The Whale Rider is better known as a film than as a book in the UK, but the novel, by distinguished New Zealand Maori novelist Witi Ihimaera, is a great read. A short book, told in a frank, colloquial tone by Rawiri, Kahu’s layabout, lovable biker uncle, it tells the story of Kahu, a girl born in place of the son her grandfather wanted. Kahu’s Nanny insists on naming her after Kahutia Te Rangi, the tribe’s ancestor and the famous Whale Rider of the title. Kahu’s grandfather is a renowned tribal elder (nicknamed Super Maori by his sons) who maintains a girl cannot inherit the chief’s title. But Kahu does, and the story is beautiful. A wonderful read for teenagers. The film’s amazing too and has been a favourite of my kids since they were very small.