Perfect bound with a matt cover made up of muted colours, this book feels like a quality product. The designer, Stacey Morrison, is a radio and TV broadcaster with a love of languages and a strong desire to understand her heritage tongue. She has brought up her two children to speak te reo Māori as their first language, so with her first hand understanding of this process, has designed a book to help whanau with words that tamariki will be surrounded by, and interested in.
The clean illustrations are labelled clearly in Māori and English, leaving no ambiguity. As well as labels, characters appear on the pages with duel language speech bubbles containing phrases and questions.
There is a section that covers most of our emotions (names and illustrations only though, not how to manage them) and the double page spreads of different themes (rooms within the whare, the marae, the beach etc.), are full of fun details to explore. The map of Aotearoa is the only illustration that is not labelled in Māori and English and I like that. It tells me that names are different.
This is a carefully thought out book that will appeal to children of all ages who wish to learn or improve their te reo Māori.
Title: My First Words in Māori
Author: Stacey Morrison
Illustrator: Ali Teo and John O’Reilly
Publisher: Penguin Random House, NZ
Date of Publication: September 2019
Reviewer: Kirsten Puddick, Librarian, Holy Cross School, Miramar, Wellington
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening sentence? Welcome to this little book full of big hopes for our beautiful Māori language.
You can buy this book here