Vasanti Unka

Multi award winning writer/illustrator Vasanti Unka was born in a small rural town in New Zealand. When she left school she trained and worked as a graphic designer. While her children were babies she began illustrating children’s books. Then she tried writing and could not believe it when her first attempt won the New Zealand Children’s Book awards! She hasn’t stopped writing and illustrating books for children since.

In 2021 Vasanti was made an Arts Foundation Laurette for her Illustrations. Creating books and taking workshops with kids is what makes her happy.


  • I Am the Universe (Penguin Random House NZ, 2020)
  • Who Stole the Rainbow? (Penguin Random House NZ, 2018)
  • With A Suitcase Of Saris: From India To Aotearoa: Stories Of Pioneer Indian Women (compiled by Vasanti Unka) (My Sunroom, 2016)
  • Stripes! No, Spots! (Penguin, 2015)
  • The Boring Book (Penguin, 2013)


  • Awarded Arts Foundation Laureate Award 2021
  • The Arts Foundation Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award
  • Winner Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children's Book for I am the Universe 2021
  • PANZ Book Design Awards
  • Awarded IBBY Honour Award for Illustration 2016
  • IBBY Honour Award
  • Winner for The Boring Book 2014
  • Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram Skip to content