To celebrate the third anniversary of a special little Auckland bookstore, staff members Hera Lindsay Bird and Briar Lawry present us with the 25 best sellers since the doors opened in September 2018.
1 Māui and other Maori legends, by Peter Gossage (Penguin NZ)
Top our charts year after year, rekindling millennials and Generation X’s nostalgia and having tamariki say “hey, we’ve been reading this at school” for ages. Peter Gossage (rhymes with “sausage”) is synonymous with the child-friendly version of pūrākau Māori. We sold 566 copies in three years.
2 No one is too small to tell the difference, by Greta Thunberg (Penguin)
Greta Thunberg’s collection of concise and urgent speeches, No one is too small to tell the difference, was so popular it hasn’t budged from our counter for years and still sells like the Swedish version of buns. .
3 Aotearoa: New Zealand’s story, by Gavin Bishop (Penguin NZ)
One of the most majestic books to come onto the scene in recent years, there’s a reason it’s been featured prominently in our storefront since we opened. Gavin Bishop at his best and brightest and up there with every other large format visual non-fic.
4 Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, by Toby Morris with Ross Calman, Mark Derby & Piripi Walker (Lift Education)
Toby Morris! And Ross Calman and Mark Derby and Piripi Walker! The dive into Te Tiriti which has blown away so many teachers, students and parents that it has gone from a school resource to a bilingual comic book treasure accessible to the public.
5 Lizard tale, by Weng Wai Chan (Text Editing)
How many times have we waved this to mid-level buyers and enthusiastically told them, “This is a sneaky spy story set in Singapore during WWII and it is EXCELLENT and also won the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction at the NZCYA Awards last year! ” ?? So many times.
6 the noisy book, by Soledad Bravi (Gecko Press)
What does the baby say? Waaaa! What does the electrical outlet say? No! This bright and bold Gecko Press title is the new baby staple. Guaranteed to be read so often it would crumble if it weren’t for the sturdy card pages. Also available in te reo.
7 good night stories for rebellious girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo (Penguin NZ)
The book that started it all! At Little Unity, we live up to inspirational biographies, but this book, which recaps the lives and achievements of famous women throughout history, is a vital resource for young feminists.
8 I’m a jellyfish, by Ruth Paul (Penguin NZ)
A must-have for fourth birthday parties with the easy pitch of: a great rhyme, beautiful illustrations, a little action in the middle, a cute message of being yourself and, most importantly, a glow-in-the-dark cover.
9 the bomb, by Sacha Cotter & Josh Morgan (Huia Publishing)
Shouldering the burden of too much conflicting advice or doing it your way, with exceptional amounts of panache (and splash)? The bomb won the biggest grand prize at the NZCYA Awards in 2019 and has been in high demand ever since.
10 great ideas for curious minds, by Alain de Botton (The School of Life)
What can Buddha teach us about bullying? Can De Beauvoir help with homework? The School of Life has produced this astonishing non-fiction about famous philosophers throughout history, with questions and prompts to start the conversation.
11 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by JK Rowling (Bloomsbury)
Is there anything else to say about literature‘s most famous closet dweller? Still going strong, over 20 years later.
12 the Secret Commonwealth: La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman (Penguin)
The first in a trilogy of prequels and sequels, which accompanies Pullman’s groundbreaking His Dark Materials trilogy. Who else but Pullman could make Paradise Lost a blockbuster for children? By far one of the best children’s authors in living memory.
13 Here we are, by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins)
Oliver Jeffers’ warm and witty guide to life on Earth has gone beyond traditional baby shower slippers and bibs, and has quickly become an essential resource for all new humans.
14 In our own backyard, by Anne Kayes (Bateman)
If you’re wondering how a book that came out last winter can reach an all-time bestseller list, rest assured that In Our Own Back Yard has earned its place. Timely, thoughtful, and compelling, this game became a gangbuster when it launched, picked up by the dozen for class sets, and carved out a permanent place for itself in the YA section.
15 Ocean, by Hélène Druvert (Thames & Hudson)
It’s been a godsend for ocean books, but our absolute favorite is this stunning large-format production from French illustrator Druvert, featuring intricate aquatic cutouts, frilly coral reefs, and squid paws on the hips. . The perfect gift for young Jules Vernes and Vernesses. The equally compelling Anatomy of Druvert was also in the top 25!
16 trials of Morrigan Crow: Nevermoor, by Jessica Townsend (Hachette)
Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series is picking up speed. In Nevermoor, we meet Morrigan Crow, a cursed child destined to die on her 11th birthday, who has the chance to compete for a place in the prestigious Wundrous Society. Rowling for a new generation.
17 My first words in Maori, by Stacey Morrison, Ali Teo & John O’Reilly (Penguin NZ)
The first foray into the child-focused Maori reo learning resources of the Morrisons (Aotearoa’s mighty couple of Maori reo revitalization) is this accessible and fun visual dictionary, hosted by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly.
18 A Winter Promise, by Christelle Dabos (Text editing)
This sophisticated fantasy quartet from French author Dabos is Pullman in a beret and Breton stripes. A richly conceptualized universe, about God, the destiny and the importance of a good archivist. We are on the edge of our seats, awaiting the last opus, which should be released in October.
19 All the ways to be smart, by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Scribe)
Sometimes it feels like Davina Bell is the center of our Little Unity universe, winning hearts and minds from hardcover books to young adult fiction and literally everything in between. All the Ways to Be Smart is charming, encouraging, and witty – and it’s our go-to for parents looking for a gift for nurseries and kindies as their child moves on to the next smart adventure.
20,101 collective names, by Jennifer Cossins (Lothian)
A tribe of kiwis? A smell of jellyfish? This clear, basic book on collective names is a great way to introduce children to animals of all kinds. Sometimes the simplest ideas have the longest legs.
21 Kuwi & Friends Maori Image Dictionary, by Kat Quin and Pānia Papa (Illustrated edition)
It’s big, it’s blue, it has the irresistible illustrations of Kat and the highly skilled reo eye of Pānia Papa. It is a very special book that will be studied by children and their adults.
22 Tu Meke Tūī, by Malcolm Clarke & Flox (Little Love)
What time it must be to be Flox – win over the kids with train murals AND bestselling picture books! While his iconic style attracts attention, Malcolm Clarke’s eco-conscious storytelling justifies kids turning him around and demanding to start all over again.
23 My first pop-up dinosaurs, by Owen Davey (Walker Books)
Dinosaurs? To verify. Arise? Say no more. Names and pronunciations aside, this book is entirely text-free, but Owen Davey’s fresh, contemporary pop-ups make their own speech. The perfect gift for budding paleontologists.
24 The knife of never letting go, by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
The young adult market is saturated with exaggerated dystopias, but Patrick Ness’ sophisticated and exciting trilogy, Monsters of Men, shines like damask steel in a sea of plastic cutlery. Todd was born into a world without women, where men can get along. But when he finds a young woman in the woods, the dark secrets of the city begin to unfold. I cannot overstate this enough.
25 Encyclopedia of Grannies, by Eric Veille (Gecko Presse)
Not a weekend in Little Unity goes by without a group of kids screaming at that wacky newspaper headline of Gecko and happily cataloging their grandmothers. A fresh and contemporary picture book that celebrates grannies in all their infinite variety. (Sometimes you find a grandfather in a grandmother’s bed, did you know that?)
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