Recently I was asked by a student teacher for good picture books that reflected a different culture, preferably a South Pacific culture. She'd been recommended a book about a Samoan girl, and told it was a book that worked well for teachers. We found the book, Selafina by Catherine Hannken, in our Pacific Island collection and the student was delighted with it. It tells the story of a girl in Auckland who is eagerly awaiting her beloved Nana to arrive from Samoa for her 10th birthday and how she learns the traditional Samoan dance the siva. There are two other titles by this author which are also in this vein, Fiapule and Talia, and she borrowed one of these also. They lightly teach you aspects of the Samoan culture in a way that is totally integrated in to the story.
While at the shelves we had a look for other things too, and I was pleased to see we had some good titles. We found the Pacific version of the twelve days of Christmas. I was familiar with the Maori version A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree, but it was a treat to find Two Cans of Corned Beef and a Manulele in a Mango Tree by Sarona Aiono-Iosefa.
Sarona Aiono-Iosefa, a New Zealand-born Samoan, is also the author of a picture book entitled The Pipi Swing, a moving and very real tale of families, love, grief and healing.
A list of other picture books relating to Samoan culture are listed here. Do feel free to come in to the library to explore what we have.