The Unity Books Children’s Bestseller Chart for October


What’s the best way to get adults to read? Get them reading when they’re kids – and there’s no better place to start than Unity’s best-selling children’s books.

Look, we don’t know how it turned out, but it looks like Christmas is coming and not too slowly. Our monthly list of best-selling children’s books is your time-saving and life-saving guide to great reading for little people. While we are here, we would like to draw your attention to Kiwi Christmas Booksa locally run organization that helps kids across the country unbox a brand new book at every party.


1 Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong (Hachette, $28, ages 13 and up)

The S word got lots of airtime in Aotearoa in October. This book is the first in a new two-part series from sensational writer Chloe Gong (who wrote this great test for us). They follow his bestselling novels These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends, loosely based on Romeo and Juliet. Foul Lady Fortune’s blurb says:

“It’s 1931 Shanghai, and the stage is set for another decade of intrigue. Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back to the verge of death, but the strange experience that saved her also left her unable to sleep and aged, and allowed her to heal from any injury. . Anyway, Rosalind can’t die. Now, desperate to redeem herself from her treacherous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Sounds like heartbreaking summer reading for your teen (and/or yourself).

2 Counting Creatures by Julia Donaldson; illustrations by Sharon King Chai (Two boos, $25, 2+)

A beautiful, detailed flip book for little readers.

3 Spaceboy by David Walliams (HarperCollins, $25, 4+)

From that single-player junior fiction machine of titles like Bad Dad, Gangsta Granny, and more. Spaceboy is set in 1960s America where Ruth is obsessed with space, then one night a UFO crashes. It looks fun and reminds Margaret Mahy’s Brilliant Book The Greatest Show on Earth which is worth researching if you or the child you’re looking for books for is a fan of space.

4 Maui and Other Legends: 8 Classic Tales of Aotearoa by Peter Gossage (Penguin, $40, 3+)

A classic staple for Aotearoa shelving.

5 Great Ideas for Inquiring Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy by Alain de Botton and Anna Doherty (Affirm the Press, $40, 9+)

This one has been on the list for a while now. It is a book that feeds the “but, why?” constraint that children have. There’s a bit of an old-school feel to it: a dark, almost serious cover with a sense of weight and weight.

6 Frozen Mountain: Decide Your Fate by Emily Hawkins and R Fresson (Wide-Eyed Press, $40, 8+)

This book is cross-play with a survival guide. Venture through the book using a pop-out wheel of fortune… and try not to die. “Harrowing stories from wildlife survivors offer glimmers of hope as you face the consequences of your choices. One wrong decision can spell disaster…”

Crikey. It sounds fun though.

7 Atua: Maori Gods and Heroes by Gavin Bishop (Penguin, $40, all ages)

One of the best books of the year: beautiful, big and full of stories that all ages will enjoy and see in the land, sea and sky around them.

8 One Weka Went Walking by Kate Preece (Bateman books, $25, 2+)

Weka weka woo! When are we going to get the bird of the year is our question. These cheeky and ingenious little birds are featured in this sweet new book for toddlers.

9 Where Is Frida Kahlo By Ingela Arrhenius (Nosy Crow, $15, 1+)

I often wonder what Frida would have thought of all the merch that now bears her likeness… nonetheless, this book is a beautiful, tasteful flip book that introduces toddlers to artists (and themselves… the hidden mirrors are always a win with one-year).

10 No way! By Dan Marshall (Pantera Press, $33, 8+)

One for the fact collectors in your family. This book is full of interesting stuff and wonderfully illustrated too.


1 Annual Series #3 Annual edited by Kate De Goldi & Susan Paris (Annual ink, $45, 9+)

We’re big fans of this varied, fun and complex mix full of stories of all kinds. Yearbooks expand on what you might consider children’s literature in terms of style, format, and authors. Susan Paris’s essay on why Annual exists can be read now on The Spinoff.

2 Villains by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Alison Green Books, $28, 4+)

Perfect for the Halloween that’s just ended… the royal duo of children’s illuminations celebrate witches, ghosts and trolls who are downright terrible, nasty and badass villains. To like.

3 156-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (MacMillan, $18, 4+)
One of the most exhilarating live literary events I have attended was Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton Live. They were crazy. They were fun. They slammed marshmallows into the audience of 800 kids with tennis rackets and I thought someone was going to smash and cock or a head. But everything was fine. Yahoo at the tree house from an impossible height!

4 Mitten Adventures: Wellington’s Famous Purring Sound by Silvio Bruinsma (Penguin, $20, 3+)


5 Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong (Hachette, $28, ages 13 and up)

6 Spaceboy by David Walliams (HarperCollins, $25, 4+)

7 Meerkat Christmas by Emily Gravett (MacMillan, $18, 3+)

It’s happening…Christmas novelty books are going to be with us from now on. Who doesn’t love a meerkat though. They project just the right level of anxiety for this time of year.

8 Atua: Maori Gods and Heroes by Gavin Bishop (Penguin, $40, all ages)

9 One of Us Lies by Karen McManus (Puffin, $21, 12+)

Karen McManus writers murder mysteries for teens. Here is the presentation text of the latter which will undoubtedly also become a bestseller:

“Five students are going into detention. Only four come out alive.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball field.

Bad boy Nate is one step away from a life of crime.

Homecoming queen Addy holds together the cracks of her perfect life.

And stranger Simon, creator of the famous gossip app at Bayview High, will never talk about any of them again.

10 Sleeping Kiwi by Kat Quin (Tikitibu, $20, babies)

A beautiful monochrome board book for little babies. Their eyes can see the bold design, it’s perfectly charming and ideal as a gift.


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