Book Reviews: New Children's Titles in Te Reo
This month we have a new te reo Māori title reviewer, Mihi Henare (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Hine, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), reviewing a new batch of te reo Māori books released during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori in September.
Whakarongo ki ō Tūpuna nā Darryn Joseph i tuhi. Nā Munro Te Whata ngā pikitia
Whakarongo ki ō Tūpuna is a children’s book that follows the life of a kuia/kaiako/māmā who tells their mokopuna/tamariki about ancestors and atua Māori – and how they can help them to be strong, bold and compassionate in their own environment.
Darryn Joseph wrote this book when one of his close friends and former lecturers was in the hospital; she was a big part of his life, and so he wrote this book. He says ‘Every teacher teaches you something, but a few special teachers leave lasting impressions that stay with you for life.’
Mā te waiata me te kōrero tātau e whai hononga ki o mātau tūpuna. As Māori, we have a connection to our ancestors, through stories and waiata. Koinei hoki te āhuatanga e hono atu tātau ki ngā atua. This also explains why we have a connection to our atua Māori or Māori gods and goddesses. This children’s book embodies those feelings we have, but it also gives off a sense of nostalgia.
Mā te waiata me te kōrero tātau e whai hononga ki o mātau tūpuna. As Māori, we have a connection to our ancestors, through stories and waiata.
The illustrations of this book are beyond beautiful – somehow Munro Te Whata is able to convey the emotions of both the protagonist and her grandchildren. Not only are the illustrations of the people stunning, but the illustrations of the surroundings are just as beautiful. Te ātaahua hoki o ēnei pikitia, waihoki, te ātaahua o ngā pikitia o te kuia nei. Ko Kōpū ia e rere ana i te pae! This book has already become a favourite of mine, and these illustrations have made the experience of reading this book amazing.
Growing up around our kuia and koroua, this is how we learn, this is how we are able to understand the world around us, through pakiwaitara, waiata and so much more. This story gave me so many feelings, feelings of happiness, sadness, but most of all, a feeling of nostalgia.
He pukapuka tēnei hei hiki i āu whakaaro mō ō ake tūpuna, he pukapuka hoki tēnei hei whakaohooho i tō wairua, waihoki, he pukapuka tēnei hei whakaohooho i ā koe anō. This is a book that carries your thoughts for your own ancestors, this is also a book that connects your wairua to your ancestors and the Māori gods, and with yourself as well.
Whakarongo ki O TUpuna
by nā Darryn Joseph i tuhi. Nā Munro Te Whata ngā pikitia Oratia Media RRP $25.00
Te Whakatautōnga a Māui i te Rā nā Donavan Bixley i tuhi, Nā Darryn Joseph rāua ko Keri Opai i whakamāori
He pūrākau tēnei e whai ana I ngā mahi hīanga a Māui Pōtiki. This is a story that follows the demi-god Māui and how he was able to slow the sun. This is one of the many children’s books that Donavan Bixley has written, and I believe, it certainly won’t be his last.
Māui is a demi-god from Māori mythology, his stories have been remastered for decades, you would think that because they are re-told over and over again that this book would be boring, but that’s where you’re wrong. This children’s book gives a new spin on things, although we know the story of how Māui slowed the sun, Bixley is able to convey a different type of story.
The illustrations tell their own stories, they capture the youthfulness of Māui, while also capturing the mischievousness of Māui that we all know. It seems as though Bixley was right there with Māui while he was slowing down the sun.
Me pēnei pea te kōrero, he pukapuka tēnei hei whakamānawa i a Māui-Pōtiki me ōna mahi huhua. From the illustrations to the writing, this children’s book will one day become a staple in all schools, kura, kōhanga, puna reo, and early learning centres.
From the illustrations to the writing, this children’s book will one day become a staple in all schools, kura, kōhanga, puna reo, and early learning centres.
Heoi, ko tētahi o aku kōrero whakahē mo te pukapuka nei, ko te mita, me te āhuatanga whakamāori I ngā kupu Pākeha. E whakamahi ana I ngā kupu tūmāro mo tētahi pukapuka e hāngai ana ki ngā tamariki. My only problem with this book would be how it was translated, it seemed as though the Māori translation of the book was using polysyllabic Māori words, when easier Māori words could have been used, as this is a children’s book. It is difficult to translate from one language to another; however, it shouldn’t be hard to use words that are easier for tamariki to read and understand.
That being said, it still an exceptional children’s book that will appeal to many young readers, as well as many older readers.
Te Whakatautonga a Maui i te Ra
nā Donavan Bixley i tuhi, Nā Darryn Joseph rāua ko Keri Opai i whakamāori Upstart Press RRP $20.00
My First Words in Māori nā Stacey Morrison ngā kupu. Nā Ali Teo rāua ko John O’Reilly ngā pikitia. Nā tētahi o ngā tino kaitautoko i te reo Māori, he pukapuka pikitia tēnei hei āwhina i ngā tamariki ki te ako i te reo Māori. My First Words in Māori is a picture book that, as the title suggests, is aimed at teaching children their first words in Māori, it was written by Māori language advocate Stacey Morrison, and it was illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly.
This book is essentially a dictionary, however, instead of words and their definitions, this book has pictures/ illustrations, their Māori words, and then their English translation. This is what makes this book so easy to read, and easy to understand. He papakupu pikitia tēnei o ngā pukapuka. It contains scenes such as Tōku tinana/ My body, Tōku whare/ My house, Wāhi tākaro/At the park – and many more.
This picture book is aimed at those who want to teach their children te reo Māori, but it is also aimed at those who want to begin their own Māori language journey. Ahakoa ko wai koe, ahakoa nō whea, he pukapuka tēnei hei hāpai i ngā tamariki ki te ako i te reo Māori, waihoki, he pukapuka tēnei hei hāpai i ā koe anō ki te ako i te reo Māori. Ehara tēnei i te pukapuka mō ngā tamariki noa iho, he pukapuka tēnei mō tātou katoa.
Ahakoa ko wai koe, ahakoa nō whea, he pukapuka tēnei hei hāpai i ngā tamariki ki te ako i te reo Māori, waihoki, he pukapuka tēnei hei hāpai i ā koe anō ki te ako i te reo Māori.
The illustrations of this book are what make it beautiful, we have illustrations of things that we see every day, these illustrations are what makes it easy for us to understand the translations and what these words mean.
Me pēnei pea te kōrero, he pukapuka tēnei mō ia whare, mō ia kura, mō ia kōhanga reo, mō ia puna reo puta noa i te motu. This is a book that should be in every house, school, and early learning centre throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. But then again, what else would you expect from one of the foremost champions and advocates of te reo Māori?
my first words in maori
nā Stacey Morrison ngā kupu. Nā Ali Teo rāua ko John O’Reilly ngā pikitia
Puffin NZ RRP $20.00 Buy Now
Mihi Te Rina Henare is a kaiāwhina at Te Puna Reo o Manawanui which is fully immersed in Te Reo Māori. He uri ia nō Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Hine, me Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. While not working, she spends most of her time reading and reviewing books, while also posting and scrolling through bookstagram.