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New book from mother-daughter duo — author Lani Wendt Young and Bella

Apia, SAMOA — Author Lani Wendt Young has released a new book titled ‘Mata Lulu’. It’s her 16th book, and it marks an exciting new direction for Samoa’s internationally acclaimed writer, as it’s a collaborative project with her daughter. Fourteen year old Bella Young did the illustrations, co-wrote one of the stories and has a story of her own in the collection.

 “This is especially exciting for me, because it’s the first time I got to work with one of my children on a book. I’m so proud of Bella’s creativity and hard work. Seeing both our names on the cover is really special,” said Young.

 ‘Mata Lulu’ is a collection of stories for young readers, aged 8 to 12 years old.  Inspired by our mythology and by a childhood spent growing up in Samoa, the stories range from suspense and sci-fi, to fantasy and humor. Each one has sketch drawings by the youth artist. It was released worldwide last month and was a Number 1 New Release for Australia and Oceania books. It is an ideal text for use in the classroom and many schools in New Zealand have already placed their orders.

What was it like for Bella to work with her mother on the book?

Cover of author Lani Wendt Young's latest book Mata Lulu with illustrations by her 14-year old daughter Bella. [courtesy photo]

 “It was fun and it was stressful. I love drawing but I wasn’t used to making art to other people’s requirements, or making pictures to a deadline. It was a learning experience for sure,” said Bella. “The end result was worth it. Seeing the finished book was cool.”

Bella is an avid writer who won first place in a local story contest when she was in Year 7. She co-wrote a story in this collection —  ‘Message from the Multiverse’. It tells of a young boy Siaki who is contacted by another version of himself living on a space station in an alternate future reality.

 “Bella really guided this story. I’m always so confused in movies about the multiverse, I’m the one sitting there loudly asking WHAT’S HAPPENING?” said Young. “Bella knows all about that dimensional stuff. She made this story way better than it started off as.”

Both Young and Bella agree that there will be more books from their mother-daughter duo. They have already started work on a second collection of stories.

(Source: Lani Wendt Young)