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‘Pacific books get youngsters reading’ – Tapaleao

April 6, 2013

There was an article in The New Zealand Herald the other day, that caught my eye:

‘Pacific books get youngsters reading’ By Vaimoana Tapaleao, Tuesday Apr 2, 2013, The New Zealand Herald

Tapaleao wrote: “A fantasy love story set in the islands and being described as the Twilight series of the Pacific is getting young Pacific people excited about reading. Author Lani Wendt-Young has written two books in the Telesa series, and the third and final book will go on sale this year.

Set in modern Samoa, the novels feature a young couple, Leila and Daniel. Their story is inspired by ancient mythologies throughout the Pacific, including from Tonga and Hawaii, but with a particular focus on the ancient Samoan legend of the telesa – powerful spirit women and guardians of the land.

… The first Telesa novel, The Covenant Keeper, was published as an e-book on the Amazon website in October, 2011. Within two months it had reached the No1 spot on the “top rated fantasy romance” list and was issued in print.

The second book in the trilogy – When Water Burns – was released last year, followed by a novella, I Am Daniel Tahi, in December.

Between 12,000 to 15,000 e-book and print copies have been sold since then and the books have been widely distributed around the world.

They have also been picked up as study novels in several high schools in New Zealand and Samoa , and by tertiary institutions including the University of Guam and the University of Auckland.

Mrs Wendt-Young, whose influences include her famous uncle, writer Albert Wendt, is now working on another series for adults. She said she hoped more stories set in the islands would come out of her novels.

“It really is something that is missing at the moment and not easily accessed. I just hope more Pacific writers get on board.”

She is now working on the final book in the series, Telesa: The Bone Bearer.”

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Lani Wendt-Young hopes more stories can be set in the islands. Photo / Supplied

Incidentally, I found this article because i was looking for another (’School children missing out on the magic of storytelling’ – Julie Falkner, Thursday Apr 4, 2013). It’s a really good article on the benefits of storytelling and I recommend it.


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