Tag Archives: Indigenous stories

Magabala Magic

Standard

As you know any books from Magabala make my heart sing because a) they are always so beautiful b) they enable me to promote the First Australian culture which is so important to my family. Here are three of the newest titles:

Brother_Moon-Cover-_Low-Res_x250

Brother Moon – Maree McCarthy Yoelu & Samantha Fry

March 2020

ISBN 9781925936827

RRP: $24.99

This is a beautiful and powerful story that has been inspired by the author’s great-grandfather sharing it with her in her childhood.

Beneath a dark night sky in the Northern Territory, beautifully captured in the atmospheric illustrations, a great-grandfather shares with his great-grandson his deep connection with his brother the moon which guides him his connection to country. He details how the phases of the moon let him know the proper time for hunting and fishing providing sustenance and underlines the importance of our relationship with the natural world.

Great-grandpa Liman is a masterful storyteller and as an elder has the privilege of teaching his young descendant about this important aspect of culture and living in harmony with country.

This provides not only a significant topic for use with Indigenous children but is a valuable resource for cross-cultural studies in the classroom when investigating the moon and night sky topic. [ACARA: researching knowledges held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples regarding the phases of the moon and the connection between the lunar cycle and ocean tides (OI.3OI.5)]

Liman (Harry Morgan), the author’s grandfather, was a respected Wadjigany man — a leader amongst his people and the community. Liman was born at Manjimamany in the Northern Territory in 1916. He was a canoe maker, hunter, community mediator, and a family man who lived off the land and travelled the seas. Liman spoke Batjamalh, his first language, and other languages from the Daly River area.

Find teaching notes here

Mum_s-Elephant-_2020_-cover-Low_Res

Mum’s Elephant – Maureen Jipiyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe/Christina Booth

April 2020

ISBN 9781925936728

RRP: $17.99

This was a joy to read and has already been shared to great success. O’Keefe has created a very special narrative from a childhood memory of her mother’s prized ‘elephant’. Growing up in a remote community the family did not have many possessions but the ‘elephant’ was a particular focus in the sense of community and connection. Her mother would lovingly tend to the ‘elephant’ and often slept with it beside her bed.

Throughout Booth’s illustrations carefully deepen the wondering about the ‘elephant’ and how it could possibly be so important – or indeed even exist. Readers will love to conjecture as to it’s true purpose as gradually more clues indicate it’s actual identity.

The ultimate revelation will lead to some wonderful discussions on similarly important items in children’s own homes and the significance of special objects in creating strong bonds in our personal circles.

Respect

Respect – Aunty Fay Muir, Sue Lawson. Illustrated by Lisa Kennedy

May 2020

ISBN 9781925936315

$24.99

This the first in a new four-part series which will be of primary importance in any teaching program or for sharing with young readers.  This creative team, who need no introduction, have once again produced a book which will become a staple in any cross-cultural discussions or units of work.

Through lyrical text and absolutely stunning illustrations readers are shown the importance of family, particularly with regard to the need to listen, learn and share. While this is of paramount regard within First Australian culture, there can be no argument that it is also a vital lesson for any of our young people.

This gentle literary walk through a way of life and society that is the oldest in existence in the world, the significance of country and nature and the sharing of stories will delight and engage any young readers whilst also informing adults.

Find teaching notes here.

As always my highest recommendations go with these fabulous new titles from our leading Indigenous publishing company.

My copies are already in use in my daughter’s classroom as she guides the Indigenous children at her school in their culture and have been very well-received.

My Culture and Me – Gregg Dreise

Standard

9780143789376.jpg

Penguin

May 2019

ISBN: 9780143789376

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $24.99

Gregg’s first picture books were contemporary styled versions of traditional stories told to him by his family and elders. They were beautiful, joyous and hugely popular with my readers.

This latest diverges a little but is a glorious celebration of First Australian culture. As readers of this blog are well aware by now, my girls and grandies are Wiradjuri people. This Friday Miss K will play a significant role in her school’s belated NAIDOC celebration and of course I will go to my school late so I can see it! Her mum would be so proud of this deadly young woman – as indeed am I.

In this vibrantly illustrated and lyrically written book Gregg explores and elucidates beautiful highlights of Indigenous culture – a ‘call to arms’ almost for all Australians, whether Indigenous or not, to admire the affinity with country and culture held dear by First Australians.

I particularly love the subtle (or maybe not) inclusion of Gregg himself in the illustrations, a proud Kamilaroi and Euahlayi man, who through his artistry and performance brings the ‘culture, unity and wisdom’ to his audiences.

Having had the privilege of seeing Gregg present to our younger students in 2017 I can thoroughly endorse not only his entertaining and informative presentations but his beautiful and generous spirit.

Highly recommended to all who are looking for special books of inclusion.

Alfred’s War – Rachel Bin Salleh/Samantha Fry

Standard

alfred_s_war_high_res_

Magabala Books

April 2018

ISBN: 9781925360608

RRP $19.99

The Australian War Memorial archives suggest that between 1 000 and 1 300 Indigenous men and women served during World War 1 (just as an unknown number had volunteered for the Boer War earlier in the century) despite not even being accorded as citizens of their own country. For the most part their service, actions and heroism have been largely ignored and conveniently forgotten during the past hundred plus years. It is apparent that at least 70 Indigenous soldiers took part in the doomed Gallipoli campaign with at least 13 having died there, these statistics having only been confirmed during the past two years. As well as the general lack of recognition for anything achieved by First Australians, certainly a great difficulty was the lack of detail of Aboriginality included on military records (for the most part).  Be that as it may, the evidence is clear. There were a significant number of First Australians serving the country that despised, who were paid and treated with equity during this service, and then subsequently relegated back to inferior status on their return. Another shameful episode in our combined history.

