The NZ Pacific Picture Book Collection and website have been put together as an educational resource featuring activities and links to the NZ school curriculum. The creators selected the titles from nominations collected from nine librarians who have a specific interest in Pasifika communities. They believe in the power of picture books to shine a light on world views to both validate and introduce culture to others.
Here is a selection of some of the books from the collection held by Wellington Libraries.
Tulevai and the sea / by Joy Cowley ; illustrated by Manu Smith.
“A story for young readers with full-page colour illustrations by Manu Smith. Tulevai is such a good fisher from his canoe, the sea decides to make him its slave, and captures him. However, Tulevai’s mother decides her love is stronger than all the power of the sea, and rescues him by rolling the sea aside.” (Syndetics summary)
Legends of the Cook Islands / Shona Hopkins ; illustrated by Bruce Potter.
Collection of eight illustrated legends from the Cook Islands. Set in a mythological time known as Avaiki, these stories tell of brave men and women, mystical mountains, powerful gods and majestic sea creatures. Suggested level: primary, intermediate.
The Shark God / story by Rafe Martin ; pictures by David Shannon.
“Because they freed a shark caught in a net, the fearsome Shark God rescues a brother and sister from the cruel king’s imprisonment and helps them find a new, peaceful kingdom across the sea.” (Syndetics summary)
Grandad / Janet Pereira ; illustrated by Bruce Potter.
A young girl relates how her family respond to her grandfather’s illness and death and bring to the funeral responses from a variety of cultures. Includes a glossary of words related to death and funerals. Suggested level: primary.
Tane steals the show / [text] Lino Nelisi ; [illustrations] Gus Hunter.
Uncle Kokela is getting married on Saturday and everyone is practising singing and dancing. Because Tane is too small, no one will let him join in. But Tane has a surprise for them. Suggested level: junior.
Two cans of corned beef and a manulele in a mango tree : a Pacific Christmas / Sarona Aiono-losefa ; illustrated by Steven Dunn.
A Pacific version of the popular Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, with such gifts as four rolls of tapa, three frangipanis, two cans of corned beef and a manulele in a mango tree. Suggested level: junior, primary.
The stuck there forever boat / Gillian Torckler ; illustrated by Bruce Potter.
Tama’s idyllic island life is changing. The surrounding sea is slowly flooding their land, the coral is dying and the fish have disappeared. Tama’s family must move to a higher island, but his nanny won’t listen. What can Tama do to convince his nanny to leave? A story inspired by the Tuvaluan people, whose low-lying island nation is under threat of non-existence due to the rising seas associated with global warming.
Sione’s talo / by Lino Nelisi ; illustrated by Elspeth Williamson.
Sione finds a huge talo growing on his plantation and calls his family to help him pull it up, but they are only successful with the help of an ant. Suggested level: juniors
Papa’s jandals / Kate Moetaua ; illustrated by Bruce Potter.
“Papa loves his great big jandals but so does Junior. When Junior loses Papa’s jandals the hunt is on to find them but no one would ever have guessed where they turn up”–Back cover. Suggested level: junior.
Talia / by Catherine Hannken ; illustrated by Trish Bowles.
Talia’s dad is taking her to Samoa to meet her family and she is excited, but her excitement quickly turns to confusion when she steps off the plane. She can’t understand what anyone is saying and she feels scared and alone. With help from her family, Talia begins to forget her fear and shyness and enjoy being in Samoa. Suggested level: junior.
A book of Pacific lullabies / edited by Tessa Duder ; illustrated by Anton Petrov.
Collection of poems for children inspired by the natural images and rhythms of the Pacific on the themes of night and sleep. Contains brief biographical information about each of the contributing authors. Suggested level: junior, primary.
Fishing with spider webs / Lino Nelisi ; illustrations by! Elspeth Alix Batt.
“A story for children with full-page colour illustrations. Aiani was born in Auckland. When she is 10, she flies to Nuie to visit her family. Uncle Tuki takes her out fishing, using spider webs! They get a good feed of fish. Next day they’re going to catch a coconut crab without being bitten.” (Syndetics summary)
The pipi swing / Sarona Aiono-Iosefa ; illustrated by Bruce Potter.
A story of a Samoan girl whose grandparents teach her how to have fun again after her father, their son dies, in spite of their own grief. Suggested level: junior, primary.