Samoan author to release eight books

It's an unusually productive year coming up for Samoan author Dahlia Malaeulu who will be releasing eight books and, she says, breaking the record for the most published by a Pacific author in a single year.

Ms. Malaeulu told the Samoa Observer she is proud and excited to be able to release so many works this year. 

She is known as the author of "Teine Samoa", released in 2020 and written under New Zealand's Covid-19 lockdown. 

Among the books she is set to release this year is "Tama Samoa" - targeted at young adults. 

“We are feeling very proud and excited to be able to release so many books this year," she told the Samoa Observer. 

"These stories represent a lot of ‘firsts’ for us – the first time this many books, all written by the same Pasifika author, to be released in a single year.

“The first Samoan bilingual board book for Te Papa Tongarewa (New Zealand’s national museum). It’s also the first time we will have a range of stories [in which our culture] will be able to see themselves, their language and culture across all schooling levels – from pre-school to primary to intermediate and high school.” 

The board book "Going to Te Papa" will be published by Te Papa Press. 

Meanwhile, "Mila’s My Gagana Series 2" which includes four early readers' stories, will be published by One Tree House publishers. 

"Mila’s My Aganuu Series 1", which includes two picture book stories, are being self-published via Mila’s Books. 

“Then in the second half of the year we will be releasing our second [middle grade or young adult] book, "Tama Samoa," said Ms. Malaeulu.

"And finally, for our Mila’s "My Aganuu Series", it will be the first set of picture book stories written, illustrated, designed and published by an all Pasifika team, which has been a huge dream of mine – to have quality children’s stories for us, created and fully produced by us,” 

The books, she said, “are a result of some amazing people and organisations.”

“Our books are a result of some amazing people and organisations who I am very grateful for - like my own book publisher, One Tree House, who has been very supportive of our Mila’s Books mission and producing stories for others, like Te Papa Press,” Ms. Malaeulu said.

“I’m also so blessed to have my own Mila’s Books Pasifika dream team, who share in my passion for our stories and when combined with our Ministry of Pacific Peoples Community Language Fund and Copyright New Zealand’s grants – Pasifika magic happens, and is how our beautiful Mila’s My Aganuu Series has become a reality.”

It is just the beginning for Mila’s Books, she told the Observer.

“Through the stories we create we want to be able to shine a light on what is possible for us in telling our own stories [...] to help others to better connect and understand us as Pasifika,” said Ms. Malaeulu.

“Our Pasifika people are part of our succession plan at Mila’s Books and I can definitely see us providing a supportive space for budding Pasifika authors of children’s books in the future. 

"So my advice to emerging Pasifika children book writers is – just do it, because no matter what anyone tells you, there is a real hunger for our stories and the void is big enough for all of us. 

"Always remember, especially in today’s digital world anything is possible, and if there’s a will, you will always find a way.” 

The "Asiasiga i le falemataaga i Te Papa" or "Going to Te Papa" set is scheduled for release on 13 May;  "Mila’s My Gagana Series 2" is slated for release on 19 May, while "Mila’s My Aganuu Series" is due for release on 29 May.

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