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Reviewed by Kayla Kaval Wilding
Opening sentence
"When I was 10 I was teased for having big hair."
Mophead is about a girl who was teased since she was 10 years old for having big hair. Because of this, she felt different and tied up her hair in a bun to look more like everyone else. One day, a famous poet came to visit her school. His name was Sam. He was different too – his hair was long and all over the place. He was a poet and he taught the class so many things that were different from what they were learning in school. Sam inspired her. After meeting Sam, she decided that it was okay for her to be different, so she let her hair go free. This freeing of her hair was great, because it inspired her to do all the things she wanted to do. One of those things was to write poetry.

This amazing girl grew up to become a famous poet. She won lots of awards and met many famous people like the Queen of England and the President of the United States. She also inspired other people to be different.

One of my favourite parts about the book is the part about the tokotoko. When you become a New Zealand Poet Laureate, which is an amazing honour, you are presented with a tokotoko. It is an important ceremonial walking stick. Selina’s tokotoko had long coconut fibres on top of it that reminded her of her hair. She loved it. When a kid saw it and made fun of it, saying that it was a mop, instead of being shy and just walking by and ignoring him, she stood up to him and said “It’s not a mop. It’s a tokotoko.” And then she ended up telling him the story about it. That was such an important part of the book. You need to be proud of yourself and stand up for yourself and then people will respect you and listen to you.

The cool thing about this book is that it is a true story about the author, Selina Tusitala Marsh. She grew up in Auckland and has won many awards for her poetry over the years, and she is now a professor at the University of Auckland. She lives on Waiheke Island. I’ve never been to that island, but I have heard it is beautiful. I would love to meet Selina someday. She has inspired me. It is not only okay to be different, but it is good to be different and you should be proud of your differences!

I enjoyed reading this book. I liked it because it tells a real story about a real situation that is easy to understand. The book kept me interested and I read it in one sitting. It is awesome that this is a true story. The most believable part of the story is when the poet Sam visits the school and when she becomes successful.

I would 100% recommend this book to other people. I think everyone would like this book. I especially recommend this book for people aged 7 and older. This book is a short picture book that can be read in about 5 to 15 minutes, depending on whether you are a new reader or a person who has been reading for a long time. I think that people that like reading short graphic novels would also like this book.

- Kayla is 12 and lives in Hamilton.
Publisher: Auckland University Press
ISBN: 9781869408985
Format: Hardcover
Publication: 2019
Ages: 7+
Themes: Identity, differences, inspiration.