Unity Books August Bestsellers for Kids

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

Give us a children’s book any day of the week. We don’t even need a child to accompany it. But be bold. Children (including your inner child) are inherently dark—they are adventurous, weird, and extremely capable of finding their own way to big, intimidating ideas. The best children’s books honor this ability and shamelessly take us into uncharted territory. They did so with an astonishing gleam in their eyes. Danger, surprise, comedy, opportunity. The world would be a better place if more adults read children’s books as bravely as children. There, we have the final say.


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

The most awarded of all children’s books this year. Atua won the top prize at the New Zealand Children’s and Young People’s Book Awards. That’s right. Bishop’s extensive illustrations and vivid language draw from the depths of Te Kore to the gripping beginnings of Te Ao Marama and Atua Māori.

2 Noisy Books By Soledad Bravi (Gecko Press, $25, ages 0-3)

a classic. Our copy was almost lifeless, held together by tape and jam smears. The sometimes relaxing illustrations make the book’s simplicity fascinating in many ways.

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

The stunning and iconic world of Peter Gossage is the right of way for all Aotearoa children. A must have on any bookshelf.

4 large text and picture books By Ole Könnecke (Gecko Press, $30, 1+)

charming. Thanks to Ole Könnecke’s playful approach, you’ll find yourself on a brilliant path.

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

We are fans of this YA story about the fairies of the Fiordland. You can read the childhood adventures that inspired this book here. Thanks also to Sofia (age 11) for her review of Kete Books:

“This book reminds me of how harshly we treat wildlife in New Zealand. This nature-packed book has me getting outside and looking at trees many times. I would recommend it to anyone who loves bushwalking and nature.”

6 Ideas for Curiosity: 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 aims to harness the spontaneous philosophical instinct of children and develop it by introducing some of the most dynamic and important philosophical ideas in history. This book takes us to meet people from around the world and Leading philosophical figures of every age – and showing us how their ideas continue to work.”

It sounds good to adults looking to improve their philosophical skills, too.

7 My First Pop-Up Dinosaur Owen Davey (Walker Books, $23, 4+)

A worthy precursor to Jurassic Park. Tyrannosaurus rex’s wide-open mouth pops off the page in a satisfyingly aggressive fashion. While you’re waiting for the right time to introduce your kids to Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and the angel Jeff Goldblum, this book will satisfy kids’ weird needs to learn about all the dinosaur brands and say the word Pachycephalosaurus before they can say the teeth .

8 A great day out with friends By Philip Waechter (Gecko Press, Hbk $30, Pbk $20, 3+)

An idyllic scene. We all need spring to come more than ever. This book avoids the end of this winter in a delightful, comfortable way. Lots of cakes.

9 Years of Tales: 52 Folk Tales from Around the World Angela McAllister (Frances Lincoln, $28, 6+)

The gift that keeps on giving. Folktales exist for a reason: they seem complex, memorable, and sometimes disturbing. Love a good anthology that can be read and revisited over time.

10 Animal Bedtime Books Check Out Your Favorite 50+ Animals (Dorling Kindersley UK, $30, 3+)

Both real and unreal. This helps fill a child’s world with the magic of animal life. If we stick to that as we age. Another may also be for adults. A reminder of the strange and wonderful minions with whom we share this planet.


1 Atua: Maori Gods and Heroes By Gavin Bishop (Penguin, $40, all ages)

2 The Adventures of Gloves: Wellington’s Famous Purr-Sonality By Silvio Bruinsma (Penguin, $20, 3+)

I mean, of course. But he lives in Oakland now, folks. brutal.

3 star clusters, story clusters: Matariki around the world By Rangi Matamua and Miriama Kamo (Scholastic, $35, 4+)

There is something totally magical in the universe, and the stars connect our stories all the way from Aotearoa to the globe. This book by two of the greatest communicators of our time is a generous and beautiful addition to Matariki’s increasingly extensive literature.

4 homework Liza Weimer (Random House, $24, 12+)

A thrilling YA novel about two teens who battle it out when their history teacher asks them to defend an indefensible assignment. Fast-paced and plot-driven with content warnings: Contains depictions of anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

5 count creatures Julia Donaldson (Two Hoots, $25, 4+)

Vibrant illustrations and little hand raised flaps from the authors of The Gruffalo et al.

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

A beautiful, feminist water adventure.

Top 7 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 read on emotions. Rebekah not only associates emotions with colors or names them, but also describes how they make your body feel and how to manage them.” This book is highly recommended by all parents and educators.”

8 Furry Maclary from Donaldson Dairy Council Books Linley Dodd (Puffin, $16, Baby+)

Spinoff recently released this documentary about Lynley Dodd and her beloved work. Everyone deserves the opportunity to read “Yeeoooowwwffttzzz” aloud at least once and instill in their children the pure piety of Scarfaced Claw forever. 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+)

A creative time travel adventure. Amorangi and Millie must save their mom from the depths of dark history, creating a wonderful premise for understanding Aotearoa’s past and how far we’ve come.

10 The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse Charles McCasey (Ebury Press, $40, all ages)

A collection of those cryptic illustrations that you probably see everywhere.

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