The Unity Books Children’s Bestseller Chart for August

What’s the best way to get adults to read? Get them reading when they’re kids – and there’s no better place to start than Unity’s best-selling children’s books.

Give us a children’s book any day of the week. We don’t even need a child to accompany him. But be bold. Children (including your inner child) are dark by nature – they are adventurous, quirky, extremely capable of navigating big, daunting ideas. The best children’s books honor this ability and lead us unabashedly into the unknown. And they do it with a tremendous gleam in their eyes. Danger, surprise, comedy, opportunity. If more adults read children’s books with the same courage as children, the world would be a better place. There, we said it.


1 Atoua by Gavin Bishop (Puffin UK, $40, all ages)

The most awarded of all children’s books this year. Atua won first prize at the New Zealand Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards. And rightly so. Bishop’s striking illustrations and vivid language captivate from the depths of Te Kore to Te Ao Marama and the captivating beginnings of Atua Māori.

2 Noisy Book by Soledad Bravi (Gecko Press, $25, ages 0-3)

A classic. Our copy is barely alive, held together by tape and smears. The sometimes disarming illustrations make this book attractive by its simplicity in more ways than one.

3 Maui and Other Legends: 8 Classic Tales of Aotearoa by Peter Gossage, (Penguin, hb, $40, 4+)

The surprising and iconic world of Peter Gossage is a right of passage for all children in Aotearoa. A must have on every shelf.

4 Large Book of Words and Pictures by Ole Könnecke (Gecko Press, $30, 1+)

Charming. You will find yourself taking wonderful tangents thanks to Ole Könnecke’s playful approach.

5 Spark Chaser By Sonya Wilson (Cuba Press, $25, ages 10-14)

We are fans of this YA story about the fairies of Fiordland. You can read the childhood adventures that inspired the book here. Also enjoy this comment from Sofia (11 years old) on Books of Kete:

“The book made me think about how harshly we treat wildlife in New Zealand. The nature filled book made me get out and look at the trees many times. Would recommend it to anyone who likes walks in the bush and nature.”

6 Great Ideas for Inquiring Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy by Alain de Botton and Anna Doherty (Affirm Press, $40, 9+)

From the School of Life website: “Big Ideas for Curious Minds is designed to harness children’s spontaneous philosophical instincts and expand them through introductions to some of history’s most vibrant and essential philosophical ideas. The book takes us to meet personalities in philosophy from all over the world and from all eras – and shows us how their ideas continue to matter.

It also looks good for adults who want to deepen their philosophy skills.

7 My first pop-up dinosaurs by Owen Davy (Walker Books, $23, 4+)

A worthy precursor to Jurassic Park. The T-Rex’s gaping mouth comes off the page in a satisfying and aggressive way. While you wait for the right time to introduce your child to Sam Neill, Laura Dern and the angel Jeff Goldblum, this book will satisfy that weird kid’s need to know all the makes of dinosaurs and say the word Pachycephalosaurus before they can. say teeth.

8 A perfect wonderful day with friends by Philip Waechter (Gecko Press, Hbk $30, Pbk $20, 3+)

A bucolic delight. We all need spring to arrive more than ever. This book wards off this winter’s apocalypse in a delicious and comforting way. Lots of cake.

9 years full of stories: 52 folk tales from around the world by Angela McAllister (Frances Lincoln, $28, 6+)

The gift that keeps on giving. Folk tales endure for a reason: they are deceptively complex, memorable, and sometimes unsettling. Love a good anthology that can be dipped into and revisited over time.

10 Bedtime Animal Books Take a look at over 50 of your favorite animals (Dorling Kindersley UK, $30, 3+)

Both factual and whimsical. It helps to populate a child’s world with the magic of animal life. If only we stuck to that as we got older. Another one that could be for adults too. To remind us of the weird and wonderful monsters we share the planet with.


1 Atua: Maori gods and heroes by Gavin Bishop (Penguin, $40, all ages)

2 Mitten Adventures: Wellington’s famous purring sound by Silvio Bruinsma (Penguin, $20, 3+)

I mean, of course. But he lives in Auckland now guys. Brutal.

3 Star clusters, a cluster of stories: Matariki around the world by Rangi Matamua & Miriama Kamo (Scholastic, $35, 4+)

There is something entirely magical about the universe, the way the stars connect our Aotearoa stories across the world. This book by two of the greatest communicators of our time is a generous and magnificent addition to the growing body of literature on Matariki.

4 Mission by Liza Weimer (Random House, $24, ages 12 and up)

A thrilling children’s novel about two teenagers who clash with their history teacher when he asks them to defend the indefensible for an assignment. Fast paced and intriguing, and comes with a content warning: contains depictions of anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

5 Count Creatures by Julia Donaldson (Two Hoots, $25, 4+)

Vibrant illustrations and flaps for little hands to lift, from the author of The Gruffalo et al.

6 The Lighthouse Princess by Susan Wardell, illustrated by Rose Northey (Puffin, $18, all ages)

A beautiful aquatic adventure with a feminist heart.

7 great feelings and what they tell us by Rebekah Ballagh (Allen & Unwin, $30, 2+)

A very useful book for all ages. From School Library News: “One of the best books I’ve seen on emotions. Rebekah goes beyond tying emotions to colors or naming them, but also describes how they make your body feel and how to deal with them. I highly recommend this book to all parents and educators.

8 Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy Advice Book by Lynley Dodd (Puffin, $16, babies+)

The Spinoff recently released this documentary about Lynley Dodd and her beloved creations. Everyone deserves the chance to read “Yeeoooowwwffttzzz” out loud at least once and forever instill in a child the pure godliness of Scarface Claw. See also Tara Ward’s ranking of all creatures in Hairy’s world.

9 Amorangi and Millie’s Journey Through Time by Lauren Keenan (Huia Publishers, $26, 9+)

An inventive adventure through time. Amorangi and Millie must rescue their mother from the murky depths of history, which makes for a brilliant premise for learning more about Aotearoa’s past and how far it’s come.

10 The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charles Mackesy (Ebury Press, $40, all ages)

A collective of those enigmatic illustrations you’ve probably seen everywhere.

Colin L. Johnson