A Tongan author and illustrator has been nominated for Best First Book in NZ’s Book Awards For Children and Young Adults.
Lisala Halapua’s The Mouse and the Octopus retells an old Tongan fable about a mischievous mouse and an unwitting octopus.
Lisala Halapua's The Mouse and the Octopus has been nominated for Best First Book in NZ's Book Awards For Children & Young Adults. Photo/ Lisala Halapua.
The 33-year-old author says it’s an honour to be recognised for a story that’s been passed through generations.
"As told by my grandmother, to my father then to me," he says. "It's a very personal story, even though everyone knows the story, but it was a personal project for me that had a lot of family significance."
Halapua is encouraging Pacific people to publish the fables they were told growing up.
He says retailers have been very interested in his book.
"They've been really intrigued by the story," he says. "Anyone out there who might've been told stories by their parents or grandparents, there's absolutely a market for it and bookstores are actively looking for these stories."
Halapua is now working on his next book, The Worm and the Whale, as part of his Island Fables series.
Lisala Halapua. Photo/ Supplied.