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Adventure tinged with magic when a boy finds a sealskin in a cave in this exciting junior novel. Winner of Esther Glen Medal 2013.

Adventure tinged with magic when a boy finds a sealskin in a cave in this exciting junior novel. Winner of Esther Glen Medal 2013.

While holidaying at his father's house, Jake explores Wellington's wild south coast, with its high cliffs, biting winds, and its fierce seals. When he stumbles upon a perfectly preserved sealskin, hidden in a crevice at Red Rocks, he's compelled to take it home and hide it under his bed, setting off a chain of events that threatens to destroy his family.

Red Rocks takes the Celtic myth of the selkies, or seal people, and transplants it into the New Zealand landscape, throwing an ordinary boy into an adventure tinged with magic. With its beautiful writing and eerie atmosphere, junior readers will be thrilled and moved by this captivating story.

Shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2013.


A sad, sweet and slightly creepy selkie tale for children. With a southern-hemisphere setting, for a change.

Margo Lanagan

Rachael King… works magic in Red Rocks, her first novel for younger readers… A gentler exploration of the [selkie] myth than Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts, this is equally convincing.

Ann Packer, The Listener

It’s the school holidays; usually, Jake lives with his mum and stepfather in Auckland. With dad, he enjoys relative freedom. He explores the coast and finds the selkie’s hidden skin. A cracking yarn follows. It’s not just a great story, with unexpected twists. It’s also a lovely evocation of that stretch of Wellington coast.

Phillip Matthews, Your Weekend

A must read for readers who love animals, a bit of magic, and stories about family. Rachael King is the author of two adult novels and won the Montana Book Awards for the Best First Novel in 2007. This is her first children’s book and I hope she writes many more!

Adele Broadbent

Red Rocks is a magical adventure story, set in New Zealand, that children and adults alike will love. Rachael King has taken the Celtic myth of the selkies and transplanted it into a New Zealand setting that kiwi kids will relate to… There is a hint of darkness running throughout the story and you get a feeling of foreboding right from the start… One thing that I particularly love about Red Rocks is Rachael King’s beautiful writing. She’s very descriptive so she paints a vivid picture of the wild, windy coast. It’s the sort of book that you want to read snuggled up in bed because you almost feel the biting wind and the freezing ocean. 5 out of 5 stars.

Zac Harding, My Best Friends Are Books

The language is rich, warm and slightly mysterious, like the cover, and the seals themselves are beautifully described as they gambol in the waves and kelp, or dive into the water like a “silky missile”… This is a story of enchantment, but also of a boy finding the inner strength to solve problems, fight bullies, protect his family and conquer his fear.

Phillipa Werry, Beatties Book Blog

An exciting tale… that will keep young readers on their toes.

Bob Docherty, Bob’s Book Blog

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 1, 2012

    RHNZ Children's

    256 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    June 1, 2012

    Random House New Zealand

    256 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia NZ

Awards and Recognition

  • Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Award
    Storylines Notable Junior Fiction
  • NZ Post Children's Book Awards
    Junior Fiction category

Also by Rachael King