Kiwi kids’ choose New Zealand writers when asked to vote for their favourite books
When Kiwi kids’ got the chance to vote for their favourite books they voted overwhelmingly for New Zealand writers said Whitcoulls, as they announce their Kids’ Top 50 Books list today.
Voting was up a by a staggering 45 percent from last year and nearly one-third of the books (14 titles) chosen are home-grown. Perennial favourites The Little Yellow Digger and The Wonky Donkey make their annual appearance, alongside Kiwi newcomers Kuwi’s First Egg, The Dragon Defenders, Tu Meke Tui and Moo and Moo and the Little Calf Too.
Other newcomers to the Whitcoulls Top 50 Kids’ list include a second Kuwi book – Kuwi’s Huhu Hunt, Dog Man, Bad Guys and Weirdo. Among other Kiwi favourites are Baa Baa Smart Sheep(#19), Snooze with Hairy Maclary (#30) and Perky the Pukeko by Michelle Osment (#44).
The shape of the Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books list has changed by as much as 32% from 2016, although the top spot is still occupied by the mega-popular Harry Potter Series, followed by Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series at number two, Lynley Dodd’s enduring favourite Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy (number three), The World’s Worst Children (number four) and The Treehouse Series (number five). More than one-third of the fiction titles in the Kids’ Top 50 are read and voted for by children aged 8-10 years, an age group for which reading is particularly compelling.
Commenting about the differences in reading tastes between Kiwi kids’ and adults, Whitcoulls Head Book Buyer Joan Mackenzie said, “Interestingly, the number of New Zealand titles in the Kids’ Top 50 is significantly more than for the adult Top 100 Books list, which Whitcoulls also compiles annually. I think that the popularity of Kiwi writers with our children reflects the importance of stories that mirror a recognisable landscape, and an environment to which they can easily relate.”
This year, Mackenzie was surprised by the huge increase in votes and the fact that this increase wasn’t through online or social media, but from physical votes placed in store. “Perhaps there’s a swing back to more traditional times or perhaps kids’ simply love to be in an environment where they’re surrounded by books,” she said.
Whitcoulls have been asking readers to vote for their Kids’ Top 50 Books for the past 18 years and Head Book Buyer Joan Mackenzie attributes the popularity of voting with children’s love of reading, particularly New Zealand stories.
“The factors which influence voting appear to be varied – some classic favourites make an appearance year after year, whilst the effect of movies shows a more immediate impact. Books which made it to screen in recent times, but are now off the List include Divergent, Maze Runnerand The Fault in our Stars,” said Mackenzie.
Inspired to encourage and foster a love of reading in children, Whitcoulls knows that books are vital for language acquisition and educational success. They also fire children’s imaginations. The Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books list celebrates the nation’s favourite reads and offers something for every young reader.
The Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books list is here: