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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.

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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

Creating a rhyming translation of Where is the Dragon?

Translating rhyming texts is pretty hard, particularly when the text is so short and condensed. Of all the editions, James Brown’s versions deviate the most from the original text, but in a good way. They always surprise me, and I love it. He manages to capture the spirit of the text, while bringing his own imagination and poetry to it

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Book talk

Day in the life of Leo Timmers

Leo Timmers shares an insight into the work that went into making his latest book, Where Is The Dragon? From the first dummy and designing the characters to the execution of the final art and cover.

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Book talk, Q&As

Where Is the Dragon?: Q&A with Leo Timmers

The story emerged from these drawings. After struggling for months, I suddenly had the whole story finished in an hour. Pure magic, and very thrilling. You just never know which new idea is around the corner.

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Book talk

New year, new list: preparing the 2022 publishing list

Though many are focused in the new year on the year ahead, at Gecko Press we find ourselves looking further ahead to plan the books we want to publish in 2022.

Read on for the hows and whys of our book choosing process and reflections on publishing post-2020.

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Book talk

“A school library is not a luxury, it is a necessity”

The taonga of a school library is hard to get back— it is not a piece of paper to be slid into a file. It is a precious space that needs our protection, our care, our aroha and our strength to protect it or maybe it will be filed away forever, lost.

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Book talk

Rain like a thunderstorm — the My Happy Life series wraps up

The My Happy Life chapter book series is one of the most acclaimed and loved we’ve published at Gecko Press. The books have attached themselves firmly to many of us working with them over the years, so as booksellers, publishers and designers, we asked ourselves what we’ve enjoyed most about My Happy Life.

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Book talk

Egg & Spoon: Author Alexandra Tylee interviews Illustrator Giselle Clarkson

I had a note by my computer screen with the colours from the brief: red, pink, summer orange, gold, paperbag brown, no black. The colours make a feeling and you take that feeling and turn it into a picture.

And they’re delicious colours. They make food look good. 

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Book talk

Egg & Spoon: Illustrator Giselle Clarkson interviews Author Alexandra Tylee

In the introduction for the book, you’ve written that if Pipi was a cake, she would be this glorious towering sponge cake. If you were a cake, what would you be? 

If I was a cake, I love the idea of a tall wobbly sponge and defying all odds.

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Timeline Science and Technology: Q&A with Peter Goes

I wanted to make an up-to-date version of a timeline because at school, timelines helped me a great deal to understand history. Those simple lines with dates and pictures gave me a better overview and understanding of history than text. It is a way to create order in a sometimes-chaotic string of events. It helps you see similarities, influences and coincidences.

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Book talk

Day in the life of Anete Melece

Anete Melece is a Latvian author and illustrator. On Wednesday 23rd September she took over the Gecko Press Instagram account to share her journey of becoming a freelance illustrator, how she created The Kiosk, and what she is working on now.

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