The Margaret Mahy Collection of New Zealand Children’s Books

The Margaret Mahy Collection of New Zealand children's books

About the Margaret Mahy Collection

Although not comprehensive, the Margaret Mahy Collection contains a copy of most New Zealand children's books (excluding 'readers') published in the last two decades, as well as many older titles from the turn of the century through to the 1960s and 70s.

With the increasing interest in and study of New Zealand children's books the collection is now used by a wide variety of people, from children completing school projects to adults studying children's literature.

Included in the collection is Six Little New Zealanders and its sequel Uncles Three by Christchurch writer, Esther Glen. The books were first published in 1917 and 1926 respectively. Betty Gilderdale in her landmark study of New Zealand children's literature, A sea change, comments that Esther Glen clearly intended to portray children as they were, lively, often thoughtless, but usually well-intentioned, examples neither of excellence nor yet of viciousness.

New Zealand's most prestigious award for children's literature is named after Esther Glen so it is particularly fitting that the collection itself honours one of this country's leading writers, Margaret Mahy, a former Children's Librarian at the Christchurch City Libraries, and six times winner of the Esther Glen Award.

Margaret Mahy collection wall

Reading is very creative - it's not just a passive thing. I write a story; it goes out into the world; somebody reads it and, by reading it, completes it.” - Margaret Mahy

Artwork was installed over the Margaret Mahy collection on Friday 3 March 2023, complementing the portrait of Margaret Mahy by artist Glenda Randerson.

The Tuakiri team at Tūranga wanted the area highlighted, as it is a collection of national significance.  Librarians decided on the graphics and quote they wanted to see.

Friends of the Library Ngā Hoahoa o Ngā Kete Wānanga-o-Ōtautahi kindly gave funding for the artwork, which was installed by Sign Network.

The wording in the Margaret Mahy Collection says:

As well as being one of the world’s most beloved, talented and famous authors for children and young adults, did you know that Margaret Mahy, ONZ, was also one of our very own Children’s Librarians?

Margaret wrote her first story at the age of seven and published her first book, A Lion in the Meadow, at 33. In 1976 Margaret was appointed Children’s Librarian at Canterbury Public Library. In 1980 she became a full-time writer, and authored more than 100 picture books, 40 novels and 20 collections of short stories. Her work has been translated into 15 languages.

Margaret went on to win numerous awards, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Carnegie Medal. She received the Order of New Zealand, the nation’s highest honour, in 1993.

Margaret lived in Governors Bay and died in Christchurch on 23 July 2012 at the age of 76.

This collection of New Zealand children’s and young adult books is named in her honour.

Please read and enjoy these books in the library. However, as this is a reference collection for all booklovers, these books cannot be borrowed. Please talk to a librarian to find a borrowable copy.

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