Here are 10 preschool books in te reo Māori, as recommended by The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie, Wellington.
Reo Pēpi series – especially Kanohi by Kitty Brown and Kirsten Parkinson
A great sturdy bilingual board book series. People really like the faces one as babies this age like looking at and copying faces.
Te Whare and Ko Kiwi mā By Ngaere Roberts and Christine Dale
New titles from new publisher One Tree House. I would love to see these in board book.
Kei te Pehea Koe? How Do You Feel? by Tracy Duncan
A simple bilingual book with different adjectives for how you might be feeling.
Te Reo Singalong series by Sharon Holt and Deborah Hinde
A really popular series – especially with preschools. New ones come out every year.
Ko Wai e Huna Ana? by Satoru Onishi
A really fun book from Gecko Press with sentences that are simple enough for beginners. Gecko Press should translate more of their books!
Kei Hea te Hipi Kākāriki? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek
A classic from Mem Fox that makes for a very expressive read-a-loud.
Te Pāmu o Koro Meketānara by Donovan Bixley
Great and funny pictures from Donovan Bixley and a well-known rhythm that helps with pronunciation. Rhythm and rhyme don’t always carry over in translations but this one works!
I Te Tīmitanga by Peter Gossage
The only Peter Gossage in te reo Māori so it’s a must-have, really.
Kaua e Tuku mā te Kukupa te Pahi e Taraiwa! by Mo Willems
Mo Willem’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! in te reo Māori. Just as recognisable a toddler character as he is in English. Crazy and awesome.
Te Aihe i Waiata by Mere Whaanga
The only book I know of that was written in te reo Māori first and then English. Very important as often translations lose the poetry and magic of the language. Probably for older kids but I had to put it on the list.