American Samoa: Where Important Things Live
Although Elei loves her family and wants to honor their wish that she become a nurse, she has other ambitions she’d like to follow. But when she meets the teacher of her first humanities class, Culture of Polynesia, she sees her own Samoan culture in a new light, embracing her experience of the “in between” — and ultimately finding opportunities for herself that she had thought would be just a dream.
Note for Parents: Elei is what the Samoan people call a “Fa’afafine” or third gender. This occurs predominantly when someone born with a male body identifies as neither traditionally male nor female, but sees themselves as “in between.” Though this is a common and accepted identity in Samoa and most of Polynesia, we recognize that parents may wish to introduce concepts of “third gender” or “transgender” independently.
Note: Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.