Huus Yuu? (Who are you?)

Huus Yuu? (Who are you?)

An exciting new Norf’k language childrens book from local mother/daughter duo Rose Evans & Brianna Stephens

Norfolk Island is the subject of countless books about its wonderful history, culture, and the stories behind its varied settlements and people, but strangely among them there haven’t been many illustrated children’s books. And certainly none with the modern flair and style that you will find in ‘Huus Yuu?’ a new illustrated children’s story from local mother and daughter duo Rose Evans and Brianna Stephens.

Huus Yuu? is a story in the Norf’k language (with English translation) about two young children, Tua and Ori exploring the island and meeting various endemic creatures along the way. As they meet each creature they ask, “Huus Yuu?” (Who are you) – a traditional island greeting often used by Norf’k elders when meeting young people to identify their connection to family and the community.

Tua and Ori are named for the Tahitian words meaning Dance (Tua) and Wide Ocean (Ori), and the book is a wonderful celebration of Norfolk’s unique language, heritage, culture and endemic wildlife.

In 2022 Brianna had the idea of putting together a children’s book, however as a designer and illustrator she wanted someone to take on the writing, and so approached Rose to write the story. Rose has a long history of writing scripts and plays as well as directing and producing, and was delighted to take up the challenge.

After some planning and market research they decided on a Norfolk language book focus, and once Rose started writing it all clicked and came together quite quickly, “Once I started writing I couldn’t stop! In fact I wrote the entire story in a day. However, translating to the Norf’k language took a lot more time and lots of questions to my islander husband!! I eventually managed to translate the story but knew it was essential to have it checked by an islander who is proficient in the written and spoken language”

Rose worked with local language expert Gaye Evans to get the translations completely accurate, and local writer/editor Susan Prior to ensure everything was grammatically correct. Both ladies were very generous in their time and supportive of seeing a unique new children’s book come to life.

Meanwhile, Brianna worked tirelessly on the incredibly time consuming task of producing all of the hand drawn illustrations and the entire layout design. After much tweaking and back and forth the end result is a beautiful publication they can both be extremely proud of. The soft and earthy feel of Brianna’s amazing illustrations exude a rich island-feel and allow Tua and Ori to effortlessly bring Rose’s story to life and take the reader on a wonderful journey around Norfolk Island.

The book has already received much well deserved praise. So much so that the duo have already finished their second book ‘I karwhar’ which is to be released soon! Make sure you seek it out during your stay, and don’t be confused if someone stops you in the street and asks, “Huus Yuu?”

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Image Credit: Rose Evans and Brianna Stephens

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Huus Yuu? is available from stockists island-wide

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Article content disclaimer: Article first published in Discover Norfolk, Volume 07 Issue 01, 2024. Please note that details of specific travel, accommodation and touring options may be outdated. References to people, places and businesses, including operating days and times may be have changed. References to Government structure and Government businesses/entities may no longer be applicable. Please check directly with businesses and/or Government websites directly rather than relying on any information contained in this article before you make travel arrangements.

 

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