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 top 50 children’s book list today, Tuesday 27 September 2022.

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

Joan Mackenzie, Books Manager at Whitcoulls, says: “The importance of New Zealand books to children cannot be overstated – it is so important that they find themselves in some of these stories and reflect their own environment back to them. Our local writers, illustrators and publishers do a great job and Whitcoulls loves to showcase their work.”

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Sixteen of the titles chosen for the list are books in a series, ten of which appear in the top 25. Significantly, almost 40 per cent of the titles are books by New Zealand authors and illustrators, including both new faces and leading names
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy (#2); Aroha series (#7); The little yellow excavator (No. 9); and How am I? (#10). Keeping young readers engaged is a big factor in keeping them reading, and series of books increase their enjoyment of reading.

More than half of the books, 28 in all, are new to this year’s list and long-running favorite, JK Rowling Harry Potter series re-elected first place. Other notable titles include Dav Pilkey’s Fun Dog Man Series
(#3), Eric Carles the very Hungry Caterpillar
(#4) and The Dragon Adventures by Tui T. Sutherland Wings of Fire series (#5).

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“It’s great to see newer Kiwi titles like Tulip and Doug by Dunedin author Emma Wood (#16) appear on the list that captured the public’s imagination when Jacinda Ardern gave Prince William a copy for his children. And 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.”

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

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

The 2022 list is online at

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