Must read books for all the family in 2020

Being able to immerse yourself in a good book is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s a great way to destress, learn something new and improve your concentration.

Whether you’re already a book lover or you’re looking to get back into reading, we’ve put together a list of some of the books we’re most excited to get into this year. Plus check out our top picks for great kids books out this year and spread the joy of reading (plus buy yourself some reading time!)

For the adults

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

If the adults in your house have been spellbound by the hit Netflix series The Stranger, (or even if you haven’t yet!) you are going to love this new book from the Master storyteller Harlen Coban.

Synopsis: Thirty years ago, a child was found in the New Jersey backwoods.

Living a feral existence and with no memory of his past, the locals just called him Wilde.

Now a former soldier and security expert, Wilde lives off the grid, shunned by the community – until they need him.

A child has gone missing. Her family suspect she’s only playing a disappearing game. Nobody seems concerned except for criminal attorney Hester Crimstein, who contacts Wilde and asks him to use his unique skills to find the girl.

But even he can find no trace. One day passes, then another, then a third.

On the fourth, a human finger shows up in the mail.

And now Wilde knows this is no game. It’s a race against time to save the girl’s life – and expose the town’s dark secrets…

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Chances are this one as people are talking about it. This book seems to have it all – mystery, legal drama, romance and coming of age. What’s not to like!

Synopsis: Synopsis: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Celeste Ng, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Life as a Casketeer: What the business of death can teach the living 

If you have watched The Casketeer’s on TV you will already love Francis and Kaiora Tipene – if you haven’t seen it yet you should! Their mixture of dry humour and compassion is beautiful. This book promises to help us navigate the tricky reality of death with the same qualities.

Synopsis: ∗Stars of the hit television series The Casketeers, as seen on Netflix∗

Francis and Kaiora Tipene aren’t your typical funeral directors. With their famous humour and big-hearted personalities, the TVNZ and Netflix reality TV stars are changing the way we think about death and grief.

Life as a Casketeer reveals how Francis and Kaiora grew up in families that had few possessions but were rich with love and tikanga, and how they came to work in their often misunderstood profession. It’s also a book about the Maori world view and traditional funeral customs. The Tipenes make death feel less mysterious and life feel more precious.

But most of all, Life as a Casketeer is a love story – for whanau, for culture and for each other. It is full of joy and sorrow, tears and laughter.

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

If you’ve watched The Witcher on Netflix you will definitely want to get in to this book! The Last Wish is a great place to start The Witcher series and get immersed in this unique fantasy world.

Synopsis: INTRODUCING THE WITCHER – NOW A MAJOR NETFLIX SHOW

Introducing Geralt the Witcher – revered and hated – who holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in the bestselling series that inspired the Witcher video games and a major Netflix show.

Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers and lifelong training have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin.Yet he is no ordinary killer: he hunts the vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.But not everything monstrous-looking is evil; not everything fair is good . . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.Andrzej Sapkowski, winner of the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement award, started an international phenomenon with his Witcher series. The Last Wish is the perfect introduction to this one-of-a-kind fantasy world.

Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield

This sounds like a great read! Loosely based on the personality of Henry VIII but reincarnated as a 21st-century media mogul onto his 6th wife…

Synopsis: Divorced, murdered, died, divorced, suicide, survived…Wealthy, devilishly handsome businessman Harry Rose is head of Rose Corporation, No. 18 on the Forbes rich list, and recently married to wife number six. But now, with business in the spotlight and his love life under scrutiny, Harry’s perfect world has the potential to come crashing to the ground.From eighties young gun to noughties ginger billionaire, there’s a reason why Harry’s many wives have found him impossible to resist. But behind the money, sex and glamour lies a truer tale of infidelity, conspiracy and lies – and Harry’s ex-wives want him to pay…

Loosely based on the trials and tribulations of the most infamous historical playboy of them all, this tale of glamour and serial monogamy will leave you deliciously entertained.’

And something for the kids

Respect: Consent, boundaries and being in charge of your

Have you seen the amazing ‘Tea Consent’ video? It is the most incredible explanation of what consent is – simple and powerful. The co-creator of that video has now released a book suitable for children on the same topic.

Synopsis: From the co-creator of the viral ‘Tea Consent’ video, this is the perfect introduction to consent for kids and families everywhere.

Your body belongs to you and you get to set your own rules, so that you may have boundaries for different people and sometimes they might change. Like when you hi-five your friends and kiss your kitten, but not the other way round!

But consent doesn’t need to be confusing. From setting boundaries, to reflecting on your own behaviour and learning how to be an awesome bystander, this book will have you feeling confident, respected, and 100% in charge of yourself and your body.

Brought to life with funny and informative illustrations, this is the smart, playful and empowering book on consent that everyone has been waiting for.

Taking the Lead by David Hill

Many children find the big wide world a bit overwhelming and the future uncertain so reading about a New Zealander who dared to be someone prepared to make a change can be both inspiring and comforting.

Synopsis: From the co-creator of the viral ‘Tea Consent’ video, this is the perfect introduction to consent for kids and families everywhere.

Your body belongs to you and you get to set your own rules, so that you may have boundaries for different people and sometimes they might change. Like when you hi-five your friends and kiss your kitten, but not the other way round!

But consent doesn’t need to be confusing. From setting boundaries, to reflecting on your own behaviour and learning how to be an awesome bystander, this book will have you feeling confident, respected, and 100% in charge of yourself and your body.

Brought to life with funny and informative illustrations, this is the smart, playful and empowering book on consent that everyone has been waiting for.

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet

I always love finding a great series for kids to get stuck into so I am excited to see find this book, the first in a planned series (book 2 is our and book 3 due soon).

Synopsis: Welcome, readers, to the imaginative brain of Omar! You might not know me yet, but once you open the pages of this book you’ll laugh so hard that snot will come out of your nose (plus you might meet a dragon and a zombie – what more could you want?).

My parents decided it would be a good idea to move house AND move me to a new school at the same time. As if I didn’t have a hard enough time staying out of trouble at home, now I’ve also got to try and make new friends. What’s worse, the class bully seems to think I’m the perfect target. At least Eid’s around the corner which means a feast (YAY) and presents (DOUBLE YAY). Well, as long as I can stay in Mum and Dad’s good books long enough…

The combination of Zanib Mian’s hilarious text and Nasaya Mafaridik’s fantastic cartoon-style illustrations make the PLANET OMAR series perfect for fans of TOM GATES and WIMPY KID.

The Big Row Your Boat Adventure

Books that have fantastic illustrations, great rhythm and of course a good premise are bound to become a family favourite and this lovely book is no exception.

Synopsis: A modern take on the classic rhyme Row, Row, Row Your Boat with three brave adventurers setting off on an epic journey.

From the tallest penguin to the world’s deadliest octopus, you might encounter a friendly narwhal or even a nest of sea snakes. But don’t forget to look out for the crocodiles!

With vibrant illustrations by Scott Pearson, The Big Row Your Boat Adventure is a fun read-along picture book, which teaches children about geography and the many wild and wonderful animals that inhabit our world.

READER REVIEWS:

‘Two very happy kids, they love it. I’ve read it ten million times already! – Mum of Nina (age 5) and Collette (age 2)

‘Bright and colourful, we love looking at the pictures especially the girl getting splashed. There is a lot of ‘oh no all wet” – Aunty of Louis (age 2)

‘After hours of reading, we’re still discovering new things and asking about the animals’ – Mum of Leo (age 6) and Rose (age 3)

author robynWritten by Robyn Taylor

Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments. 

Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”

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