Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster – Debbie McCauley

Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster (2014) by Debbie McCauley
Image from The Children’s Bookshop

  • Age Range: 5+
  • Grade Level: K-4
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Mauao Publishing (October, 2014)
  • Language: English, Maori
  • ISBN-10: 0473268695
  • ISBN-13: 9780473268695

EXCERPT from Mauao Publishing:
On 5 October 2011 a large container ship grounded on a reef off the coast of the Bay of Plenty, spilling an estimated 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the ocean. The impact was devastating, not only for the people of the area, but for the many thousands of birds and sea creatures who were covered in the toxic oil. One of these oiled birds, a little blue penguin we’ve named Mōtītī Blue, was rescued and treated at the Te Maunga Oiled Wildlife Response Centre. This is the story of his recovery and release. This bilingual book includes colour photographs, fact boxes, maps, graphics and a timeline.

Rationale for Inclusion:
Motiti Blue and the oil spill provides international insights into environmental stewardship and responsibility, along with an introduction to the indigenous language and traditions of New Zealand. This book’s beautiful pictures inspire empathy and compassion for people and animals alike.

Bonus: This book is the recipient of numerous awards, including:

  • 24 March 2015: Motiti Blue is shortlisted in the LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards for the Elsie Locke Non Fiction Award.
  • 9 June 2015: Motiti Blue is shortlisted in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults.
  • 13 August 2015: Motiti Blue wins the Best Non-Fiction category in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
  • 2 October 2015: Motiti Blue is selected as one of 200 outstanding children’s books published around the world in 2014. “Each year the language specialists at the International Youth Library (IYL), in Munich, Germany, select newly published books from around the world that they consider to be especially noteworthy”. The 2015 White Ravens printed catalogue contains 200 titles in 36 languages from 55 countries. The catalogue was launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 15 October  2015. All 200 White Ravens books were displayed at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair from 4-7 April 2016.
  • December 2015: The Blind Foundation picks Motiti Blue and the Oil Spill to be produced in braille, large print and e-text which will make it accessible to those who are blind, deaf-blind or low-vision through the Blind Foundation’s library service.
  • 2016: Waikato University’s New Zealand Children’s Literature paper selects Motiti Blue and the Oil Spill as a set text for picture books.

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