Pram Jam with Beth – Celebrating NAIDOC week

Hello everyone, somehow it is time for yet another Pram Jam blog – I don’t know about you, but this year seems to be a confusing mix of time moving very slowly and incredibly quickly all at once. I cannot explain it… it’s bizarre.

Anyhow, here we are in November and although Children’s Book Week was only a moment ago, it’s now NAIDOC week.

Morgan and Kwaymullina book cover collage

There are so many gorgeous titles to choose from this NAIDOC week! I hope that you will be able to find some WA based authors and illustrators to fill your book bag.

Because of the whole time moving quickly and slowly thing, I’ve lost days of work time and blogging opportunities, and my head hasn’t really been in writing mode, but that’s okay, because we all have our moments: this week it’s time for our Indigenous creative artists to shine!

Whether they are authors or illustrators, I love to see a local family thrive in the publishing world.

The story of Sally Morgan is one that is well known to many Western Australians, and the addition of her children’s experiences to the Morgan/Kwaymullina narrative and story lines brings even more colour and depth for our enjoyment.

Storytelling through traditional art techniques.

As a long time lover (and print collector!) of Sally Morgan’s artworks, I do tend to linger over the illustrations in this collection of picture books. Sally’s daughter Ambelin has inherited her mother’s wonderfully expressive knack for telling stories through illustrations, and along with Sally’s sons Ezekiel and Blaze the whole family are master story tellers – no doubt a skill instilled in them through years of bedtime stories!


Bush bash / Sally Morgan & Ambelin Kwaymullina.

Dingo is headed somewhere looking excited, and the other animals want to know where he’s going. Dingo won’t say, so the others follow along in hot pursuit – two nosy numbats, three flying frogs, four burrowing bilbies. The animals are in for a surprise when Dingo’s final destination is revealed on the last page. As well as being a counting book, this is a seek-and-find story. There is one aboriginal artefact plus one non-native animal on each colourful spread. Written by Sally Morgan and illustrated by Ambelin Kwaymullina, this book is perfect for the youngest members of the family.

Cover image for :  Bush bash / Sally Morgan & Ambelin Kwaymullina.
Cover Image for: Dream little one, dream / written by Sally Morgan ; illustrated by Ambelin Kwaymullina.

Dream little one, dream / written by Sally Morgan; illustrated by Ambelin Kwaymullina.

Based around different Australian native animal mothers sharing the natural world with their young, this lovely rhythmic picture book with environmental and indigenous themes is a charming and joyous introduction to peace ecology for young children. It is also simply a lovely lullaby-like celebration of nature that makes a perfect bedtime read, written by Sally Morgan and illustrated in the vividly colourful style of her daughter Ambelin Kwaymullina.

The lost girl / story by Ambelin Kwaymullina ; illustrations by Leanne Tobin.

Ambelin Kwaymullina switches from illustrator to author in this beautiful story of how Mother Nature helps a lost girl find her way back to her family. The girl had lost her way. She had wandered away from the Mothers, the Aunties and the Grandmothers, from the Fathers and the Uncles and the Grandfathers. Who will show her the way home? Your bigger toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy this beautiful book, full of ‘I spy’ opportunities on every page.

Cover Image for:  The lost girl / story by Ambelin Kwaymullina ; illustrations by Leanne Tobin.
Cover Image for: Little koala lost / Blaze Kwaymullina, Jess Racklyeft.

Little koala lost / written by Blaze Kwaymullina; illustrated by Jess Racklyeft.

This Australian counting book tells the story of a little koala lost in the bush, trying to find a home. Along the way he meets two marvellous magpies, three tricky turtles and more – until he finds ten kooky koalas feasting on gum leaves and decides to join them! A wonderful introduction to Australian animals and counting for our little Pram Jammers!

Dingo in the dark / written by Sally Morgan ; illustrated by Tania Erzinger.

Dingo is afraid of the dark. He can’t sleep if Sun is not there to watch over him. Can his friends find a way to make him feel safe when night falls? A lovely exploration of fears and phobias, with some great discussion opportunities about nocturnal animals and ‘Aaarrooo’ howls! This one was my pick to read aloud with the Pram Jam families this particular NAIDOC week.

Cover Image for:  Dingo in the dark / written by Sally Morgan ; illustrated by Tania Erzinger.

A rousing version of Wanjoo by Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse.

Click here if video does not appear above

I sincerely hope that you are inspired to search for more of Gina and Guy’s performances on YouTube, and if you were fortunate enough to score tickets to the Wanjoo singing workshop at Success Library this week, I am envious! I hope that you have opportunities to celebrate NAIDOC week in your own way: Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.