf to reveal an attractive smiling grandmother. (5 – 9 years)
Grandpa’s Cardigan illustrated by Wendy Hodder pb 9781869432263 $17.95
A delightful story. Grandpa loves his old cardigan but it finally persuaded that it is too old. But the problem is finding another one which is as comfortable.
Similarly Grandpa’s Slippers illustrated by Wendy Hodder pb 9780908643677 $17.95
Grandpa doesn’t want to part with his old slippers even though they are very old and have holes in them. (4 – 8 years)
The Boxing Day Test illus by John Bennett pb 9781869435523 $16.95
When Patrick get a new cricket set for Christmas it inspires a hilarious family test match played in the backyard. (5 – 9 years)
Annie Rae Te Ake Ake (retold by)
Myths and Legends of Aotearoa hardback 9781869433888 $39.95
An excellent retelling of 15 traditional stories of the Maori people. Each story has been illustrated by a young secondary school artist from New Zealand. The artists are from a variety of nationalities bringing their own modern creative response to these stories of New Zealand’s cultural history.
• Just One More: stories by Joy Cowley illustrated by Gavin Bishop hardback 9781877467868 $27.99
This is a delightful collection of seventeen short stories by the very popular storyteller Joy Cowley. The stories are often quirky and are great for reading aloud to children or for children to read to themselves. Gavin Bishop’s delightful illustrations add to the humour and appeal of the collection. (6 – 10 years). KS
The Puffin Treasury of New Zealand Children’s Stories by Jennie Keestra (editor)
Paperback 9780143318255 $24.95
An entertaining collection of excerpts, poems and complete stories from some of New Zealand’s most popular authors and illustrated by a variety of well known New Zealand artists. (10 – 13 years)
Too Close to the Wind and other Stories. pb 9781869506087 $16.99
This collection of twelve short stories contains some new stories and some previously published ones. (12 – 16 years)
Sasscat pb 9781875657506 $14.95
Extremely satisfying book that has wit, sadness, whimsy, questioning and fantasy. Margaret Mahy thinks Sasscat is one of the ten best children’s books to come out of New Zealand. It won the 1994 Esther Glen Medal for the best NZ Children’s Book. (12 up)
Bow Down Shadrach pb 9780141309156 $14.95
Shadrach is a very old Clydesdale horse who used to be able to perform many tricks. When Hannah discovers the horse has been sold to be turned into pet food, she and her two younger brothers decide to mount a rescue but their plans go very wrong. (10 – 14 years)
The Silent One pb 9780141310619 $14.95
Set in a village in the Ocean Pacific, this is the story of a special relationship between a boy who cannot hear and a strange white turtle. (8 - 12 years)
Stories of the Wild West Gang pb 9781877467851 $19.99
As an only child Michael loves the mess, chaos and fun of his cousins’ big family and is delighted when they shift in just down the street but after a very messy and chaotic camping trip the peace and quiet of his own family also appeals. This book is a collection of a number of stories about the West family. (7 – 10 years)
Kate De Goldi
The 10 PM Question pb 9781741757354 $15.99
Frankie is twelve going on an old man as he worries incessantly about everything. At 10 PM he wanders in to his mother to check on his latest list of anxieties. Are the smoke batteries flat? Will bird flu strike and ruin their lives? There is a very amusing eccentricity about his concerns and also about his whole family. However when a new friend Sydney comes to the school her relentless, unavoidable questions gradually reveal deeper problems which threaten to unravel Frankie’s world. (11 – 15 years)
Night Race to Kawau pb 9780143303459 $16.95
Disaster strikes when Sam’s father is knocked unconscious during a yacht race. As the weather changes Sam and her mother and sister have to battle high winds and seas throughout the night to reach safety. A tense and gripping story. (11 – 14 years)
The Flea Thing pb 9781921150128 $15.95
Daniel is only small for his age but he ahs a very special ability that at the age of just 13 years he wins a place on NZ Rugby Warriors League team. Good fun as the pressures and changes this causes in his life are explained. (10 – 13 years)
Also The Real Thing pb 9781921150135 $15.95
A funny action packed adventure involving the secret recipe and for Coca- Cola and a kidnapping.
The Super Freak pb 9781921150142 $15.95
Jacob is always getting in to trouble and this only gets worse when he discovers he has super powers. (9 – 12 years)
Brain Jack pb 9781921150951 $19.95
An exciting sci-fi adventure in which a brilliant young computer hacker becomes involved in a very dangerous world. (12 – 15 years)
The Tomorrow Code pb 9781921150340 $19.95
An exciting apocalyptic sci-fi adventure story involving a race against time to prevent a disaster that could end of all life on Earth. (12 – 15 years)
The Fat Man pb 9780143304074 $17.95
An extraordinary book about a violent psychopathic man who terrorises a young boy, a girl and numerous adults in a small country town. His influence is chilling, menacing and it seems all pervading. The book is described as a thriller, but is not really aimed at teenagers as it won the AIM Award for Junior Fiction. The book tackles the difficult subjects of violence and intimidation against children in a way that, finally, is empowering for children. The book also won the Esther Glen Medal for the best New Zealand book in 1995.
