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Kiwi authors prominent in Kids’ Top 50 books

Media Release
23 September, 2013

Kiwi authors prominent in Kids’ Top 50 books

New Zealand authors are grabbing the attention of our younger readers with three of the top 11 and 10 of the top 50 Kids’ books for 2013 written by Kiwis, one more than last year.

The Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 of 2013 announced today (Sept. 23) is a list compiled from thousands of votes made by families across the country.
Whilst the list reveals that Kiwi kids remain committed to the true, great classics, they also stock their bookshelves with tomes from their own environment that reflect their everyday experiences.

Top spot in 2013 goes to enduring author J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series which squeezes into second place last year’s number one, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.

John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars is New Zealand’s third most popular read amongst children and The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare claims fourth spot.

The most popular New Zealand book is Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary and Friends series which comes in at number five on the list. Last year it was number four. Other popular books authored by New Zealanders are Mark Sommerset’s Baa Baa Smart Sheep at nine and Craig Smith’s The Wonky Donkey (#11).

Whitcoulls book manager Joan Mackenzie says it’s great to see Kiwi authors with so many books in the New Zealand top 50.

“Lynley Dodd is ever popular and it’s not surprising to see Hairy Maclary firmly ensconced at number five. With 10 Kiwi books on the list, all of us at Whitcoulls are loving the profile New Zealand authors are enjoying.

“Titles such as I Need a New Bum, Bad Dog Flash, The Little Yellow Digger, The Looky Book and A Bigger Digger are all great reads.

“There’s also Do Your Ears Hang Low? with the Topp Twins successfully turning a true classic song into something modern and Kiwi as does Donovan Bixley with his illustrated treatment of The Wheels on the Bus.

“We should all be tremendously proud New Zealanders are reading our own books.”

Joan says she’s pleased for Veronica Roth who comes in at number 12 with Divergent.

“It’s the first in a dystopian series, a genre that loads of older young readers are really waking up to. The second title is Insurgent and the third is being published in October – Allegiant – and in the US the publisher is printing two million copies.”

Joan says while Kiwi kids can’t go past the old favourites, they’re also keen to overlay their reading with books from their own environment.

“The list tells us the true classics are always in vogue but books that reflect back to readers’ landscapes, places and essentially Kiwi things that they experience every day are also important. It’s the best of both worlds.

“And youngsters remain heavily influenced – as so many of us are – by books which turn up on the big screen and drive another whole level of interest. I’m thinking of the likes of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Hunger Games.

Other interesting facts about the Top 50:
- In the Young Adults category peer influence drives significant interest – “You can see that when a book is picked up and liked by a number of people, the interest can grow exponentially as word gets around,” Joan says.
- The 10 New Zealand titles in this year’s list tops last year’s by one.
- Eleven new titles turned up on the list this year.
- Margaret Mahy didn’t make it on to the list along with Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree collection although Famous Five survives.

The Kids’ Top 50 books are available now at Whitcoulls stores nationwide and the full list is available online at

About Whitcoulls

Whitcoulls is a major national retailer with 60 stores around the country, offering a wide selection of stationery, educational toys, puzzles, games, gifts, greeting cards, wrap, books, magazines & e-Readers. Whitcoulls was founded 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. In 1971, Whitcombe & Tombs merged with key competitor Coulls Somerville Wilkie, and was renamed Whitcoulls in 1973. Whitcoulls was purchased in 2011 and 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.


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