I’ve put this blog post together to highlight some great Treaty of Waitangi Books for Kids. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Treaty of Waitangi Treaty Ideas, I am actually surprised by the lack of books for children around such an important issue in New Zealand’s past, present and future.
However, with a bit of hunting, I have five fantastic Treaty of Waitangi Books for Kids to highlight to you today. I have added links for where you can purchase these books, or you should be able to find them in your school or public library.
1. The Treaty House by Leanne Orams
I loved exploring the Treaty House when we were in Northland earlier this year – and what a view! In this story, Olley visits the Treaty House on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and learns not just about the famous home, but also the important events that happened in and around it. This appears to be out of print, but I was able to find it at our public library so it is worth looking for.
2. William’s Waitangi Day by David Ling
In our increasingly multicultural classrooms, it is great to have a Treaty of Waitangi picture book that looks at this day from a Chinese perspective. In this story for early readers, a Chinese boy named William is confused when he hears about Waitangi Day at school. Throughout the story, his friends teach him about Te Tiriti O Waitangi and the story ends with William and his family experiencing a hangi. The book was also published during Chinese Language Week in both Mandarin and English.
Here’s what the author says about this wonderful book:
I wrote this book to provide an enjoyable story that opened up the opportunity for conversations between young children and their parents or teachers about the significance and meaning of Waitangi Day.
3. The House that Jack Built by Gavin Bishop
The House that Jack Built is a wonderful adaption of the popular nursery rhyme, “This is the house that Jack Built”. With stunningly beautiful illustrations and poetry, this book is a metaphor for what happened when European traders, sealers, whalers, and settlers arrived in Aotearoa, New Zealand. I would recommend this book for Year 4 students and above and I think it could be a great entry point to discussions about Te Tiriti o Waitangi – the Treaty of Waitangi.
You can purchase this book here or find it at your local library.
4. Te Wairua o Waitangi by Sharon Holt
One of her Te Reo Singalong books, Te Wairua o Waitangi (the Spirit of Waitangi) is a wonderful book (and cd) by Sharon Holt. This book features fantastic photos, te reo Māori and an English translation, a CD that turns the story into a song, and even activity ideas. This would be great for a new entrant-year one classroom or an early childhood centre.
5. The Tree Hut Treaty by Wiremu Grace
This book is a great entry point into a discussion about the Treaty of Waitangi and setting up a classroom treaty.
The Tree Hut Treaty tells a story of four kids who create treaty to make rules around the use of their tree hut. The story is told in both English and Te Reo, making the messages even more accessible.
This book is out of print (not sure why because it is super popular!) but you can request a copy from Down the Back of the Chair. It is also widely available in public libraries around Aotearoa.
I’ve put together a set of follow-up activities for use with this book.
We have created some great FREE activity sheets to help you use this wonderful book in your classroom. Sign up for our free resource library and you can download this resource.
6. Te Tiriti o Waitangi
This incredible graphic novel is illustrated by Toby Morris and written by Ross Calman and Mark Derby. The te reo translation is by Piripi Walker. The first version of this book as delivered to New Zealand Year 7 and 8 classrooms in August 2018. The book covers a wide time span, from the arrival of Polynesian explorers through to the modern-day Treaty settlement process. You can find this digital novel in PDF form by clicking here. You can also read more about this version here.
But hold your horses! It gets even better. In June 2019, a new edition of this book was published with a whole bunch of added extras. It includes
- QR codes
- A link to both versions of the treaty translated into thirty other languages and New Zealand Sign Language
This resource is made with a Year Six reading age, so it is more suitable for upper primary. However, you could break this book into smaller chunks and use it as a shared reading resource with lower-level classes. This graphic novel is also great for teachers to get a clear understanding of the history of the Treaty of Waitangi and how it impacts us today.
Our Treaty of Waitangi Resources
We have a great range of social studies and literacy resources that will engage your students and save you time. You can find our full range of Treaty of Waitangi resources here.
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Onwards and upwards,