The first of a new series of picture books created to help children learn the Samoan language launches today.
The trilogy, a set of bi-lingual picture books titled The Navigator Series, written by first-time author Karamia Müller is aimed at children aged 2 to 7 years.
The first of the series How Do You Say ‘Thank You’? is a fun and engaging story, where siblings Alofa and Filipo, the Navigators, take readers on a journey of learning languages. At bedtime, they ask Mummy and Daddy: “Can you teach us to say thank you?” The answers to their questions introduce readers to the Samoan language. Alofa and Filipo help teach children the value of family, thankfulness and the enjoyment of learning Gagana Samoa.
Author Karamia Müller says the phrases are basic and relate to daily activities so readers can integrate them into their everyday language.
“It’s about empowering people to learn and become comfortable using the language. It’s as much a kids’ storybook as it is a resource for adult learners of the language. I created it for use in early childhood centres, schools or at home as a bedtime story,” says Karamia.
Several simple Samoan phrases are used in the book with a full translation, comprehensive glossary and pronunciation guide to assist beginner learners. As an adult learner of Samoan herself, Karamia saw a gap in the market for resources that reflect Pacific children and cultural practices.
“The family unit is prominently featured in The Navigator Series. Pacific children are taught their world view through their family so it was important for me to make the family the central educating source in the books,” says Karamia.
Designed to appeal to children, the books are illustrated by Mark Paterson who has worked on numerous popular children’s productions including the BAFTA winning Charlie and Lola, Little Princess and The Cramp Twins.
With the second and third titles of The Navigator Series How Do You Say ‘Please’? and How Do You Say ‘Sorry’? to follow, Alofa and Filipo are only beginning this exciting journey of language, traditions and aspirations.
Future plans are to create resources using languages from other Oceanic Islands.
The first book of The Navigator Series How Do You Say ‘Thank You’? is available now in hardcover for order online at www.alofaandfilipo.org for RRP$24.99 plus shipping.
About the Author:
Karamia Müller was born in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Of Samoan heritage she is the daughter of Afioga Gafautau Filipo and Marie Müller. After graduating from Architecture School at the University of Auckland she practiced as an architectural graduate before returning to complete a Masters of Architecture in Research. That research into indigenising architectural practices serves as a compass for The Navigator book series. Karamia drew on the expertise of Samoan educators Ene Tapusoa, Melegalenu’u Ah Sam and Josephina Ah Sam to translate the Samoan phrases.
Currently Karamia is herself an adult learner of the Samoan language. She is the youngest of five children. Karamia is known as Aunty Kiki to seven nieces and nephews. She still loves to do handstands.
· At the time of the 2006 Census, the largest Pacific peoples ethnic group was Samoan (131,103 people).
· Six in 10 people of Samoan ethnicity were born in New Zealand.
· 90 percent of overseas-born Samoans spoke Samoan, but only 44 percent of New Zealand-born Samoans spoke Samoan.