When Stuff published 50 books every kid should read by age 12, the Book Council staff started talking about NZ books we loved as kids, and NZ books that the kids in our lives love.
We compiled a (very subjective) list of 50 NZ books we think every Kiwi kid should read before they're 12.
We're not making any high claims of this being THE list. (What even is THE list?) This is just a selection of books we’ve been talking about in the office lately - more of a jumping off point to start a conversation about what NZ books us Kiwis think are important for our kids.
Top three - Mahy, Cowley and Gee
Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley and Maurice Gee are the holy trinity when it comes to NZ children's authors. There was much bickering in the office trying to agree the best book by each author. In the end, we gave up. Our recommendation is for everyone to read ALL of their books - they're the holy trinity for a reason!
4. The Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald's Farm by Donovan Bixley
Okay, we also bent the rules and gave Donovan two books - they're equally amazing and we have so many nieces/nephews/cousins who are obsessed with these two classics!
5. I am Not Esther; I am Rebecca; Being Magdalene by Fleur Beale
We recently surveyed our member schools, and found that this series is the most taught NZ book in schools for 2016.
6. See Ya, Simon by David Hill
7. The Bone Tiki by David Hair
8. Genesis Bernard Beckett
9. The Wednesday Wizard by Sherryl Jordan
10. The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi
11. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd
12. The Runaway Settlers by Elsie Locke
13. My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes by Eve Sutton, illustrated by Lynley Dodd
14. Night Vision by Ella West
15. The Little Yellow Digger by Betty and Alan Gilderdale
16. The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
17. I Am Not a Worm by Scott Tulloch
18. Alex by Tessa Duder
19. Duck's Stuck by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly
20. The Kuia and the Spider by Patricia Grace
21. Oliver in the Garden by Margaret Beames
22. Mr. McGee and the Biting Flea by Pamela Allen
23. How Maui Slowed the Sun by Peter Gossage
24. Brain Jack by Brian Falkner
25. The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka
26. Changing Times: The Story of a New Zealand Town and its Newspaper by Bob Kerr
27. The Traveling Restaurant by Barbara Else
28. Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark and Rowan Somerset
29. Pigtails the Pirate by David Elliot
30. Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms? by Dawn McMillan and Bert Signal; illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
31. Grandpa's Slippers by Joy Watson and Wendy Hodder
32. The Bantam and the Soldier