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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Nanny Mihi's Harvest - Te Hauhaka a Nanny Mihi by Melanie Drewery

With her mokopuna visiting for the spring school holidays, Nanny Mihi enlists their help to plant seeds in her garden. As they return each season, the tamariki see their labours bear fruit, helping Nanny harvest, cook and preserve all the produce. 

When a gardening disaster strikes in winter, the hard work they put in throughout the year pays off, as there's still plenty of kai for a feast.

The fourth in the Nanny Mihi series, this story sees Nanny and her moko once again connect to nature. Author Melanie Drewery (Ngāti Māhanga) embraces the joy of gardening, of working with nature and of self-sufficiency in this latest Nanny story. Nanny is warm and caring, with lots of cheekiness too. Drewery ensures the story isn't too preaching or learning-heavy, with lots of humour sprinkled throughout. There's also a clever dilemma, and Drewery helps her readers find the bright side of situations.

The book is fully bilingual, with Kanapu Rangitauira (Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou, Te Whakatōhea) providing the te reo Māori translation. It's a great book for those looking to expand their te reo Māori beyond beginner - Rangitauira translates the story faithfully, so there's some more complex sentences than what may usually feature in a children's book. It can be hard to find books in te reo Māori that challenge those moving more towards fluency, but Nanny Mihi is the perfect next step. I love that Drewery still includes kupu Māori naturally within her story too - with little translations included at the first mention to help beginners. 

Illustrator Suzanne Simpson brings Nanny's garden, and animals, to life with bright, simple artwork. Nanny's personality shines through Simpson's artwork, as do her cheeky chickens.

This is a great book to learn about and to inspire the next generation of gardeners. Drewery touches on harvesting, seed saving, conservation, preserving food, perseverance, and sharing within the pages. Oratia has a great teacher's resource to accompany the book for those that might need some prompting on how to expand on Nanny's mātauranga. The book will be a valued resource within schools, especially those with their own māra kai, EnviroSchools and those involved with the Garden to Table programme.

Nanny Mihi's Harvest - Te Hauhaka a Nanny Mihi is a gem of a book that will nurture an appreciation for nature in our tamariki.


Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

Oratia Books


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