We want to help create motivated and engaged young readers. This blog is about children's and YA literature (especially New Zealand), literacy research, and ways to get, and keep, kids reading.
The title of this picture book sums the message of the story up. This story is told through the eyes of a young boy, Tyson and begins with his reluctance to attend the Anzac Dawn Parade because for him it is all about celebrating war. But after talking with his whānau he realises he doesn’t have the full story and begins to see another side of the story about the importance of this day. Come dawn the next morning, he attends the Parade with his mum and Koro and stood in remembrance of those who died.
Elspeth Alix Batt’s pen and wash illustrations work well for the time periods of the story with every page linked to ANZAC poppies by using their colour. The red against a sombre grey background at the dawn ceremony emphasises the solemn occasion.
This book is also available in English. The te reo Māori version was shortlisted in SLANZA Te Kura Pounamu awards 2012. The late Katerina Mataira won the Te Rōpū Whakahau award Te Tohu Pounamu 2012 for her translation of this book.
review by Alice
Image by striatic
This treasure of a legend that previously was only known to a few, has been bought to life by Moira Wairama in her book Ngā Taniwha i te Whanga-nui-a-Tara.
This picture book retells the legend of Whataitai and Ngake, two taniwha whose bid for freedom from their lake shaped the current landscape of Wellington harbour.
Open the book and Bruce Potter’s vivid, imaginative illustrations quickly pull yopu in. The use of different size text and the way the words dance across the page and interact with the illustrations create a riveting read in te reo Māori. The landscape format fits the story well, allowing panoramic and large as life views on the double spread pages. This legend will appeal to a wide age group from primary aged students to adults.
This book was awarded the SLANZA Kura Pounamu book award 2012 and the Te Rōpū Whakahau - Te Tohu Taurapa for the best picture book in te reo Māori.
This book is also available in English under the title The taniwha of Wellington Harbour.
review by Alice
Image used with permission
This is the third edition of the Essential Māori Dictionary. Before first going into publication in 1999 teachers were one of the groups alongside the Auckland Educational Advisory Service who had the opportunity to comment on its format.
I suggest that this may be one of the reasons for its usefulness within a class room setting. It is a compact and durable size while the font is clear and the information comprehensive and useful for the early study of Te Reo. The words are presented Māori-English, English-Māori with the corresponding alphabet produced at the top of each page. The most common variants of dialect are given. The final section of the dictionary includes the following themed words: Days of the week; Months of the Year; Numbers; Cities of New Zealand; Colours; Emotions; Actions; Parts of the Body; In the Classroom and On the Marae.
This is a thoughtfully, designed and practical publication for the basic and intermediate level learner of Te Reo
review by Barbara
If you wish to make a piupiu with the confident knowledge that the outcome will be successful look no further than this book. It has been compiled by an expert in the field. Leilani Rickard became one of the first permanent guides at Whakarewarewa in the early 1970’s when part of her job was to weave tāniko headbands, bodices and other garments for summer and winter wear.
Using her years of practical knowledge she has gone to great lengths to write and photograph each stage of the piupiu making process. The language in the book is easy to follow and the images compliment the written detail remarkably well. It is divided into six chapters: Materials, Methods, Patterns, Finishing, Storage / Care and Gallery. No aspect of the process has been neglected. Although the book’s primary role is describing how to make a piupiu it provides useful information about working with flax including details of the dying process.
The Gallery focuses on images of Leilani’s contribution to the Wearable Arts event as well as interesting historical images held by the Alexander Turnbull Library. An excellent flow diagram summarising the production process completes the book.
review by Barbara
Image used with permission
Two classic and favourite picture books, The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle and We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury, are now translated into te reo Māori, published by Huia.
These wonderful stories have been loved by generations and don’t need much introduction, but their translation into Māori now makes them available to a whole new audience, at kōhanga and kura, and on laps and at bedtime with whānau in homes.
We’re going on a bear hunt is translated by Kawata Teepa and it seems, to this non te reo speaker, to have all the rhythm, onomatopoeia and energy of the original… Remember going swishy swashy through the long wavy grass? Here it is hūwihi, hāwihi and the adventure continues, splashing through the river - paratī, parahū, squelching through mud - kūwehi, kūwera, and tiptoeing through the forest - tūtuki, hīrau… Like the original, it just begs to be read aloud with expression and all joining in, and the macrons on the long vowels help create the emphasis and cadence. The very hungry caterpillar is translated by Brian Morris.
You can scan the QR code on the back of these books to access the te reo audio tracks which would support those learning to speak te reo.
