Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A new picture book set in Samoa

Talia by Catherine Hannken, illustrated by Trish Bowles (Mallinson Rendel)
ISBN 978-1-877423-30-7 RRP $25.00

All of a sudden, someone grabbed her and caught her up in a hug.
"This is your Aunty Maina," said Dad, after he too had hugged the laughing woman.
"Hello," said Talia politely.
Her aunty replied with a rush of words that Talia didn't understand.
"She doesn't speak much English," said Dad as they walked across the car park, "but you'll soon get the hang of it."
Talia nodded but her stomach felt tight.

When Talia first arrives in Samoa she is overwhelmed by the language and the customs that seem strange to her. Her father tells her he felt the same way when he first came to Samoa. At first Talia responds to the people around her by hanging her head but after playing in the water with Leilani, her cousin - she realises there are no barriers and realises it is going to be fun staying in Samoa after all.

A heart-warming picture book about a young girl connecting with her relatives and getting past the culture shock of being in a country that is unfamiliar to her. Children in Junior school will identify with Talia; remembering their first day at school, a move to another school or country.

Catherine Hannken and Trish Bowles are the author and illustrator of Selafina, shortlisted for the 2004 New Zealand Post Book awards and Fiapule. Catherine says she thought of the idea for the story while she was on an aeroplane. She says that many of our children in New Zealand have strong ties to another culture either through their own or their parents' or grandparents' place of birth, her own daughter included. She wanted to tell these children's story.

No comments: