Kids books and travel │#Jobookchat

Before we travelled to New Zealand I was desperate to get my hands on some related books for the children. I spent quite a long time looking for either a kids travel guide, a book about Mauri legends and culture, or even a travel journal suitable for a preschooler.  This extensive search threw up a grand total of “zero” appropriate books. Even my fall back of the i-SPY series didn’t have a New Zealand related option. I know that kids aren’t planning holidays and trips, but surely they are interested in where they are going? Apparently not!

In the end, I had too much else to plan so gave up the search. The children were very lucky and received some holiday spending money from their grandparents, so we decided to try find a book whilst we were on holiday instead.

We spent most of the first half of our trip in pretty rural areas, but when in Auckland we stumbled across Unity Books.
Unity Books - Auckland

Unity Books is a really nice looking bookshop, if not a little tricky to navigate with a pushchair - it is a small store, but packed with books. My son was unimpressed at being confined to the pushchair, and was making a lot of noise, so Stu took him outside whilst I looked in the children’s section with my daughter. We found the kind of thing we were looking for straight away, and there were a couple of potential options.

We went for “Maui and other Maori Legends” by Peter Gossage. I had actually seen this book on Amazon before we went away, but it was selling for £35 and I didn’t want to pay that for a book I’d not seen! Earlier in the year we stumbled across some of these stories as animations on YouTube but I hadn’t linked the book and the videos together.

The book is lovely and contains 8 Mauri legends including how Maui found his mother, the origins of Maui’s magic jawbone, and the creation of New Zealand. It is still a little too wordy for the kids, and it does contain a lot of Mauri words which we’ve had to look up, but I’ve been able to simplify the stories for her as we read them.

Whilst we were browsing the children’s section we were approached by a woman holding two brown paper parcels. She told my daughter that one parcel was for her, and the other was for her brother who she had seen leaving the shop earlier. My daughter couldn’t wait to open her package, but we managed to persuade her to hold onto it until we were settled down somewhere. As soon as we found a table in a cafe later that day it was opened - my son was napping in his pushchair so he took his back to the hotel to look at later.

They are both beautiful books and lovely stories, and it was such a surprise to be given them. We’ve read them so many times already and I think they’ll become firm favourites - so thank you very much Unity Books.