Each month, I'll buy a book and feature it on my blog to support and promote diverse authors and subjects. If it's posted here, it's a safe bet that I loved them, but I will try and add a little explanation as to what I loved.
The second book that I'd like to share for My Read Diverse Books Project is THE WHALE RIDER by Witi Ihimaera, one of New Zealand's most beloved authors and a national treasure. This is re-read and re-purchase for me because I wanted to include it in this project, and I'm so glad I did. It's just as great third and fourth time round.
THE WHALE RIDER is a novel about Kahu, a girl born into a family awaiting their generation's next legendary chief. Despite adoring her grandfather, Maori tradition requires a boy for chief, and her grandfather feels the same. But Kahu may turn out to be a lot more than tradition or her grandfather expected. THE WHALE RIDER became an international movie by Niki Caro, another national treasure, so you may have heard of it before. I couldn't wait to feature this story.
This book is like a Kiwi fairytale for me, magical and thrilling. It's also a fantastic snapshot of a part of our culture over here and Maori legend that deserves so much more attention. I'm hoping that with Disney's MOANA gaining momentum, interest in Polynesian cultures in general will rise. It's an untapped mine of incredible stories and lore.
I especially love the setting for this book. Whangara is very like my home town and the characters reflect people in my own community. This is one of the stories that cemented my passion for #ownvoices and diversity. There is nothing like seeing your community reflected in a story. I hope you'll give it a try and enjoy the colorful cast of characters as much as I do--Nanny Flowers being a firm favorite :)