Children & Young Adult Staff Picks - April 2024

Welcome to our Children's Librarian Picks, where our passionate children's librarians handpick the most delightful, heartwarming, and engaging books for young readers. Happy reading, little bookworms!

Children's Board Books

First Signs: Everyday Words by Jenna Brockett

Librarian quote: "NZ and Reo Māori sign language for babies."

Gets you started with key signs to help you communicate with your little one, easing frustration (for everyone!) by giving them a means to express their wants and needs.

Hats of Faith by Medeia Cohan

Librarian quote: "Ever wondered what is a Chunni is and how to pronounce it?"

An introduction to the shared custom of head covering. Using accurate terminology and brightly coloured imagery, Hats of Faith helps educate and prepare young children for our culturally diverse modern world.

Children's Picture Books

Louise Bourgeois Made Giant Spiders and wasn't sorry by Fausto Gilberti

Librarian quote: "Very cool story about a real artist. You might just see one of her giant spiders one day!"

Louise Bourgeois was a world-famous artist who told stories of her life through her art until she was 98 years old. She drew, wove, and sculpted pieces inspired by her experiences, often using everyday objects that reminded her of her family and her past. Her famous giant spiders fascinate - and sometimes terrify - art-lovers to this day, but the truth behind the inspiration for these towering sculptors is not as scary as it may seem.

Children's Young Fiction

The Mountain Challenge by Bear Grylls

Librarian quote: "I’d like to highlight these books as they are in dyslexic font. Pretty gender neutral and good messaging."

A mysterious compass with a fifth direction transports a young girl to a mountain top high above sea level, where the air is thin, the steep drops are treacherous and the conditions tough. Luckily, survival expert Bear Grylls is on hand to guide her safely down the mountain, facing her fears and gaining in confidence along the way.

Children's Fiction

The Tomo by Mary-Anne Scott

Librarian quote: "NZ author. Kids who don’t love fantasy have loved this book!"

Phil, and his father's beloved heading dog, Blue, have to spend the Christmas break working on a sheep station while Phil's dad undergoes out-of-town, cancer treatment. The station manager, Chopper, isn't happy having a teenager in his care and certainly not a sheepdog that doesn't understand his signals. Things start to improve for Phil when Chopper's step-daughter, Emara arrives back from holiday, but a wayward ram and a poor decision plummets both boy and dog into danger.Phil will need all the strength he's got to get out alive.

Bindi by Kirli Saunders

Librarian quote: "This is a verse novel and our fringe readers have loved this."

Meet 11-year-old Bindi. She's not really into maths but LOVES art class and playing hockey. Her absolute FAVOURITE thing is adventuring outside with friends or her horse, Nell. A new year starts like normal--school, family, hockey, dancing. But this year hasn't gone to plan! There's a big art assignment, a drought, a broken wrist AND the biggest bushfires her town has ever seen!

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Librarian quote: "This is a classic and a great book if you like to read to your older kids (6yrs +)"

Mo, a gentle bookbinder with an extraordinary secret, and his daughter Meggie love books, yet he has not read aloud to her since her mother disappeared years ago. After a mysterious stranger visits them, Mo tells Meggie they must go into hiding. But why? - and from whom?

Children's Non-Fiction

Gone to the Woods by Gary Paulsen

Born into the middle of World War II, Gary Paulsen's turbulent childhood provided plenty of subject matter for his bestselling novels, and the librarians in his life gave him the inspiration and support to explore the world through books. As a soldier himself, his storytelling technique developed, and for the first time he shares his own story.

We are all born free: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in pictures by Amnesty International

Presents a simplified version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each of the 30 articles is depicted by an internationally renowned artist. Includes portraits and brief biographies of artists. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary.

Young Adult Non-Fiction

A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent by Isabella Rotman

Librarian quote: "This is such a great book that explains our cultural norms and how to make changes around consent."

A quick, easy and important educational illustrated guide to giving and receiving consent in sex, relationships, and other physical contact. Includes tips on what affirmative consent looks like, advocating for what you want, and setting boundaries that honor your comfort and safety. The result is a positive resource illustrating how easy it really is to respect each other's bodies and desires.