Sunshine Books

Sunshine Books is an educational literacy publisher specialising in literacy learning and English language learning delivered in print, on websites and apps. Sunshine Books has provided the literacy resources needed to teach emergent through to fluent readers for over 35 years. Three hundred million copies of Sunshine books have sold around the world. The Sunshine team continue to commission new titles and quality non-fiction as well as providing the added value of online learning and activities. A key factor is the range of authors and illustrators that are associated with Sunshine Books — many of them from New Zealand and Australia.


“Sunshine is not just nice little stories… They are educationally sound and they have been well constructed and graded”

Joy Cowley, internationally renowned author

Sunshine Online ELT

650 ebooks and 2000 activities

With 650 ebooks and 2000 activities, Sunshine Online ELT offers relevant online resources for English Language Learners, in both classroom settings and at home. There are also 82 interactive ebooks for students to learn the letter-sound relationships in English. Games and activities that use the sounds and words of English entertain, and the songs provide a way for students to practise the rhythms of English. This programme provides supplementary material for learners to practise their listening, reading and speaking in English. The ebooks are narrated to support the reader with an excellent model of native English speaking. The recording function has students reading the text and listening to themselves reading, improving their fluency. Through the use of technology, Sunshine Online ELT encourages and allows English Language Learners to be motivated and engaged. Students can work at their own pace and level, helping them to develop confidence in the English language.

Sunshine Starters

216 titles at levels 1-18 with teaching notes

Sunshine Starters is a print programme designed to engage beginning readers with quality content and provide them with the structure and support they need to become successful readers. The programme is underpinned by sound pedagogy and evidence-based findings on the teaching of early literacy. Extensive research has identified the “five pillars of reading” as essential skills readers need to learn to read and the components that are required of a quality literacy programme. The Sunshine Starters series integrates these five pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.

Te Reo Māori series and Samoan language series

16 titles in te reo Māori and 30 in Samoan language

Sunshine Books acknowledge the role of te reo Māori and Samoan in our daily lives, and 16 Sunshine favourites have been translated into te reo Māori for beginner readers. Ten titles each at Emergent, Early and Fluent have been translated into Samoan. These span fiction and non-fiction, and the full colour illustrations and photographs make them a valuable take-home resource to share with families.

This is a series of 180 readers that are designed to help young learners recognise and manipulate the sounds of English through 11 sets of fiction and non-fiction texts. Through phonemic awareness, the letters and combination of letters that make up English words can be decoded. The limited vocabulary in these short stories help to increase fluency. Students can practise their decoding skills and get help with words that they can’t sound out. Reading makes greater sense when delivered with some fluency. The stories at the early sets are based around a family, their pets and friends. In the later sets, there are non-fiction books and stories with colourful and engaging characters. There are currently 100 titles in print, with 80 to be published in 2022.

This series of 36 full-colour illustrated paperbacks is designed to engage and support English Language Learners with age-appropriate, high-interest books. The series acknowledges how important it is to have students feeling good about themselves and to encourage active and reflective learning. The stories involve the adventures of a group of children, with a focus on good behaviour. The short chapters maintain interest and there are text features and graphic elements such as maps, raps and glossaries of focus words in the books. Resources to add value are teaching notes with reading strategies, a comprehension focus and worksheets to direct and support the learning through integrated skills. The Adventures of Team Turbo e-books have audio narration so students can improve their fluency skills (pacing, pronunciation, intonation) and vocabulary development and expansion. They can actively participate in the essential areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Take-Home Packs

Four packs

Four packs, totalling 220 printed books, levels 1–30. Take-home packs provide a variety of fiction and non-fiction books for children to take home and practise their reading and expand their reading mileage.

Sunshine Online

Over 850 ebooks (Levels 1-30+)

Sunshine Online offers teachers over 850 fiction and non-fiction ebooks (Levels 1-30+) and thousands of interactive activities. The programme is based on a real literacy and maths programme – delivered digitally! The ebook is the first focus, followed by activities that explore a range of skills from the text. The programme is supported by phonics ebooks and activities, games, songs, raps and rhymes. The ebooks are narrated and levelled so that teachers can choose where to start children who are then motivated to progress through the levels. The vast number of ebooks provides plenty of opportunities for learning new vocabulary and grammatical structures. Comprehension quizzes for the ebooks test children’s understanding of what they have read.

Sunshine Math Online

91 ebooks, 35 games, 200 activities

Though 91 maths ebooks are featured in Sunshine Online, the maths components have a stand-alone website for North America with USA English voiceover.

Author details

Joy Cowley

Joy is a widely published and celebrated writer of books for children. Joy has always believed that children need to see themselves in the literature of their own culture. Her stories are delightful and engaging, often with an unexpected twist. In 2005, Joy was appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Her prolific output also includes novels for adults, short stories and anthologies.

Margaret Mahy

Margaret Mahy was New Zealand’s most celebrated children’s writer. As the author of more than 120 titles – which have since been translated into 15 different languages – Mahy’s readership is vast. Awarded the Order of New Zealand in 1993, she also won many global prizes including the Carnegie Medal and the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Samantha Montgomerie

Samantha Montgomerie is a teacher and a writer of imaginative stories for young readers as well as structured literacy texts. She fills her writing with imaginings of all the wonderful things that could happen, relishing the sounds of words. Children want to read books — they just want to keep reading to the end.

Susan Frame

Susan Frame is a prolific author for Sunshine. She has written over 100 stories for Sunshine Books and is a wonderful collaborator whose stories are modern and quirky. She has written phonics books, maths books, fiction and non-fiction books for emergent and early readers. She is always delighted in the knowledge that in some small way, she is contributing to the future literacy pleasure of young children.

Illustrator details

Philip Webb

Philip Webb is an illustrator and animator. Joy Cowley introduced him to Sunshine Books and he has remained a valued collaborator for 30 years. He lives in Wellington, enjoying illustrating children’s books.

Jenny Cooper

Jenny Cooper is another long-time illustrator of Sunshine Books. She draws fun and crazy characters including Frank, the Flea Cat. Jenny started illustrating books for Sunshine when she was still at design school.

Existing international relationships

There are many places where Sunshine Books can be found in the world. In China, Sunshine Books has links with a major digital company that markets Sunshine stories. They also help to train teachers in China through their partnership with the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. In South Africa, there is an African Sunshine list in Zulu and English. Partners in Cambodia are working hard to foster literacy skills using Sunshine books in Khmer translation. On the Pacific island of Vanuatu, Sunshine Books are available in French and English. Kindergartens in Singapore use Sunshine titles under the Reading Bee brand. Schools in Egypt and Turkey use the Sunshine Online ELT digital platform. In New Zealand and Australia, thousands of children use the Sunshine websites to learn to read. Sunshine Books also has a partnership with the SPCA — a list of 24 books to help children gain empathy for all living creatures. Some Sunshine books have been published in Australia for the RSPCA.



Dame Wendy Pye
Publisher, Wendy Pye Publishing Ltd