NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – Non Fiction Award Finalists!

Check it out, kids! Wellington City Libraries are jam packed full of Non Fiction goodies that have been shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards – Whoohoo! So what are you waiting for, come on down to the library or place a reserve to ensure you get hold of one or all of these amazing books that will widen your knowledge of New Zealand wildlife, creatures and some good old fashioned history.


image courtesy of syendticsFrom Moa to Dinosaurs: Explore & discover ancient New Zealand.

Prepare to go on a journey where you will get a glimpse of the animals that lived in ancient New Zealand just before people arrived. It then goes back in time, providing snapshots of particular periods, as far back as 180 million years ago. The range of animals covered in this book include: moa and other extraordinary birds that are now extinct; crocodilians and turtles; the shark-toothed dolphin and giant penguins; dinosaurs such as sauropods and theropods; as well as those resilient survivors who can still be found in New Zealand today, such as kiwi, native bats, giant weta and tuatara. Overall I found this beautifully illustrated and a wonderful resource that will intrigue and encourage children to learn something about the origins of New Zealand.


image courtesy of syndeticsJack and Charlie: Boys of the bush.

“The true story of two boys who live on the wild and rugged West Coast of the South Island. Join Jack and Charlie as they go whitebaiting and fishing, panning for gold, chopping wood with their tomahawks, firing at targets with their bows and arrows, plucking ducks, camping in the bush and rafting down rivers”–Publisher information.


image courtesy of sydneticsThe Cuckoo and the Warbler.

This book tells the true story of one of the most remarkable wildlife relationships in New Zealand, between pipiwharauroa, the shining cuckoo, and riroriro, the grey warbler. It is a story of tragedy, trickery and faithful care – and it plays out each spring and summer in the forests of Aotearoa. Although rarely seen by humans, the interaction of these two native birds is a striking example of nature’s inventiveness. Overall a beautiful, heart warming story that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

The Genius of Bugs.

Discover a world of insects as you have never seen it before. “Inspired by the science exhibition Bug Lab, which was brought to Wellington in December 2016 by Te Papa and Weta Workshop”, The Genius of Bugs presents a cast of amazing and unexpected bugs, from the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp to the master-of-disguise orchid mantis, to the New Zealand favourite, the wētā”–Publisher information. This book is guaranteed to be a favourite.

Torty and the Soldier.

“Meet Torty! She’s one tough little tortoise with a beat-up shell and some missing toes. Torty survived a great war that raged in Europe one hundred years ago. She was rescued back then by a young Kiwi solder. Torty is a true World War One survivor. “–Publisher information. This book is in one word – AWESOME! and is a book that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

Top 10 children’s non-fiction for May

There’s a varied set of popular facts whisking out the library door for autumn time reading. World War One fascination has continued from the ANZAC centenary with some great books.  Philippa Werry, a NZ Post book awards Children’s finalist has created a great store of facts and stories surrounding ANZAC day in her book and her blog.  Star wars and minecraft still have a special place in the Top 10 – of course they do

1.  Minecraft, by Stephanie Milton

2.  Star Wars, by David West Reynolds

3.  Minecraft hacks master builder, by Megan Miller

4.  The LEGO ideas book, by Daniel Lipkowitz

5.   Star Wars character encyclopedia, by Simon Beecroft

6.  Minecraft,  by Nick Farwell

7.  Anzac Day, by Philippa Werry

8.  World War I, by Simon Adams

9.  Marvel super hero character encyclopedia, by Scott Peterson

10. See inside the First World War, by Rob Lloyd Jones

Book winners announced

Last night the winners of the New Zealand Post Book Awards were announced. Here are the winners:

New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

The Boring Book

by Vasanti Unka




Māori Language award

Taka Ki Ro Wai

by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page




The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand

by Paul Adamson




Junior Fiction:


by Joy Cowley




Young Adult Fiction

Mortal Fire

by Elizabeth Knox




Picture Book

The Boring Book

by Vasanti Unka




Best first book

A Necklace of Souls

by R L Stedman




Children’s Choice Award

The Three Bears…Sort Of

by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley




Honour Award


by Whiti Hereaka(teen fiction)



Win a New Zealand Post Book Awards prize pack!

The winners of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards will be announced soon, on June 23rd.

We have 2 book packs to give away thanks to Random House. Each pack contains two of the finalist books –

Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe

“When David’s uncle comes to visit he sets off a bizarre series of events. Things become complicated when the pet rats turn bright red. David senses that somehow the red rats are connected to the story he is reading, and he becomes more convinced when the colour red becomes contagious. The parallel story sees Felix and his friend Bella inadvertently shifted into a strange land where they must solve a riddle. But this puts them into great danger. How will they escape and find their way home?” –Publisher information.





