22 Aug 2016

New books to help Fiji children cope with cyclone trauma

10:12 am on 22 August 2016

The United Nations children's agency has helped develop books featuring cartoons and local stories to help children in Fiji who were traumatised by Cyclone Winston.

The Reigning Miss Hibiscus 2015, Marie Fall, takes part in a special reading with children of the newly launched locally produced children’s story books.

The Reigning Miss Hibiscus 2015, Marie Fall, reads some of the newly launched books to children. Photo: UNICEF Pacific/2016/JHing

Up to 70 Fijians, including designers, artists and poets were consulted to create eight books featuring real stories from children in Fiji.

UNICEF's Karen Allen said each book had the appearance of being very simple but a lot of work had gone into the resources to meet the dual objectives of helping children make sense of what happened to them and develop their reading skills.

She said it is very important that children relate to the resources and see surroundings and faces that reflect their lives.

"Fijian children spend probably too many hours like many children, reading books and watching stories that are basically filmed or written in other countries and it can be very hard for them to relate therefore. And it also can give them a kind of sub-conscious conditioning of being marginalised and isolated."

Karen Allen said the materials were developed in partnership with the Fiji Ministry of Education.