Raumati (Summer 2023/2024) Book Reviews

Three pukapuka for tamariki and adults to kick start your raumati/summer reading list!

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Three pukapuka for tamariki and adults to kick start your raumati/summer reading list!

Poipoia Ngā Tamariki: Māori Proverbial Sayings Related To Nurturing Children
Leonie Pihama, Hineitimoana Greensill, Naparopi Cameron-Raumati, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Papahuia Dickson, Marjorie Beverland and Awhina Cameron (Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki, 2022)
Age: Adults
131 pages

Te mea tuatahi, ngā mihi nunui ki ngā kaituhutuhi o te pukapuka nei. Tēnā koutou katoa mo he taonga tuku iho, he taonga ataahua, he taonga mo ake tonu ake. 

This precious book drew me in from it’s cover, and the possibilities it’s contents would offer. I was not disappointed. The writers set out to show how we can draw on ancestral knowledge to support the care and nurturing of our tamariki and mokopuna today. There are many beautiful whakataukī to pour over, each accompanied by photo carefully chosen by the writers that truly enhance the kupu, the whakaaro, and the wisdom each whakataukī holds. I recommend this pukapuka to those who seek to understand the cultural knowledge embodied in these whakataukī that will enrich and enhance the lives of tamariki, mokopuna and whānau. – Judith Nowotarski 

Dazzlehands (also available in te reo Māori: Ringakōreko)
Sasha Cotter and Josh Morgan (Huia)
Picture book
Age: 2-6
38 pages

Well-known for their award-winning title The Bomb, author/illustrator duo Sasha Cotter and Josh Morgan have created another hilarious, rhythmic and boldly illustrated picture book for young children. In this twist on an animal sounds book, cows go ‘moo’, hens go ‘cluck’ and pigs go … ‘dazzlehands’! For some it may be hard to believe that a bright pink book about a pig who refuses to say ‘oink’ could be profound, but as I’m sure our readers will know, picture books are often underrated for the depth and thought-provoking detail they convey. Dazzlehands is no exception – it shows us that being different is something to be celebrated, and non-conformity and creativity can lead to beautiful things. Of course it is lots of fun too. Great to read aloud, it will soon have everyone doing their own ‘dazzlehands’. And it has got me thinking, if pigs don’t say oink, what do cows and chickens really want to say?  – Sarah Silver 

Past the Tower Under the Tree: Twelve Stories of Learning in Community
Featuring Edith Amituanai, Catherine Delahunty, Mohan Dutta, Dominic Hoey, Areez Katki, Emily Parr, Daniel Michael Satele, Kahurangiariki Smith, Mokonui-a-rangi Smith, Richard von Sturmer, and Terri Te Tau. Edited by Balamohan Shingade and Erena Shingade. (Gloria Books)
Age: Adult
216 pages

It’s not a hard sell to get on board with the angle of this compact collection. Good teaching and learning isn’t relegated to the lecture hall or classroom. For most people working in education settings- from ECE to university, this won’t be a controversial perspective.  

With contributions from twelve creatives and activists, there’s a spectrum of approach and insight. What the book achieves well in sandwiching these together is pay respect to the kaleidoscope of ways we learn together. Grounded in the intimacy of personal anecdotes and artefacts you’ll see, taste, hear, smell and feel the books premise.  

The anthology has its master strokes. For me they were found in the generosity of Catherine Delahunty, reflecting on threading the needle between mistakes and repair in her relationships with Māori. Or Terri Te Tau retracing the adventures swirling beneath her art practice in the renowned Mata Aho Collective. Lastly, there’s Dominic Hoey, who somehow manages to write about creative writing in a way that knocks the genre off its pedestal and then salvages something relatable out of the wreckage.  

The book makes no bones about its emphasis on creative learning, so if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy hearing artists talk about their process it might not be your cup of tea. That said, the editors seem to have focused on composing something humble rather than being pretentious. At the very least, this will strike a chord with those who are interested in creativity and learning. – Nadia Abu-Shanab

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