Vasanti Unka is a writer, illustrator and designer, as well as a home crafts expert. Her craft books Weird Wabbit & Friends and Starboy & Friends have inspired a new generation of young stitch-craft enthusiasts. Unka was a finalist in the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults for her illustration of Hill & Hole, written by Kyle Mewburn. The Boring Book won the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award and the Best Picture Book category at the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vasanti Unka is a writer, illustrator and designer. She has worked in the book and magazine industry in New Zealand for many years, primarily as an illustrator and graphic designer. Magazines she has illustrated for include Cuisine, Canvas and Little Treasures. More recently, she has illustrated several picture books, and written and illustrated two books of stitch-craft.
As well as working in picture book design, Unka has illustrated a range of picture books: Love to Sing Playtime Songs (Learn to Sing/ Scholastic, 2007), Love to Sing Nursery Rhymes (Learn to Sing/ Scholastic, 2007), Ice Cream Snow (Scholastic, 2001) by Janet Slater Bottin, Beans Story (Scholastic, 2008) by Feana Tu’akoi and Hill & Hole (Penguin NZ, 2010) ,by Kyle Mewburn.
Unka’s book Weird Wabbit & Friends (Penguin NZ, 2010) is a book of designs for felt animals and other felt creations. Starboy & Friends (Penguin NZ, 2010) is a book of patterns for soft toys and puppets made from socks and gloves. These books are a popular addition to a growing library of books that champion contemporary craft.
Unka was nominated for a 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Award for her illustrations in Hill & Hole, written by Kyle Mewburn. Malcolm from Storytime Books says: ‘With beautifully minimalist text and illustrations … which suit the text perfectly, this is another stunning book…’
The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka was published by Penguin NZ in 2013. The Boring Book won the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award and the Best Picture Book category at the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Unka's book Stripes! No, Spots!, was published by Puffin (Penguin Random House) in October 2015. Stripes! No, Spots! was a finalist for the Children's Choice Picture Book Award at the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Vasanti Unka attended the Bookaroo Children's Literature Festival in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, on the 28th and 29th of November 2015, where she gave a presentation on her book, Stripes! No, Spots!, supported by the New Zealand High Commission and the New Zealand Book Council.
Who Stole the Rainbow?, a humorous mystery thriller for children about why rainbows appear and disappear, was published in 2018. It was a finalist for the Best Picture Book category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2019.
Unka's 2020 picture book I Am the Universe, a colourful exploration of the wider world and our place in it,was published by Penguin NZ. It was the winner of the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Children’s Book 2021.
Vasanti Unka lives in Auckland.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
Updated September 2016.