The Halfmen of O pb 9780143318347 , Motherstone pb 9780143318354, Priests of Ferris pb 9780143318361 $16.95 each
These three books make up a powerful fantasy trilogy in a fight against evil in the world of O. (9 -13 years)
Under the Mountain pb 9780143305019 $17.95
Originally published in 1979, this is now regarded as a NZ classic science fantasy. Red-headed twins who have exceptional powers are called on to save the earth from alien invasion. (9 – 12 years)
The World around the Corner pb 9780143303893 $14.95
An exciting fantasy. Caroline’s view of the world changes when she puts on an old pair of glasses she finds in a second hand store. (9 – 12 years)
The Champion pb 9780143303886 $16.95
Rex narrates the story of how in 1943 a wounded US soldier comes in stay with his family. He and his family were stunned at the appearance of Private Jackson Coop as he is a black American. An interesting account of race relations and depiction of a small New Zealand country town during the war years. (10 – 14 years)
• Salt River by Elizabeth Hegarty 9781869439088 pb $18.95
Elizabeth Hegarty has created a marvellous heart-warming story about a very unusual family and an exceptional boy. I find it amazing that as a first-time author, she could create such an entertaining, convincing and absorbing portrait of Tom Pook’s life. Tom and his family were Maori but kept to themselves. They lived in a one-room house hidden in the roadless backwaters of the Kaipara Harbour in New Zealand. Tom’s father was a fisherman and at fourteen Tom could not read but he could fish and was very capable and as a result his parents went away for a week leaving him in charge of his seven younger brothers and sisters. Much of the story centres on what happens during this time as it was no easy task to keep his siblings under control and also complete all the necessary chores. Tom later got a job on board ships servicing lighthouses and he learnt to read and became chief engineer. If you are looking for a true story about a hero then this is a very enjoyable and entertaining tale. (10 – 16 years). KS
Rocco pb 9781869435844 $17.99
A challenging fantasy in which Rocco Makepeace slips through time and meets with a primitive tribe who live in caves. Winner of the AIM Award 1991. (10 – 15 years)
Last Summoner pb 9781775430179 $15.99 A fantasy about dragons. (9 – 13 years)
• Finnegan and the Pirates pb 9781869439279 $15.99
A humourous short novel about a pirate boy who would rather be a dancer. Colour illustrations are by Sherryl Jordan herself. (Published in 2010) (7 – 10 years)
Because we were the Travellers pb 9781877135743 $17.95
About a post-holocaust society which has reverted to a nomadic existence, this is the story about an old woman and a crippled boy who have to survive on their wits when they are banished from their tribe. (12 – 15 years)
The Lake at the End of the World pb 9780140379389 $17.95
Science fiction set in the year 2025 after a cataclysm with a strong environmental theme. Diana suspects that she and her parents are the last people living on earth until she meets Hector who tells her that he lived underground with one hundred other people. (12 years to adult)
Her sense of fun and inventiveness is well known.
The Great Piratical Rumbustification pb 9781567921694 $10.00
A story of high hilarity. The rumbustification is as full of rowdy boisterousness as it sounds. But there are two stories in this book and The Librarian and the Robber is not as rowdy but has wonderful ironical references to the art of being a librarian. It should be read by every librarian. As a former librarian herself, Margaret Mahy has great fun with this relationship between a librarian and a robber. ( 6 - 9 years)
The Changeover pb 9780007243525 $14.99
Superb. A gripping read with a wonderful mixture of reality and the supernatural. (12 - 16 years)
Crash! The Story of Poddy pb 9781869434854 $19.95
The very first chapter describes a car crash in which Poddy is shocked but not injured and realises that he must get help for his injured father and brother. However this poses great difficulties because Poddy is a 13 year old boy with Down’s syndrome. It is quite remarkable how Taylor succeeds in describing Poddy’s determined struggle to conquer his fears to get help. The dramatic effect of the story is greatly increased by alternating chapters describing the drama at the crash site and Poddy’s life in a loving, caring and sometimes exasperated family. (11 - 15 years)
Keith Sinclair (ed)
The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand 2nd ed 1997 9780195583816 $59.95
This book is an excellent general reference for New Zealand’s earlier history. It is intended for the general adult reader and for secondary students. Each chapter is written by a historian, expert in the field. It covers from the first discovery and settlement by Polynesians 1,000 years ago to the settlement by Europeans till the 1990s.
Tangata Whenua: The World of the Maori pb 9780143010074 $35.00
An excellent introduction to Maori life. It explains the origins of the Maori, their vast migrations, arrival in NZ and their life before and after the European arrival. There are sections on the marae, the family, traditional crafts, language, games and warfare. Excellent use of photographs, ilustrations and maps. (11 years up)
Te Ao Maori : The Maori World by Wiri Rapata pb & DVD 9780143010302 $29.95
An excellent introduction to the origins, culture and traditions of the Mari people of New Zealand. The book has many informative photographs. The book and the DVD are in English and Maori and the DVD shows performances of the haka and Maori songs and dances and also shows us the inside of a marae (Maori meeting place.) (13 years up)
The following are adult collections of short stories.
Collected Stories pb 9780141006093 $24.95
This is an adult collection of Grace’s short stories. She is New Zealand’s most well loved short story writer.
Essential New Zealand Short Stories ed by Owen Marshall pb 9781869791285 $49.95
Contains 50 significant stories.
Marion McLeod and Bill Manhire
The New Zealand Short Story Collection pb 9780702230301 $24.95
Published in 1997, this is a collection of stories from 1992 till 1993.
Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories ed Paula Morris pb 9780143006817 $29.95 Published in 2009.
A collection of 31 stories from twenty first century.
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