Mophead: How your difference makes a difference

Review by Deb Marsden, Guidance Counsellor & Secondary School teacher

Selina Tusitala Marsh. (2020). Auckland University Press.

But we’re not made to be the same”

Mophead is a delightful graphic memoir that brought back memories of reading Spike Milligan’s Bad Jelly the Witch as a child. The simple ‘doodle-like’ graphics along with the humorous method in which the story is told helps to get a serious message across without feeling ‘lectured to’. Mophead discusses feeling the need to conform and being bullied for being different. Character Selina feels the need to conform and try to be like everyone else, until she meets Sam, who lives life celebrating his individuality, inspiring Selina to be the same. As Selina embraces her wild hair and becomes confident in her own skin, she begins to shine in all aspects of her life.

At first glance, Mophead could be considered a children’s picture-book, however I would argue that the book’s messaging will resonate with children and adults alike. It poses questions such as: How do we treat others who are different to us? How might this make them feel? What aspects of our own uniqueness do we hide in order to ‘fit in’? What are we missing out on by trying to ‘be the same’? Selina Tusitala Marsh has written a book filled with hope that demonstrates the power of simply being yourself.

The Mental Health Foundation’s Information Service brings you reviews this Pink Shirt Day on books with bullying prevention themes.

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“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”