Indigenous Creators – Children’s Book Week
When this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia announced the Notable book lists for their annual award celebrating the best in Australian Children’s literature, there were a number of titles from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creators in the list.
I had planned to celebrate these books as part of NAIDOC Week but due to COVID-19, The National NAIDOC Committee has announced NAIDOC Week celebrations will be held from 8-15 November 2020. NAIDOC Week now falls after Children’s Book Week so I wanted to share this list with you in the lead up to Children’s Book Week instead.
Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller
Remember daughter, the world is a lot bigger than anyone knows. There are things that science may never explain. Maybe some things that shouldn’t be explained. Stacey and Laney are twins – mirror images of each other – and yet they’re as different as the sun and moon. Stacey works hard at school, determined to get out of their small town. Laney skips school and sneaks out of the house to meet her boyfriend. But when Laney disappears one night, Stacey can’t believe she’s just run off without telling her. As the days pass and Laney doesn’t return, Stacey starts dreaming of her twin. The dreams are dark and terrifying, difficult to understand and hard to shake, but at least they tell Stacey one key thing – Laney is alive. It’s hard for Stacey to know what’s real and what’s imagined and even harder to know who to trust. All she knows for sure is that Laney needs her help. Stacey is the only one who can find her sister. Will she find her in time?
Kulinmaya! Keep Listening, Everybody by Kunmanara Williams
Written in Pitjantjatjara and English, this book showcases the enduring legacy of senior Mimili Maku artist Mumu Mike Williams’ extraordinary life and art.
Notable for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year – Eve Pownall Award for Information Books 2020. You will find this book in the adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection.
Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe
Bruce Pascoe has collected a swathe of literary awards for Dark Emu and now he has brought together the research and compelling first person accounts in a book for younger readers. Using the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, Bruce Pascoe compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. He allows the reader to see Australia as it was before Europeans arrived – a land of cultivated farming areas, productive fisheries, permanent homes, and an understanding of the environment and its natural resources that supported thriving villages across the continent. Young Dark Emu – A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation.
You can also borrow the adult version – Dark Emu from the library today.
And check out Michaela’s review of the book.
Wilam: A Birrarung Story by Aunty Joy Murphy & Andrew Kelly, with illustrations by Lisa Kennedy
As ngua rises, Bunjil soars over mountain ash, flying higher and higher as the wind warms. Below, Birrarung begins its long winding path down to palem warreen. Wilam – home.
Cooee Mittigar: A Story on Darug Songlines by Jasmine Seymour, with illustrations by Leanne Mulgo Watson
A’Warami mittigar. Hello friend. We welcome you to Darug Country.’ Cooee Mittigar, meaning Come Here Friend, is an invitation to yana (walk), on Darug Country. In this stunning picture book, Darug creators Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson tell a story on Darug Songlines, introducing children and adults-alike to Darug Nura (Country) and language. Greeted by Mulgo, the black swan, readers are welcomed to Nura. Journeying through the seasons, Mulgo describes the land, skyscape, birds, animals and totems. It is a gentle guide to how Darug people read the seasons, knowing when it is time to hunt and time to rest. It is also an appeal to remember, off ering new ways of seeing and reading the lands of the surrounding Sydney region. With Darug language interspersed with English and an extensive glossary throughout, Cooee Mittigar presents an important tool for learning, told as a tender story with exquisite illustrations.
Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour
Baby Business tells the story of the baby smoking ceremony that welcomes baby to Country. The smoke is a blessing – it will protect the baby and remind them that they belong.
Little Bird’s Day by Sally Morgan, with illustrations by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
A simple, universal story of a day in the life of Little Bird as she sings the world alive, flies with Cloud, travels with Wind, nestles with Moon and dreams of flying among the stars. Sally Morgan’s beautiful words and Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr’s sensitive artwork combine to make this a beautiful, distinctive publication with global appeal. Johnny infuses his illustrations with his fine-art aesthetic, his traditional motifs and a quirky sense of humour.
If I have missed any books from this year’s Notable lists, please comment below and let me know.
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