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Matthew Cunningham
Photo Credit: © Helen Cunningham

Matthew Cunningham

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Matthew Cunningham wrote his first masterpiece in kindergarten. Unfortunately, as he had yet to grasp the concept of writing in straight lines from left to right, ‘The Clock’ (as it was so cleverly titled) read more like a bowl of alphabet soup than a book. Since then, he’s turned his hand to a number of different styles of writing. A passionate and dedicated historian with a Doctor of Philosophy, he has published oral histories, peer-reviewed articles, journalistic and encyclopedic pieces, and Waitangi Tribunal research commissions.Matthew's desire to communicate, explore and test complex ideas in a way that engages the reader, no matter what their age, has naturally brought him to the best and most challenging genre of all: children's fiction. Abigail and the Birth of the Sun (illustrated by Sarah Wilkins), his first published picture book, won the Best Picture Book Award at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2020.

Born in Australia, he now lives in Porirua, New Zealand with his wife and daughter Abigail, who, like her namesake, also likes to ask big questions.

Books by Matthew Cunningham

Abigail and the Restless Raindrop

Come with Abigail and her mother on a magical adventure, soaring up into the clouds to discover where the raindrops come from.

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Abigail and the Birth of the Sun

A bright and beautiful exploration of a supernova and the birth of our solar system for young children, all wrapped up in an award-winning bedtime story

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Awards & recognition

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Winner  •  2020  •  Best Picture Book Award for Abigail and the Birth of the Sun

Related features

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Where does the rain come from?

We delve into the science behind Abigail and the Restless Raindrop with this fact sheet about the rain cycle. 

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Abigail and the Restless Raindrop colouring page

Colouring in = an eternally reliable rainy day activity. Download our adorable Abigail and the Restless Raindrop coloring sheet for a few minutes of peace today!