The Shop Floor: Schrödinger’s Books

We are pleased to present a regular series highlighting the work, expertise and enthusiasm of some of the greatest children’s booksellers of New Zealand. Here’s Schrödinger’s Books, a vibrant new addition to the Wellington region’s book scene.

Schrödinger’s Books was born out of a conversation between Mary and Nicki (co-owners) outside the Lighthouse cinema in Petone in 2018. At the time it was a throwaway comment, one of those thoughts that might come true in a parallel universe. But within weeks, the idea had snowballed into reality and we opened in August 2019. We have worked hard to curate our sections focusing strongly on STEMM (science, technology, engineering, maths, and medicine) themed non-fiction to set us apart from other bookshops while maintaining a rigorous selection of fiction, and beautiful children’s books.

The name was inspired by the dilemma of quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger: his famous thought experiment involving a cat in a box with a vial of poison being neither alive nor dead until someone opens the lid to observe it. The same is true for books. You never know whether you’ll like a book or not until you open it.

The Schrödinger’s Books latest kids book recommendations:

The Bomb by Sacha Cotter and Josh Morgan. This fab picture book by some pretty ace Wellington authors came out last year but we’re still loving it and recommending it as our go-to children’s (and adults) book!

Te Tiriti O Waitangi by Toby Morris et al. Every primary, intermediate and high school should have this in their library.

Wildlife of Aotearoa by Gavin Bishop. The 2018 NZCYA Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award winner is back with another gorgeously illustrated insight into New Zealand life. Like in Aotearoa, Gavin Bishop interweaves te reo Māori and English language to highlight the importance of preserving our native wildlife.

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg. Her message has never been more relevant.

The Fate of Fausto by Oliver Jeffers. A clever and witty way of introducing the enormity of climate change. The subtlety is sustained until the last page. Then our jaws dropped open!

You can’t go past Gecko Press. They have mastered the art of picture books for kids that are enjoyed just as much by adults. We’re currently loving The House of Madame M (by Clotilde Perrin of Inside the Villains), Hoihoi Turituri (The Noisy Book in te reo Māori), I Am So Clever, and Jump.

From left to right – Claudia, Will, Mary and Ruby with their favourite children’s books of the moment.

In late November every year we’re treated to an early Christmas present from Mr David Walliams in the form of his latest book. Last year he took us back to Victorian times with The Ice Monster. This year he’s going in the other direction with his sci-fi fantasy The Beast of Buckingham Palace. If anyone can pull off this crazy combination of science fiction and fantasy, surely, it’s David Walliams.

Then there’s the new Crayons book. In December we’re expecting the latest in crayon antics from creators of The Day the Crayons Quit series, Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. The perfect Valentine’s Day gift, Love from the Crayons explores the vibrant hues and delicate colours of love.

Interior of Schrödinger’s Books.

Recommending children’s books to the parents of reluctant readers has got to be one of the more satisfying experiences as a bookseller. We often have parents or grandparents come into the shop, hesitant to buy a book for kids who really don’t like reading! It’s immensely satisfying to introduce them to authors like David Walliams, Jeff Kinney, Liz Pichon who write hilarious stories for non-confident young readers. It’s especially rewarding when they come back and ask for more recommendations.

We wish that publishers would put out more te reo Māori chapter books. Recently there’s been a surge in Māori language picture books for kids and in general interest in learning te reo – we think influenced greatly by Scotty’s Morrison’s Māori Made Easy series. Witty phrase books such as Teach Your Dog Māori and A Māori Word A Day are also making it much easier to integrate Māori into our everyday language. However, we wish there were chapter books in te reo Māori for kids to extend them beyond simple picture books. Te Rātaka a Tama Hungoingoi (The Diary of a Wimpy Kid) was released this year, but it would be great if there were more!

Schrödinger’s Books is not just a bookshop. We’re a book hub, and book community; on National Bookshop Day, local children’s book author and illustrator Gillian Candler (In the Bush, In the Garden) joined us for a craft workshop and book signing event.

We aim to continue to hold book events this year and into the next to foster a book loving community in Petone. Just this past Saturday the 30th of November, we hosted Gareth Ward, co-owner of Wardini Books in Havelock North and children’s book author (The Traitor and the Thief, The Clockill and the Thief) for a book signing and magic show.

Activity time at a Schrödinger’s Books event.

Heading into Christmas we’re happy to recommend presents – from reluctant readers to book demolishers, and if there’s a particular book we don’t have in stock, we can order it in for you.

We’re still a new bookshop but we’d love for you to walk through our doors and exclaim at the beautiful smell of books and discover exciting new titles amongst our carefully crafted selection. And don’t forget to search for our very own Schrödinger’s Cat in Schrödinger’s Books!

Schrödinger’s Books

137 Jackson Street

Petone 5012

Tel: 04 260 3777

Mary Fawcett
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