Come into the Garden Hou Mai ki te Māra Storybooks are an important element of HIPPY. In the last few months, HIPPY NZ has developed and published four new storybooks for two-year-olds as part of the Ministry of Education contract to deliver the “Whanau In-Home Learning programme”. “Come into the garden. We have tiny seeds to sow. We’ll hide them in the damp, cool soil. I wonder what will grow!Hou mai ki te māra, He kano riki me whakatō pai, Ka hunaia ki te one haumākū, He aha rā ka tupu mai?!” And so begins the opening pages of the delightful rhyming story that follows the journey of a young girl and her mother from planting vegetable seeds in their garden to preparing a salad in the kitchen with the produce they have grown. Amanda Farmilo, HIPPY NZ Team Leader, is the project manager for the new storybooks and the author of one of the books, “Come into the Garden”. Amanda explains the first step was to select themes for the stories from the Te Whāriki Early Childhood Curriculum. These include well-being, communication, exploration, living things, belonging, and contributing to family life. With themes selected Amanda next had to find four authors to write the stories. Amanda loves writing and has always wanted to write a book, so when her manager suggested she could be one of the authors she started writing in secret. Although Amanda was excited by the opportunity, she didn’t want to agree to it until she knew she had something written down to offer. “I chose the ‘living things’ theme as I immediately felt inspired by my mother’s amazing garden. We didn’t yet have a counting story amongst all the HIPPY books, and we also wanted something sweet and whimsical, with lots of repetition and rhyming”. Amanda loves working with words and enjoyed the process of combining all these elements. Amanda quips “I was so nervous when I showed everyone my first attempt! But my team were so encouraging and provided me with great feedback for further drafts until I settled on a final version that I was happy with”. The story was field tested with families who had two-year-olds, and shared with HIPPY Management for final approval. New HIPPY storybooks Amanda shared themes for the remaining storybooks with the other three authors and they let her know which themes resonated with them. Fun at the Beach explores feelings, Hippy Hoppy Happy looks at movement (of our bodies) and Whānau celebrates belonging and contributing to a family. To honour the bi-cultural nature of Te Whāriki, all the four storybooks are in both English and Te Reo Māori. Thank you again to the Dragon Community Trust for supporting the printing costs of the four new storybooks. HIPPY (Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngers) is a home-based programme that helps parents to prepare their 2-5-year-old child ready for success in education. HIPPY is available in 28 communities across New Zealand.