Afred’s War is a poignant and powerful tribute to these forgotten war veterans. The reader follows Alfred’s wanderings around the country and his participation on the fringes of ANZAC Day commemorations. There’s been no returned soldier’s settlement land for this digger, nor support for a permanent disability arising from his wounds. Instead he’s chosen a solitary life walking the dusty back roads with his swag and billy, picking up work where and when he can.

Yet his contribution to the war effort and his loyalty to his country was just as valuable as any other soldier, despite his country’s rejection even denial of his and his peoples’ basic human rights.

The book is simply written but is just as effective for all that and an exceptional way to introduce a discussion on human rights, citizenship, First Australian history as well as the Indigenous contribution to the Great War.

Teaching notes can be found here.

 

Highly recommended for your collection as an important addition for ANZAC and Remembrance Day.

8462434-3x2-940x627

Queenslander, Douglas Grant, arguably WW1’s most well-known Indigenous veteran.

6091654

Mad Magpie – Gregg Dreise

Standard

 

Magabala Books

May 2016

ISBN 9781925360066

RRP $24.99

Once again Sunshine Coast author and illustrator Gregg Dreise has produced a sumptuous and vibrant take on traditional Aboriginal morality tales. Continuing with his series featuring birdlife Mad Magpie follows a theme of bullying and resilience. Drawing on inspiration from his Elders Gregg relates the story of a magpie called Guluu who is continually harassed and teased by butcher birds.

Of course Guluu’s reactive defence of anger just does not impact on his tormentors and the plaguing continues.  He consults his wise Elders seeking advice. Old Dinewah the emu, Bulul the mopoke owl and Gulayaali the pelican explain that being ‘tough and angry’ will not solve his problem. They advised him to stay calm like the water flowing in the river and to ignore the butcher birds.

“The butcher birds act tough because they’re in a group. They think it’s funny to see you get angry. Show them how a creature can be strong on the inside.”

As so many others have found in similar circumstances this is not easy and Guluu continues to be frustrated and feel his anger rise.

Until he decides to sing, just as he used to before he became so angry all the time. His loud birdsong completely drowns out the jeering of the bullies and they give up and fly away.  Standing proud and alone Guluu demonstrates that just one can overcome many.

In time even the butcher birds learn to sing and the community achieves a harmonious and bully-free life together.

Sing! Dance! Laugh! Love!

 

We can all learn from the lesson of Mad Magpie.

Highly recommended for children from around the age of four upwards. If you have not seen Gregg’s other books do yourself a favour and seek them out. I have previously reviewed both Silly Birds and Kookoo Kookaburra and also warmly recommend them to you.

With my Small’s proud Wiradjuri heritage these are all firm favourites in our home.

Click on the image to read an article from First Nations Telegraph.

gregg

crowd

Crabbing with Dad – Paul Seden

Standard

crabbing_with_dad_high_res_

Magabala Books

April 2016

ISBN:9781925360158

RRP $17.95

 

As our summer merges into autumn with no abate to the warm weather seemingly, this will be a great read aloud for your smaller humans especially those who live near the water. Paul Seden’s picture book is chockfull of colour and activity as a family goes up the creek to try some crabbing.

With both Indigenous and non-Indigenous characters this is a truly inclusive story for children to celebrate this quintessentially Australian pastime of water recreation. Paul is Darwin-based and descended from the Wuthathi and Muralag people of North Queensland. His first successful foray into picture books, writing and illustrating, is based on his own experiences spending time with his family having adventures and fishing the creeks around Darwin.

One particularly enjoyable feature is the use of creative font to emphasise the onomatopoeia used throughout story which could easily take this book into a teachable moment. The story also lends itself well to writing and sharing children’s own recounts of their own family recreational adventures.

Two double-page spreads stand out for me. The first: a split view of Dad and the kids in the tinny and the variety of creatures under the surface of the creek – it is just gorgeous and so evocative of similar locations. The second: a highly annoyed captured crab – readers will love shouting out the ‘big angry crab’ text!

This really is a must have for your picture book collection and I highly recommend it for readers from Prep up to around Year 3/4.

realcrab

Stolen Girl – Trina Saffioti and Norma MacDonald

Standard

stolengirl

Magabala Books

Published: Jan 2011

Size: 245 x 205

Pages: 36

ISBN: 9781921248252

Ages: Lower primary

RRP $19.95

Although this is an older picture book from Magabala’s catalogue, the fact that it has now had two reprints testifies to its value in any library collection or indeed home bookshelf.

A fictionalised telling of one girl’s experience as part of the Stolen Generation, it is based on what might have happened to the author’s own grandmother who was stolen away from her family.  The illustrator’s grandmother was also a stolen child so both Trina and Norma are able to bring personal family stories and emotions to this work.

The story begins in a children’s home and the reader finds out how the girl arrived there through her recollections of her life before being taken.  The reader is taken into the home with its harshness and lack of compassion but rather than dwell on the grimness of the situation, we become part of the girl’s dreaming hopes and her determination to return home.

In the spirit of Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence this little girl plans her route and at the right moment makes her escape homeward. As she sets off our hearts go with her, willing her safety and success in her journey.

A beautiful book which tells an important story, beautifully illustrated by highly successful Indigenous artist Norma MacDonald.

Find teaching notes for this book here.

stolengirl2