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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Kiwi kids seek out books with positive messages

Local book Aroha’s Way by Craig Phillips is a huge hit with Kiwi kids, storming onto the Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books List at number three. Announced today (September 28, 5:00am), Phillips is a newcomer to the List with his timely and comforting book, which helps children cope with anxiety.

Whitcoulls Book Manager Joan Mackenzie says, “books which encourage kids to explore their feelings are starting to make their presence felt in the Kids’ Top 50. American cartoonist Raina Telgemeier’s autobiographical graphic novels Smile (#34) and Guts (#48) explore themes of fitting in and facing fears, respectively. There has also been a surge in votes, with nearly 2,500 more cast this year than in 2019.”

Mackenzie relates the increase in votes to a greater focus on reading during the turmoil of the global pandemic. The upswing in the Kids’ Top 50 parallels the highest number of votes ever recorded for Whitcoulls recently released Top 100 Books for Kiwi adults.

As unassailable as ever, Harry Potter again holds on to the number one spot in the Kids’ Top 50 and while there have been challengers, no one has been able to topple the wizard in the popularity stakes. The inimitable Lynley Dodd remains at number two with her classic New Zealand story Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy; Dav Pilkey’s fun-filled Dog Man Series is at number four; and Jeff Kinney’s perennially popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series is at number five.

David Walliams is by far the most prolific author on the List, with a total of six titles, including two of his most recent, Slime and The World’s Worst Parents, which come in at #13 and #38, respectively. Kiwi couple Mark and Rowan Sommerset have two books in the Kids’ Top 50 – Baa Baa Smart Sheep (#20) and I Love Lemonade (#28).

“Anecdotally, we understand a lot of children found themselves involved in the kitchen and family cooking routines during the lockdowns, so it’s great to see the Edmonds My First Cookbook make an appearance,” says Mackenzie.

Otherwise, the Kids’ Top 50 comprises classic books, which have become treasured favourites, including the work of Roald Dahl and Dr Seuss; The Wonky Donkey and newcomer The Dinky Donkey (Wonky now has a daughter); The Little Yellow Digger; and many more. As ever, New Zealand books are among the most popular with 14 local books/series voted for by Kiwi kids.

The makeup of the Kids’ Top 50 has changed by more than 25 percent from 2019 and 13 new titles have been voted onto the List. As ever, those on the list are a combination of picture books; narrative stories for older readers; graphic novels for teens, which are again in vogue; and non-fiction books.

“We are thrilled to see the level of enthusiasm for voting this year and the huge variety of books on the Kids’ Top 50. There really is something here for everyone and Whitcoulls is proud to be able to support the reading interests of our many younger customers,” says Mackenzie.


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