In this picture book, gentle, clever Toe Jam grows to be huge, and this causes a problem in his community because his feet smell. The bigger he gets the worse the smell. While Toe Jam helps others and wants to be part of his village, everybody teases him and avoids him, and Toe Jam becomes very lonely. Finally, the people make him leave and live far away.
Toe Jam never loses his kind heart, and when there are floods, wild winds and droughts, he returns to help his people. But each time, the people take his help then send him away again. Until, one day, when Toe Jam saves the people from an eruption, they finally understand their behaviour and see Toe Jam’s goodness.
The story encourages children to think about difference, how their behaviour affects others and the impact of teasing and bullying behaviour. This would be a useful teaching resource and discussion starter around empathy, care and thought for others, criticism and ostracism, and love and forgiveness. Written originally in Maori, the story is underpinned by values of manaakitanga and aroha, respect, consideration towards others, goodwill, whakaaro nui and forgiveness. The story is available in te reo Maori and English language editions.
Kurahau has worked in education for a number of years. Having written many non-fiction publications, this is Kurahau’s first fictional bilingual story for children. Kurahau enjoys food: growing it, gathering it, preparing it, sharing it with others and especially, of course, eating it. In between eats, Kurahau is a champion of te reo and tikanga Māori and embraces the ideal of a world that shows care towards people, animals and the environment.