by Lino Nelisi
Auckland, New Zealand: Scholastic
Young Tane feels left out and unwanted when everyone else has something to practice for Uncle Kokela’s wedding on Saturday. He tries to join in with the big boys doing the meke, but they say he is too little. He tries to join in with the girls doing the hula, but they say he can’t because he is a boy. The men don’t want him drumming or playing the ukelele and the women don’t want him singing with them. Poor Tane watches them and learns anyway, and on Saturday he “steals the show” by getting up and performing with the boys, the girls, the men and the women at Uncle Kokela’s wedding. Everybody loves it and the illustrations show how proud Tane feels. This book is also available in Maori.
This story shows what it feels like to be small and overlooked – a theme which most children can relate to. It also provides insight into the roles and traditions in Pacific Island cultural celebrations.
This book was nominated because of its value as a Niuean resource, as well as the images presented in the illustrations. It was also nominated because of its popularity with children and its focus on Pacific Island music and dance. This book was shortlisted for Best Picture Book in the 1998 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.
A New Zealand Curriculum-linked activity for this picture book can be found here.