New Zealand author Gill Pittar and illustrator Cris Morrell
This beautiful brightly illustrated book for 4 – 8 year olds has a message that jumps out at us as soon as you turn the first page.
“We may look different, but we feel the same.”
A mother guinea pig loves to tell her young ones each night how special they are and where there names originated from, but she could not remember where Betelgeuse came from. That is until Milly and Molly, two little girls from different ethnic backgrounds, stumble across a shining star. This 32 page book is one of 48 books in the Milly, Molly series, each one giving parents the opportunity to teach their children about everyday questions they may face and how to get along with others. Encouraging values such as cooperation, respect, forgiveness, trustworthiness, responsibility, loss and grief, and many others, to help them become happy, successful, well-adjusted people. Following a fellow writers advice, I did a bit of research and was surprised to learn that the concept of Milly, Molly was born from hand knitted wool dolls that Gill Pittar used to make for her hand-made specialist shop here in Auckland, New Zealand (which I probably visited) back in 1994. Gill Pittar and her husband shifted from their rural farm life to Auckland in 1992, after losing a daughter, and to help rehabilitate their son who suffered a brain injury. In 1996 the dolls are marketed internationally and by 2001 Gill Pittar had started writing and marketing her books on the Milly, Molly dolls, then Television NZ took an interest in wanting to create a children’s television series.
After a couple of attendances in Book fairs in Germany, 20 more books are published by 2003 with interest in countries such as Italy, France, England, USA and Canada. Over the next few years a Trust is set up and books and dolls are sent to countries where they cannot afford to buy them. Five thousand dolls are donated to “Toy for Tots” program in New York and 16000 books donated to First National Bank in the United States. With such countries as Spain and Portugal extending their contracts to 64 books, along with South Africa, Milly, Molly expands to 103 countries and is published in 25 languages. What I loved and was humbled to learn is that part of the proceeds from the sale of every book go to a Friends of Milly, Molly Inc charity, which aims to promote acceptance and learning life skills through literacy “for every child a book”, to such places as Afghanistan and East Timor.
Take a look at her lovely website www.millymolly.com/Home/tabid/38496/Default.aspx and read such reviews as from Professor Dr Sigrid Markmann, Dean of Literature, and of curriculum English in Germany and Canada. With interviews in places such as South Africa, Gill Pittar , sets out to promote tolerance, communication, understanding, and love between people in New Zealand and around the world.
This was indeed an amazing find. An inspiration for aspiring writers.