Congratuations to Huia on this great initiative, and have a look at their website for more te reo translations of well-loved children’s picture books coming soon.
To enjoy Michael Rosen’s own wonderful (English) bear hunt performance, see this link on youtube. And if you are planning a trip to the USA you might be interested in visiting Eric Carle’s Museum of Picture Book Art in Massachusetts, or take a virtual tour in the meantime to whet your appetite!
Review by Jeannie
image used with permission
In 2009 the Ministry of Education published a graphic novel about John Porokoru Patapu Pohe who was a World War II pilot from Taihape – the first Maori pilot, the first Maori RNZAF instructor, and the first Maori to fly bombers over Germany. On a flight over Germany in 1943 he was shot down, captured, and sent to Stalag Luft III. There he was part of the attempt to escape by digging tunnels made famous in the film “The Great Escape”, and although he and others did manage to escape, John Pohe was one of two NZ escapees who were recaptured and shot by the Gestapo in 1944. You can read more about him at the Auckland Museum website.
In April 2012, Huia Publishers issued an English language edition of the book, and it is a “must-buy” for New Zealand school libraries – both primary and secondary, telling the important story of a pioneer and hero, and in an appealing and accessible graphic novel format sure to appeal , especially to boys.
Have a look at Pikitia Press: Australian and New Zealand Comics and Cartoonists blog which features an interview with Andrew Burdan, the illustrator, in which he talks about the process of collaborating with the author, doing research, taking inspiration from other comic artists, and even the technology he uses in creating the images
This blog could be one to share with secondary school students keen on cartooning : “The Pikitia Press Blog features contemporary Australasian Cartoonists and articles on the history of the artform in Australia and New Zealand. Also occasional digressions into animation and illustration.”
It becomes apparent very quickly that this book has been written by a person who understands the needs of students learning Te Reo. The dimensions of the book are perfect. It is a useful size for keeping in a satchel to have at hand when needed. The layout is straightforward and practical. It is a working document designed to be used with ease by students at an upper primary level of competency. The book includes the following: Māori - English Dictionary; English - Māori Dictionary; Words in Thematic lists; and a Guide to Grammar and Structures. Words in Thematic Lists include 22 headings ranging from People; Feelings and emotions; to Computers; Leisure, sport and pastimes.
I would recommend it as an essential item in all New Zealand classrooms.
In Te Marama, words and illustrations by Robyn Kahukiwa (Translated by Kiwa Hammond) Robyn Kahukiwa’s depiction of the legend Te Marama is stunning. The gallery of images presented are bold and powerful and stand alone as works of art. With Te Reo, incorporated into the images and translated simply in English at the base of the pages, the book immediately become accessible to the many New Zealand readers searching for bilingual titles. While the text is simple it unifies the art work which is the outstanding feature of this book. Students will enjoy Te Marama, especially those with an interest in art.
review by Barbara
Maori made fun is a modern series of books designed for beginning learners of Te Reo. The extensive list of titles includes: In the Kitchen, Counting birds and Clothes boys wear. Every book maintains a consistent pattern of simple, bold, high quality images suitable for a five year old to follow. The A4 size format works well using double pages, one for the vocabulary, the second with the matching image. The style is daring in its simplicity -and it works. The books are clever and deserve to be recognised for providing an innovative and practical way of meeting the needs of young children learning Te Reo.
review by Barbara
Games and Dances of the Maori People is divided into two parts. Part 1 consists of six chapters relating to games. Part 2 presents seven chapters relating to dances. Each chapter includes interesting historical comment and simple step by step instructions for mastering and teaching game and dance skills.
The author has taken the trouble to include different versions of various activities. For example, when describing knucklebones we can read the South Island, Ngai Tahu and North Island Ngati Porou rules for the game.
Of particular interest in the second part of the book is information about haka and also the instructions for poi. Appendix A. B. and C. discuss Maori pronunciation, costume and dance weapons.
review by Barbara
image by Expat Nomad
Winner of the Best Picture Book at the 2012 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards, Rahui commands your respect and interest from the outset. The illustrations, the choice of paper and the tightness of story line are all designed to be evocative.
Days of summer holiday enjoyment at the bay are described, but tragedy is sensed. Thomas’s death confirms the mood conveyed by the illustrations. His friends and whanau observe his passing. A tangi is held and a rahui is observed, allowing time for mourning and healing.
This story is beautifully told. In fact everything about this book is thoughtfully crafted. It is a work of art. It feels good to the touch, is visually pleasing and it tells a story with the honesty it is due.
Rahui is a book for sharing, or, alternatively for reading and thinking about in order for it to find a place in one’s memory.
Review by Barbara
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