The Sapling is a website all about children’s books … because books grow humans. Founded by Jane Arthur and Sarah Forster, the aim of The Sapling is to find conversations nobody has been able to have in the main media about children’s books and give them a good airing.  

Winner of the 2018 Special Industry Award at the NZ Book Industry Awards, awarded to ‘a company or individual for innovation, or for an important contribution to the book trade in Aotearoa in the last year’. Founding editor Sarah Forster also won the 2021 Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for her contribution to children’s literature.

Kaupapa / Mission


To celebrate the excellence and diversity of children’s books in Aotearoa and abroad.


To present wide-ranging and meaningful discussions about children’s books and their contexts, content and creation.


To connect people and organisations through their shared interest in children’s books, and foster an online sense of community and kinship.


To entice new and unlikely readers of all ages, and challenge them to view children’s books as worthy of attention.

Reviewing Policy

The Sapling strives to fair-mindedly comment on and critique Aotearoa books, publishers, and the industry as a whole. We aim to be honest in the kindest way we can. Except in the case of factual errors, no correspondence relating to reviews or other content will be entered into, and no part of a review or other article will be made available to publishers, authors, illustrators or any other organisation or individual outside The Sapling prior to publication. We will not respond to requests to remove reviews or other content.


The Sapling is run by lead editor Linda Jane Keegan, with support from editors Nida Fiazi, Hannah Marshall, and Faith Tupou, along with founding editor, Sarah Forster. They fit editorial work around their families, day jobs, and other responsibilities so might take a day or two to get back to you.

For more information about submissions and getting books reviewed, see our Contact page.

LINDA JANE KEEGAN has worked with young people for 20 years. She is currently the lead editor of The Sapling; a picture book author, essayist and poet; and a parent. She has been an environmental educator, assistant researcher, and reporter. Her first book, Things in the Sea are Touching Me! (Scholastic), was a finalist in the 2019 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and in the NZ Booklovers Awards, and a 2020 Storylines Notable Book. Her second picture book, Kororā and the Sushi Shop (Scholastic), was shortlisted in the 2023 NZ Booklovers Awards, and her most recent book, Stranded (Bateman Books), was released in October 2023.

cartoon character with long hair smiling

NIDA FIAZI has worked in the New Zealand book industry for the past five years as a poet, editor, reviewer, and advocate for better representation in literature. She is a Hazara Kiwi Muslim and a former refugee based in Kirikiriroa. Her work has appeared in Issue 6 of Mayhem Literary Journal, the anthology Ko Aotearoa Tātou | We Are New Zealand, and Poetry NZ Yearbook 2021. She is currently penning an opera with Tracey Slaughter.

HANNAH MARSHALL is a reader, writer, and advocate for New Zealand books from Pōneke. She has a Bachelor of Arts in media studies and creative writing and is about to begin an MA in Creative Writing (Fiction) at Victoria University’s International Institute for Modern Letters. She’s also been an NZSA Youth Mentorship Award recipient, the winner of the Maurice Gee Prize in Children’s Writing, and most recently been an NZSA CompleteMS Manuscript Assessment recipient. She also has poetry hiding in various places, but you didn’t hear that from her. 

Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Waitaha-a-Hei, ko Ngāti Raukawa, Ko Ngāti Hauā, ko Ngāti Tuwharetoa ōku iwi
Ko Bruce Stewart Hirini rāua ko Orapai Hamiora ōku mātua

Nō reira, he mihi tēnei ki a koutou katoa

Born and bred in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wainuiomata is home to me and some of my six tamariki. Tapu-te-Ranga Marae in Island Bay is the resting place of my pāpā and tane, and where many of my whānau reside. Attending Playcentre with my tamariki led to mahi sharing my passion for te ao Māori and learning. Reading has been a life-long past-time where I could get lost in the adventures of the Famous Five and biblical stories from Sunday School. I have a treasure trove of pukapuka old and new, some of my favourites are historical books of Aotearoa, Māori art, Matauranga Māori, and pukapuka for tamariki.

SARAH FORSTER worked in the New Zealand book industry for 15 years, in roles promoting Aotearoa’s best authors and books. She has a Diploma in Publishing from Whitireia Polytechnic, and a BA (Hons) in History and Philosophy from the University of Otago. She was born in Winton, grew up in Westport, and lives in Wellington. She was a judge of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2017, and won the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for her dedication to New Zealand children’s literature. She currently works fulltime for Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

This page was last updated on 11 March 2024.


Kids’ book expert supports Lynley Dodd: Sarah Forster on the AM show

Long Live The Sapling: a tribute on The Spinoff

Growing The Sapling: an interview on The Pantograph Punch 

Wellington booklovers raise 10k…: an article on Stuff.co.nz

#5 in the Top Ten Moments in Aotearoa Literature 2017: an article on The Pantograph Punch