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Press Kit - NZ & Global Media

Press Release November 2018

Sign Language Video for Kiwi Feelings Book Proves Popular with Deaf Students

The video, released on TuriTV is of Deaf tutor Matthew Flynn telling the story of Jack Feels Big in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), along with the text and illustrations of the book. Karen Pasco of Kotuku Cottage at Wharenui School said the children were very excited, and remembered when the author, Adam Millen, visited in October 2016.

The Resource departments of van Asch and Kelston Deaf Education Centres worked closely to create an engaging translation for students and their families. As the project was lead and produced by Deaf people from around the country, regular Skype meetings were held to review and discuss draft translations. The at-distance collaboration for NZSL users has been made possible by the use of video conferencing technology.

The project is an example of Deaf adults working to encourage and support young Deaf people to explore social emotional concepts in a visual language. Many students and families that will access the translation are also learning NZSL, so the translators needed to take care not only to make the story engaging in NZSL but also that the signs are clear and suitably paced for a learning audience.

Jack Feels Big was written by Mr Millen to help kids learn the names for their feelings. It uses five illustrated stories to help kids learn the words overwhelmed, persistent, frustrated, brave and lonely. Resource Centre Manager Andrew Townshend said “Jack Feels Big was published at a time when social emotional wellbeing of Deaf students was a major focus and priority for both Deaf Education Centres in New Zealand.”

When Mr Millen wrote the book and it’s sequel Sophie Feels Like Me, he included the NZSL and te reo Māori for each of the feeling words, at the start of each story. Townshend said “As the story integrates NZSL (New Zealand Sign language) throughout, it was a natural next step to create a full NZSL video translation of the story”.

Mr Millen visited Deaf students in Auckland during his North Island book tour in March 2017.


Both books are available online at

In 2017 Adam Millen left his day job as an engineer to visit schools and ECE centres to read his first book (Jack Feels Big) to kids. His goal was to help kids learn the names for their feelings through illustrated stories.

Jack Feels Big has stories for "frustrated", "persistent", "overwhelmed", "brave" and "lonely". The second book, Sophie Feels Like Me covers "embarrassed", "humility", "grief", "empathy" and "rejection".

"I think it's incredibly important to teach kids the names for their feelings, and that these books are really effective as a tools for achieving that" says Adam.

The title page for each story includes the te reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language for the feeling. The story then starts with Jack's latest costume. A situation is quickly developed where the particular feeling is felt and clearly identified. The situation is resolved and at the end of each story is a reflection page, encouraging parents to take time to talk with their children about their experience with the feeling.

Author Adam Millen is an engineer who is keen on seeing crazy ideas become reality. Taking the first book in this series, Jack Feels Big volume 1, from crazy idea to reality was a huge learning experience, a heap of work and incredibly rewarding. Adam enjoys exploring the outdoors and reading the internet.

llustrator Matt Haworth trained at Animation College NZ and has five years of experience as a freelance illustrator. He teaches illustration classes with McLeay Workshops, sells his art books and fanart at conventions like CHROMACON. He's a black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys B-Grade horror movies.

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