Author(s): Selina Tusitala Marsh
An inspirational graphic memoir of growing up Pasifika in New Zealand, written and illustrated by our fast-talking PI Poet Laureate, Selina Tusitala Marsh.
At school, Selina is teased for her big, frizzy hair. Kids call her ‘mophead’. She ties her hair up this way and that way and tries to fit in. Until one day – Sam Hunt plays a role – Selina gives up the game. She decides to let her hair out, to embrace her difference, to be WILD!
Selina takes us through special moments in her extraordinary life. She becomes one of the first Pasifika women to hold a PhD. She reads for the Queen of England and Samoan royalty. She meets Barack Obama. And then she is named the New Zealand Poet Laureate.
She picks up her special tokotoko, and notices something. It has wild hair coming out the end. It looks like a mop. A kid on the Waiheke ferry teases her about it. So she tells him a story . . .
This is an inspirational graphic memoir, full of wry humour, that will appeal to young readers and adults alike. Illustrated with wit and verve by the author – NZ’s bestselling Poet Laureate – Mophead tells the true story of a New Zealand woman realising how her difference can make a difference.
PUBLICATION OCTOBER 2019 Ruth's Review: When I was 10 I was teased for having BIG hair. Not just thick curly hair but wild Afakasi hair. Selina Tusitala Marsh was our beloved fast-talking Poet Laureate from 2017 until August this year, but when she was a child she was teased for her big, frizzy hair. Kids called her “mophead”. She tried to tame her hair so that she could fit in until one day poet Sam Hunt visited her school and Selina was energised into embracing her difference. Mophead is an adorable graphic memoir in which Selina reminisces about her childhood and special moments, such as becoming one of the first Pasifika women to earn a PhD, reading for the Queen and Samoan royalty, meeting US President Barack Obama and being named the New Zealand Poet Laureate. Photos are included in the endpapers. The inspiration to write and illustrate her story came from a kid on the Waiheke ferry who teased her about the fact that her ceremonial tokotoko (walking stick) looked like a mop. Funny and poignant, Mophead will encourage everyone from age 4 to 104 to celebrate their individuality.
Winner of the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction, and Supreme Winner at the 2020 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults
Selina Tusitala Marsh is an Auckland-based Pasifika poet of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English, Scottish and French descent. She was the first Pacific Islander to graduate with a PhD in English from the University of Auckland where she is now an associate professor in the English Department, specialising in Pasifika literature. Her first collection, the bestselling Fast Talking PI, won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry in 2010. Marsh represented Tuvalu at the London Olympics Poetry Parnassus event in 2012; her work has been translated into Ukrainian and Spanish and has appeared in numerous forms live in schools, museums, parks, billboards, as well as print and online literary journals. As Commonwealth Poet (2016), she composed and performed for the Queen at Westminster Abbey. She was New Zealand's Poet Laureate from 2017-2019. In 2019 she was awarded a Humanities Aronui Medal and was elected a Nga Ahurei a Te Aparangi Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.