Young Kiwi creatives honoured in book design awards shortlist

Cover artist Manea Heeney, age 9
The Jillion
The Jillion by Toitoi is a collection of writing and art by young New Zealanders


A collection of writing and art by young New Zealand creatives has been named as a finalist in the Best Children's Book category in the Publishers Association of New Zealand Book Design Awards.

The Jillion is a collection of incredible work from Issues 1-12 of Toitoi: A Journal for Young Writers and Artists. Written and illustrated by New Zealand’s young writers and artists, ages 5-13, the Jillion is a celebration of their curiosity, courage and creativity.

Manea Heeney from Auckland created the radiant phoenix on the cover of the 300-page hardback book when she was just nine years old.

The Jillion’s editor, Charlotte Gibbs, says she is delighted that a book featuring work from New Zealand’s young writers and artists can hold its own against material by some of the country’s most accomplished adult authors and illustrators. 

“This chimes perfectly with the philosophy of Toitoi,” Charlotte says. “We want to look young people in the eye and say: we see you, we hear you, and your voice matters.”

This is the first time Toitoi Media has entered the PANZ Book Design Awards.

“We are a small niche publisher passionate about children’s creativity. We are thrilled that our book is being recognised alongside work from the very best publishers in New Zealand,” says Charlotte.

Charlotte says the strong and authentic writing and art throughout the Jillion shows that young New Zealanders’ imaginations are boundless.

The book was designed by Grace McFarlane and Cait Kneller of Toitoi and Kelvin Soh and Sam Wieck of DDMMYY.

Toitoi is a quarterly journal of writing and art by New Zealand children, ages 5-13. It publishes material with an original and authentic voice that other young people can connect to and that reflects the cultures and experiences of life in New Zealand. Over 1200 young New Zealanders have had their work published in Toitoi so far.

Further information: 

The Jillion has been shortlisted for the Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children's Book.
More information is available at

The Jillion is available in bookstores throughout New Zealand and can be ordered at 

It is also available through:

All Books New Zealand


Mighty Ape

Wheelers Books

Teacher Support Materials are available for the Jillion as a free digital download at, offering ideas for use in the classroom.

Contact details: 
Charlotte Gibbs | | 021 765 203

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12 Jun 2019