The beginner’s guide to hunting and fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson.

“Includes information on the right equipment for the right species, hunting with dogs, and mountain safety and bushcraft essentials. With diagrams, fun facts, a glossary of hunting terms, helpful tips and even some recipes to try out at home … has an emphasis on safety and provides all budding hunters with the basic skills and knowledge for a lifetime of adventure in the great outdoors”–Back cover.





To go into the draw to win… comment on this post and tell us which is your favourite out of the finalist books that you hope wins. Also include the name of your local Wellington Library.

The prize pack includes one each of the above books for you to keep, and maybe some other cool stuff that we want to throw in.

Fine print: You must be a Wellington City Libraries member, aged 5-12 years old, and you need to include the name of your local library so we know where to send the prize pack if you win.

New Zealand Post Book Award finalists announced

Here they are -the finalists for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. These are the top 5 fiction, non-fiction, picture books and teen fiction that’s been published in New Zealand recently, according to the judges. From this list the judges will pick a winner, as well as an overall ‘best book’ winner.

You get to pick a winner too! Check out the Children’s Choice Award for more info. (you can win book vouchers for yourself and your school by voting!)

Here’s the list, how many have you read?


Picture Books

Machines and Me: Boats by Catherine Foreman; Scholastic New Zealand

The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka; Penguin Group (NZ), Puffin

The Three Bears … Sort Of by Yvonne Morison & Donovan Bixley; Scholastic New Zealand

Toucan Can by Juliette MacIver & Sarah Davis; Gecko Press

Watch Out, Snail! by Gay Hay & Margaret Tolland; Page Break Ltd


A Winter’s Day in 1939by Melinda Szymanik; Scholastic New Zealand

Dunger by Joy Cowley; Gecko Press

Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe; Random House New Zealand, Longacre

Project Huia by Des Hunt; Scholastic New Zealand

The Princess and the Foal by Stacy Gregg; Harper Collins Publishers (NZ)


An Extraordinary Landby Peter Hayden & Rod Morris; HarperCollins Publishers (NZ)

Anzac Day: The New Zealand story by Philippa Werry; New Holland Publishers

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber & Brian Lovelock; Walker Books Australia

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting & Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson; Random House New Zealand

Wearable Wonders by Fifi Colston; Scholastic New Zealand




A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman; Harper Collins Publishers (NZ), HarperVoyager

Bugs by Whiti Hereaka; Huia Publishers

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox; Gecko Press

Speed Freak by Fleur Beale; Random House New Zealand

When We Wake by Karen Healey; Allen & Unwin


Winners announced!

The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards winners were announced in a lavish ceremony in Christchurch last night.

We blogged about the finalist books here, and now we can tell you which ones won!


Best Non-Fiction:

100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton & Riria Hotere

Go behind the scenes at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand and discover more than 100 treasured items from the Museum’s collection. 100 Amazing Tales From Aotearoa gives readers a special look at some of the surprising, wonderful, and significant items that Te Papa stores in trust for the nation. Learn the secrets of one of the first dinosaur fossil ever discovered, see new spider species, be inspired by famous paintings and quirky jewellery, encounter fearsome weapons from the Pacific, and uncover deep and personal stories of Māori taonga (treasures).

The book is based on the popular TV mini-documentaries Tales from Te Papa, and includes a DVD of the complete series – with a bonus 20 episodes


Best Junior Fiction:

My Brother’s War by David Hill

It’s New Zealand, 1914, and the biggest war the world has known has just broken out in Europe. William eagerly enlists for the army but his younger brother, Edmund, is a conscientious objector and refuses to fight. While William trains to be a soldier, Edmund is arrested. Both brothers will end up on the bloody battlefields of France, but their journeys there are very different. And what they experience at the front line will challenge the beliefs that led them there



Honour award, Junior Fiction:

The Queen and the Nobody Boy: A Tale of Fontania series by Barbara Else

Hodie is the unpaid odd-job boy at the Grand Palace in the Kingdom of Fontania. Fed-up, he decides to leave and better himself. The young Queen, 12-year-old Sibilla, is fed-up too. Sick of gossip about her lack of magical ability, she decides to run away with Hodie, whether he likes it or not.

Sequel to The Travelling Restaurant



Best Picture Book:

Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy & Gavin Bishop

Absentminded Mister Whistler always has a song in his head and a dance in his feet. In a rush to catch the train, he is so distracted he loses his ticket. Is it in the bottom pockets of his big coat or the top pockets of his jacket? Perhaps he slipped it into his waistcoat. Where is Mister Whistler’s ticket?




Best First Book:

Reach by Hugh Brown

Young Adult Fiction.

