About a year ago, when I was researching picture books from Tonga, I stumbled on a couple of collections of poems by Roselyn Osiabu Efawane Maneipuri, an author and academic from Solomon Islands in a fabulous online catalogue of publications from the Institute of Education at The University of the South Pacific. Never one to miss an opportunity, I added one of the collections to my order! I’m glad I did – and I wish I had added the second collection too – because I have not managed to uncover any other children’s books from this group of islands in the South Pacific.*
As I learned in the foreword and preface to Fula’olo (Volume 1), the collection of poems I ordered, Solomon Islands is predominantly an oral society. Poetry was usually chanted, sung and/or performed in many Pacific indigenous communities, at least prior to European contact. Additionally, there is very little poetry written in English about Oceanic cultures, to which young readers can relate. So this collection of poems (and the subsequent volume) is particularly important and will hopefully pave the way to more.
Admittedly, Fula’alo is not strictly a picture book, although it does feature some absolutely stunning photographs of the Solomon Islands. I haven’t written about much poetry on this picture book journey and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this collection with you very shortly!
Fula’alo (Rainbow): A Collection of Poems (Volume 1) by Roselyn Osiabu Efawane Maneipuri (Institute of Education, The University of the South Pacific)
*Lift Education have published a variety of titles for young readers in the Solomon Islands but these are not available for sale to members of the general public.[Image: Lantern Fishing, Solomon Islands by Wade Fairley made available under a creative commons licence. Source: flickr.com]