Review by Shahrane'e Fa'avae, High School Counsellor
Tama Sāmoa
Malaeulu, Dahlia., & Malaeulu, Mani. (2021). New Zealand: Dahlia Malaeulu for Mila's Books.
A resource for teachers of Pasifika students to gain insight into how the world looks and feels for them.

A heartfelt, brave, raw, and real look into the world of young Pasifika males and the struggles they face every day to fit into the western world. 

Beautifully written in two parts, the first is fictional yet written in a genuine and relatable way that is close to many young men’s truth.  Disconnected from cultural and ancestral ties, these young men share a small part of their experiences with dealing with the loss of their friend by writing letters to their ‘uso’ about how life now looks, feels, and is for them and those around them. 

The second part is a collection of real coming of age stories that give insight into how their lives have been shaped through their experiences. Growing up as a Pasifika male, and the many responsibilities and expectations that come with it, brings pressures and burdens that many don’t understand and are a struggle to talk about.  

This is a story of friendship, hardship, dealing with loss, and how brotherhood and open, honest talanoa (talking and sharing in a safe space) can create a positive and healthy way to deal with mental health issues and wellbeing and the concerns that often burden our young brown men.

This book is a great example of how we can support our Pasifika people to be more open and share what is happening for them in times of struggle. It would be an excellent resource for teachers of Pasifika students to gain insight into how the world looks and feels for them. Most importantly, it is a great book for young Pasifika men going through hard times, to realise that they are not alone, and that there are people out there who have been through the same things and came out the other side stronger and more resilient.

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in bullying prevention, mental health and wellbeing topics.

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