Will Clark thinks he’s a socially inept bookworm who just happens to enjoy cross-country running and taekwondo. But then his mother returns after a five year absence overseas, and he has his first full contact taekwondo fight, and the gorgeous comic-reading Conway Jones asks if she can be his maths tutor… Will must reassess himself, and his past, as he reaches towards a new future and lets his dreams take flight.



Best Young Adult Fiction and New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year:

Into the River by Ted Dawe

When Te Arepa Santos is dragged into the river by a giant eel, something happens that will change the course of his whole life. The boy who struggles to the bank is not the same one who plunged in, moments earlier. He has brushed against the spirit world, and there is a price to be paid; an utu to be exacted. Years later, far from the protection of whanau and ancestral land he finds new enemies. This time, with no-one to save him, there is a decision to be made.. he can wait on the bank, or leap forward into the river




Children’s Choice Award:

Melu by Kyle Mewburn, Ali Teo & John O’Reilly,

Melu has always been different. While the other mules stubbornly clip-clop around the sun-baked hills, Melu dreams of swimming in the glittering green sea below. But it will take more than stubborness for Melu to reach the glittering green sea.


This is the award that you got to vote for. Did you vote for Melu?



Free Dance show

Put this one in your diaries. To celebrate the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, there will be a special free dance show for children at the Wellington Central Library.

Performers from the Java Dance Company will put Margaret Mahy’s picture book ‘Mr Whistler‘ on show with amazing and mesmerising dance moves and music.

This free event is suitable for 6-12 year olds and their families. No bookings are required however space is limited at the venue, so make sure you turn up early to get a spot.


– Wellington Central Library mezzanine meeting room (go up the stairs to clarks cafe then turn left at the top. Follow the walkway around to the room)

– Saturday 22nd June, 1.30pm 


Thanks to The Kilbirnie Children’s Bookshop and Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ) for their support for this event.

Pyjama Storytime at Kilbirnie Library

Don’t miss this one! Our popular Pyjama Storytime is BAAAAAACCCKKK!

Come along to Kilbirnie Library at 6pm on Thursday 20th of June for fun stories and songs, badge making, hot cocoa and marshmallows. Don’t forget to wear your snuggest PJs and bring a toy along to share in the fun.

The Storytime is to celebrate the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards – annual awards given to the best NZ children’s books of the past year. Go to the award’s website and check out this year’s finalists. Who do you think should win?

This event is free and bookings are not required. Suitable for 5-10 year olds and their families ad caregivers.

Vote for your favourite… and WIN!

The finalists for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards have been out for a while now, which means you’ve had heaps of time to read some and figure out your favourite… right?

Did you know that you could win a really cool prize just by voting for your favourite book?

Every year one book wins the Children’s Choice Award – this is the book that get’s the most votes by New Zealand Children. Often the authors say that it is the best award to win out of all of them.

By voting you and your school could win $1000 of book vouchers ($500 for you and $500 for your school). How many books do you think you could buy with that much money!!??

It’s really easy to vote – just go to the Children’s Choice voting page, enter your details and the name of your school, then choose your favourite book from the finalist list. Easy!

Voting closes on May 31st, so make sure you do it soon.

The New Zealand Post Book Awards winners are announced during the festival week on Monday 24th June. In the week leading up to the ceremony we have some cool, free and fun events happening that I’m sure you’d love to come to. Stayed tuned for more info on this!


Happy voting!

NZ Post Book Awards: Non-Fiction

Here are the list on Non-Fiction finalists for the New Zealand post Children’s Book Awards:

100 Amazing Tales From Aotearoa by Simon Morton & Riria Hotere

Based on the TVNZ television series “Tales from Te Papa” and contains 2 DVDs including the original TV series. Find out about quirky NZ stories featuring some strange and precious artifacts.





Kiwi: the real story by by Annemarie Florian & Heather Hunt

With lots of illustrations a bold rhythmic verse describes the North Island brown kiwi in action in the bush, and a non-fiction narrative provides readers with added insight into kiwi biology and behaviour





Taketakerau, The Millennium Tree by Marnie Anstis, Patricia Howitt & Kelly Spencer

The story of a child who listens to Koro and Grandma as they weave a tale about the life and times of the ancient pūriri tree Taketakerau, the settlement and development of New Zealand, and world events that happened over the last 2000 years





At the Beach: Explore & discover the New Zealand seashore by Ned Barraud & Gillian Candler

Find out all about the New Zealand seashore in this amazing new book with fantastic illustrations. The book includes a removable, waterproof, quick-reference guide to common seashore animals





From these 4 great books a winner will be announced on June 24th. You can vote for a winner too – in the Children’s Choice Award (and you’ll go in the draw to win $500 of book vouchers for you and your school).