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Kiwi kids are serial readers, reveals popular Top 50 Books List

Aotearoa New Zealand’s younger readers have an insatiable appetite for book series, Whitcoulls announce, as they unveil their Kids’ Top 50 Books List today, Tuesday 27 September 2022.


Aotearoa New Zealand’s younger readers have an insatiable appetite for book series, Whitcoulls announce, as they unveil their Kids’ Top 50 Books List today, Tuesday 27 September 2022.

Now in its 24th year, the Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books is a calendar event and hotter than ever with more votes received than ever before – up nearly 4 percent from last year. More votes came through online than in previous years and as they rolled in some trends emerged: the popularity of books in a series, local New Zealand books, and adventure stories.

Whitcoulls Book Manager Joan Mackenzie says, “The importance of New Zealand books for children can’t be overstated – it’s so important they see themselves in some of these stories and see their own environment reflected back to them. Our local authors, illustrators, and publishers do a wonderful job and Whitcoulls loves being able to showcase their work.”

Sixteen of the titles voted on to the List are books in a series, with ten of those appearing in the top 25. Significantly, nearly 40 percent of the titles are books by New Zealand authors and illustrators, both new faces and leading names, including Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy (#2); Aroha Series (#7); The Little Yellow Digger (# 9); and How Do I Feel? (#10). Keeping young readers engaged is a huge factor in keeping them reading and book series enhance their enjoyment.

More than half the books, 28 in total, are new to this year’s List and perennial favourite, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series is again voted into the number one spot. Other titles of note are Dav Pilkey’s fun Dog Man Series (#3), Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar (#4), and Tui T. Sutherland’s dragon adventures Wings of Fire Series (#5).

“It’s great to see newer Kiwi titles such as Tulip and Doug by Dunedin author Emma Wood (#16) appear on the List, which captured the public’s imagination when Jacinda Ardern gifted a copy to Prince William for his children. Then, there’s Sunflowers Don’t Grow in Winter (#30) from popular Aroha’s Way dream team Craig Phillips and Rebekah Lipp; The Story of Swoop (#31), a true story about firefighter Matt Owens who found an injured baby magpie and took it home to care for it.”

“For older readers we’re thrilled to see new books on the list such as graphic adventure novel Lightfall (#44) and local titles The Last Fallen Star a magical adventure story by New Zealand diplomat turned writer Graci Kim (#38), and Anne Kayes’s wild outdoor adventure story Tui Street Tales (#41),” says Mackenzie.

The Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books have earned their place in the hearts and on the bookshelves of the nation’s children. Whitcoulls hope by sharing their love of books and the results of their annual poll, that all Kiwi kids will discover the magic of reading.

The 2022 List is published online at Whitcoulls:

Further information: 

Whitcoulls is a major national retailer, offering a wide selection of books, stationery, educational toys, puzzles, games, gifts, greeting cards and wrap. Whitcoulls was founded over 130 years ago when George Tombs, a printer and bookbinder, and George Whitcombe, a publisher and bookseller, combined their businesses to create a national publishing company. Whitcombe & Tombs merged with key competitor Coulls Somerville Wilkie and was renamed Whitcoulls in 1973.  Whitcoulls is now proudly New Zealand owned by the James Pascoe Group which includes The Farmers Trading Co, Stevens, Pascoes the Jewellers, Stewart Dawson’s and Goldmark.

Written by

Sarah Thornton

27 Sep 2022