‘Maria’s family’ books and posters


Click to below to download the posters for parents to help their children learning about farming life: Helping your child learn through talking – Helpim Pikinini Blo Yu Long Toktok – Things you can talk to your child about

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As a resource for local women farmers, teachers and community educators, the aim of the books is to teach key agricultural messages to women farmers; help mothers engage in reading activities with their children; and develop literacy skills of both mothers and their children.The ‘Maria’s family’ books are a series of place-based children’s books for Papua New Guinea (PNG) families – a concept emerging from both the baseline study and from the many stories told by women participating in the PNG Women Farmers Business Project.

mn160a_wh_spreads_1 Marias family books two  Marias family books three



The ‘Maria’s family’ books were created and designed in collaboration with local women leaders and farmers in two sites in PNG. We thank the local collaborators for their contributions that make these books truly ‘place-based’ and ‘place-informed’.

East New Britain

Leaders: Kiteni Kurika and Elizabeth Medline Ling (National Agricultural Research Institute) and Kwadile Tuam ( Department of Primary Industry).

Tinganagalip community members and their leaders: Caroline Misiel, Marshall Marum and December Misiel.

Vunapalading 1 community members and their leaders, Judith Robin Bobo, Steven Liai, Roslyn Nguangua and Pastor Michael Ningi.

Western Highlands

Leader: Fredah Wantum

Kwinkya community members and their leader, Susan Trapu

Kumbareta community members and their leaders, Kay Simon and Lessie Pyare


The idea came from initial project research that found many women farmers were making simple mistakes in marketing their produce, and almost all were not budgeting for their agricultural and families’ futures. Research also revealed the literacy rate of project participants was very low (a key deterrent to attending traditional agricultural training), and the life goals of many local women farmers included becoming literate and helping their children complete their education.

The text was developed based on the research findings and edited for best practice in early childhood reading instruction. Draft illustrations followed (based on images, local stories and real life examples) and draft versions were piloted in the Western Highlands and East New Britain. The trials involved community workshops with mothers, fathers and children and additional trials in local schools. Through collaborative consultation, this process enabled feedback on text and illustrations with the goal of creating useful resources with local context and relevance.

The books were published and printed by ACIAR and were launched in Goroka in 2014 by the Australian Foreign Minister, the Hon. Julie Bishop – click here to read more about their launch.

The product

The final product is three illustrated dual language (Tok Pisin and English) children’s books within the ‘Maria’s family’ books series as follows:

Maria’s family saved their kina – Femili bilong Maria sevim moni (PNG wide edition)

Maria’s family goes to market – Femili bilong Maria go long maket (Western Highlands edition)

Maria’s family goes to market – Femili bilong Maria go long maket (East New Britain edition)

The Big Book version (large versions of the series) is designed for use in school classrooms, for adult literacy classes and for use by community groups and churches’ family groups.

Distribution and developments

Throughout 2015 the Maria books were distributed to all families who have children attending primary school in the focus villages in which they were developed.

The books are currently supported by a professional development program for school teachers and are part of the community training program for Village Community Educators. They will be used to run after school classes for mothers with low literacy to show them how to support their child’s learning. Community educators are also being trained on the use of the Big Book versions for community activities such as Church Fellowship groups.

Support, evaluation and follow-up in relation to the development and dissemination of the ‘Maria’s family’ book series is ongoing.