Author: Witi Ihimaera
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO
This is my 63rd book of the year.
I am on FIRE! Truth be told, I have read a few short ones in a row, and then finished up a book with my kids and a "off list" book I was reading, so it is really just timing.
This is a story about Kahu, a girl born into the Maori tribe. She breaks the lineage of a first born boy, which upsets her great grandfather. He now thinks that the tribe will die out unless he finds a male heir to take over when it is time.
The rejection does not bother Kahu, and she grows up a happy girl surrounded by a large family. She is doted on especially by her great grandmother and her uncle Rawiri (who is the narrator of the story) who watch her grow into a strong, capable girl who proves her worth to her tribe. She develops the ability to communicate with whales - and becomes like the ancient whale rider whom she was named after.
This is a mythical novella that finds a balance between tradition and the path forward, with strong female characters and a good message.
I enjoyed this book. I read it in the corse of one day and got swept up in the story about a little girl who just wanted the love of her great grandfather. She pined after it, even when he wanted nothing to do with her because she was not a boy. It is a well written little book with an engaging story about the Maori legend. I have never actually seen the movie, but I think I will try it now.