Book Reviews: Te Reo Singalong Series: Kōrero Mai, Taku Mōkai, and Whai Mai, by Sharon Holt

Available in bookshops nationwide.

These three stories continue Sharon Holt’s successful Te Reo Singalong series. They are much loved by our kaiako and tamariki alike. Our teachers love the simple, repetitive te reo Māori to help them learn and use new phrases with our tamariki. Our tamariki love the music and stories about their childhood.

cv_korero_maiWe use the series in our classroom to support learning because they tell the events and interests of our tamariki growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand. Each picture is uniquely kiwi – the people, landscapes and activities provoke lots of kōrero from our tamariki about their own experiences that they can see!

We particularly like the diversity represented on each page of the different cultures and lifestyles of tamariki. For example, in Kōrero Mai, three young tamariki share their pepeha reflecting their unique family and home so everyone can connect with the book.

cv_taku_mokaiIn Taku Mōkai, photographs accompany the text as you visit different tamariki at home with their pet. As an adult, it is great to see the simple text doesn’t talk ‘at’ the reader, it feels like a conversation as each friend in the book proudly shares their pet and how they look after it.

Whai Mai introduces many simple phrases of te reo Māori but you don’t need to be fluent to understand the story about some friends playing follow-the-leader on a playground.

cv_whai_maiFor new te reo Māori speakers, there are translations at the back of each book, however the simple and useful phrases will soon become part of your kōrero with your tamariki. Additionally, the author has included some great ideas about how you can practice the reo.

Each book is accompanied by a CD. The stories are designed to be sung along to the music. Our tamariki can be heard singing the waiata in their play and love to read these books independently with the CD player. The music is peaceful and relaxing; these books are perfect for calming down before bed and reflecting on the day.

The te reo series by Sharon Holt is a great teaching tool for both tamariki and adults. More importantly, each book can be enjoyed by all as kiwi story-telling at its best too.

Reviewed by Sara Croft

Kōrero Mai
By Sharon Holt
Published by The Writing Bug
ISBN 9780994117113

Taku Mōkai
By Sharon Holt
Published by The Writing Bug
ISBN 9780994117144

Whai Mai
By Sharon Holt
Published by The Writing Bug
ISBN 9780473294564

Book Review: Kia Ora, by Sharon Holt, illustrated by Deborah Hinde

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_kia_oraAuthor, Sharon Holt, is a Pakeha who started learning Te Reo Māori when she was 42.

My daughter-in-law Sarah, who is a proficient Te Reo speaker, was given the task of reading this book to my 2 granddaughters Abby (5) and Quinn (2). Sarah got the girls to tell her what the story was about from the illustrations. Both girls got it pretty right.

There are several ways to ask “how are you?” in Te Reo, depending on the region and dialect. You may hear “Kei te Pewhea koe?” or Kei Te aha?” or other variations.
Suggestions for using this book are to encourage children to talk about what’s happening on each page. Why does the boy keep asking his family members how they are? How do we feel when people are too busy to really “hear” us? How can we help others to feel “heard?”.

I found this book fascinating and a wonderful concept to introduce Te Reo. The CD accompanying this book is a great addition. Guitar chords with words putting the story to music is a fantastic idea.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Kia Ora
by Sharon Holt, illustrated by Deborah Hinde
Published by Te Reo Singalong
ISBN 9780994117137