One of the world's most popular children's books has been translated into te reo Māori.
The te reo version of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid Te Rātaka a Tama Hūngoingoi will be released to coincide with Māori language week, which starts on Monday.
It's received the thumbs up from The Hits broadcaster and language advocate Stacey Morrison who was one of a select few that publishers Penguin Random House chose to have a sneak peek at the book.
Translated by Hēni Jacob, a respected translator and writer, it tells the story of 12 year old Greg Heffley and his trials and tribulations as he makes his way through middle school.
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Head of publishing at Penguin Random House NZ Claire Murdoch says it was important to maintain the humour, word play and gags that have made Kinney's series – 13 books and counting – popular all over the world. Global sales of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books now number around 200 million and four books have become hit films.
Kinney's New York publishers approached the company about a te reo version because he is an advocate of publishing in different languages. Last year, Diary of a Wimpy Kid was released in a Scottish edition while a Latin version came out three years ago.
Murdoch says an increasing number of children's books are being published in te reo Māori, but there's still a need for books in te reo for 8-12-year-old readers. She describes Te Rātaka a Tama Hūngoingoi as the perfect book to meet this demand.
Jacob says translating Diary of a Wimpy Kid provided a great opportunity to showcase good, simple, colloquial Māori – something that isn't always readily available to kids and teenagers who speak Māori as a first language or are learning the language.
It's also been praised by Māori Language Commissioner Professor Rawinia Higgins who says translations of popular literature highlight how creative and relevant te reo Māori is. The commission partnered with Penguin Random House to bring the book out.
"Publishing of children's and young adult fiction for reading enjoyment is important for revitalisation," Higgins says.
Ko Roderick kei Runga - Diary of a Wimpy Kid #2 in te reo comes out early next year. Meanwhile, Stacey Morrison's My First Words in Māori is also out now.