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Friends of Gecko Press

At Gecko Press, we believe that one good book can spark a lifetime love of reading.

We have built a digital and real-life community where people can share knowledge about great books for children (not just our books) and find creative ways to encourage children to love to read.

Friends of Gecko Press takes books to places they are not normally found and works with anyone who wants to encourage a child to love to read. This community brings together the entire book ecosystem – libraries, booksellers, schools, families, children.

If you want our help to organize an event, create a book club, or if you have ideas to promote children’s books and reading, please become a Friend of Gecko Press and share them with us.

Do you want to receive our monthly newsletter, events invitations and special offers?

Welcome to the Book Club

Gecko Press Blog:
Time to be brave: publishing in a pandemic


Julia Marshall started Gecko Press in 2005 when she discovered that Ulf Stark’s classic Can You Whistle, Johanna? had been translated into 20 languages but not English…and that was the start of being brave for Gecko Press.

15 years on and in the middle of a pandemic, Julia reflects on publishing children’s books.

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Click on the image to download the activity sheet.

Activity of the month
Book list: Stories that teach kindness

Book List of the month: Stories that teach kindness

This month’s book list is from Bridget Schaumann, Chair of the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival Trust.

As Bridget says on the books in her list, “[these books] melted my cynical old heart, I guarantee you’ll feel that too with these treasures.”

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To receive a reading journal, send us an email at [email protected] with ‘Gecko Press Reading Journal’ subject line and your home address. Currently available to New Zealand club members only. Produced with support from the Wright Family Foundation.

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Book Talk

New The House that Jack Built teacher notes

Free comprehensive teacher notes for Years 1 to 10 available for download.

These teacher notes are based on the new Aotearoa New Zealand Histories curriculum being implemented in 2023 and written by Defyd Williams, who was part of the Ministry of Education reference group for the curriculum.

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Two Gecko Press family events 5–6 November

Come along to this year’s Verb Readers & Writers Festival in Wellington and enjoy two Gecko Press family events on 5–6 November.

Listen to author Juliette MacIver read her book The Grizzled Grist Does Not Exist, and create a glorious mess inspired by Free Kid to Good Home, read in both English and Japanese.

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Book Talk

Two Gecko Press books selected for White Ravens Award 2022

This year, the White Ravens contain a selection of 200 notable children’s and young adult books from 53 countries published in 37 languages. Bumblebee Grumblebee and Duck’s Backyard have both been selected.

Talking about Bumblebee Grumblebee, the judge said “Board books for the very young can sometimes feel a bit dull to adults. But not when David Elliot puts his hand to creating one.”

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Book Lists

The books that raised me: Bookshop Day 2022 edition

This Bookshop Day, we’re celebrating booksellers around Aotearoa by asking some to share a book that was special to them growing up, a book that raised them. How do you pick just one when you’re surrounded by a treasure trove!

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Book Lists

Book list: Books featuring disabled characters

We asked Giana Torrez, El Paso Library, Texas, for a list of books she likes to recommend that feature characters with disabilities—a broad topic, of course, as shown by her list that includes main characters with autism, dyslexia and physical disabilities.

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Tickle My Ears series: Q&A with Jörg Mühle

An interview with Jörg Mühle where he discusses how he created the Tickle My Ears series, including his illustration technique and trialing version of the story with his daughter. “It was amazing. My book was working! Well, in a way. It didn’t make her go to sleep. But she really loved it.”

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Duck’s Backyard: Q&A with Ulrich Hub

Ulrich Hub trained as an actor and now lives in Berlin, Germany. He works as a director for stage and writes plays, screenplays and children’s books, which have won numerous awards.     What inspired the story of the blind chicken and the duck with a limp? When we use these phrases in German we… Read more »

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Book Lists

Book list: Feelings and Emotions

Feelings can be tough to talk about for children—even for grown ups, I always find myself recommending children’s books as a way to navigate through those complicated, scary, and overwhelming feelings. These are all picture books, and they are all great conversation starters for any age.

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Book Lists, Book Talk

On orphans in children’s books

What is it about orphans in books? They are tragic, with backgrounds mysterious, bruised, like Jane Eyre. They are vulnerable and burdened, like Oliver; or have learned to be trickier than the trickiest, like the Artful Dodger. They are steely, sad, often hungry with large eyes. They’re tragically young and terrifically youthful. They are tantalisingly free.

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The Ape Star: Q&A with Frida Nilsson

The story of Jonna and Gorilla is about growing up with a parent who is not the norm. How one so often wishes that one’s parent could be more like all the others—and how one realizes, as the years pass, the advantages of being the child of someone who is an individual and walks their own path.

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