Tag Archives: Outback Australia

A Swag of Magabala!

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Opening a parcel from Magabala Books is always such a joy! I love seeing what our First Australian authors and illustrators have created and they enable me to share rich culture and boundless talent with my readers.

First up is the absolute little treasure of a book:

Girls Can Fly – Sally Morgan/Ambelin Kwaymullina

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March 2020


ISBN978-1-925936-75-9

RRP: $16.99

Talented mother and daughter Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina have crafted a beautiful and inspirational book for tweens and teens drawing on their own life experiences. In a riot of colour and thoughtful and pithy texts for each thought, girls will find themselves dipping into this again and again. Young girls from the Kimberley and Pilbara Girls program were invited to offer feedback and their own thoughts on an early draft of the book and they are beautifully acknowledged at the back of book with photographs and information about the successful and transformational program

If you are looking for a special book for a young girl in your life, a worthy addition to  your collection or perhaps a new ‘feature’ book for upcoming International Women’s Day this would be a superb choice. I think mine will go to my girl first of all and then will spread its ripples among some of my students in my new library.

Highly recommended for girls from around 10 upwards.

 

 

Bubbay’s desert adventure – Josie Wowolla Boyle. Illustrated by Fern Martins.

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March 2020

ISBN978-1-925936-79-7

RRP: $17.99

The Australian outback is a lonely place. For some it’s very isolation and empty spaces hold even more loneliness. For Bubbay, a little boy on his own with just his herd of goats and the stars for company, it is even more so. He does have one other person to occasionally visit. Mrs Timms lives down on the plains and sometimes Bubbay trades his goat milk for her eggs. He doesn’t know how fondly Mrs Timms regards him so when he wishes for  a family of his own and Gubbarlee the grandmother appears to him with a quest he has no idea what joy lies ahead.

With the help of Gubbarlee as well as kangaroo, emu, bower bird and crow Bubbay fulfils his magical quest and gains the family love he so craves.

This is a simple and heart-warming story which underlines the need of all children to feel treasured and safe. The illustrations are perfect – with a dream-like mystical quality that enhances the text and allows the readers to explore their own imagination.

Highly recommended for young readers from around 5 years upwards.

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Mum’s Elephant – Maureen Jipyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe and Christina Booth

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April 2020

ISBN: 9781925936728

RRP: $17.99

No, you wouldn’t expect to find an elephant in the Australian outback especially in a very remote community but to a child what might be an ‘elephant’ can well be something just as special and significant. The author has taken an endearing memory of her childhood and woven it into a delightful and oft humorous story for little readers of her mother’s most prized possession.

Growing up in the Northern Territory remoteness near Tennant Creek O’Keefe recalls the importance of her mother’s ‘elephant’ and the role that it played in creating bonds and community sharing on their remote station homeland.

As to be expected Christina Booth’s illustrations are evocative of the harsh red outback and with skill keep the true identity of the elephant tantalisingly hidden until the final reveal.

This is just simply delightful and will, I have no doubt, resonate with young children who will want to nominate their own mothers’ special treasure as well as with adults who may well have their own fond memories of their mum’s ‘special elephant’.

Again, highly recommended for little readers and highly suitable for Prep onwards, particularly when integrated with exploration of family and community.

 

All three are available for pre-order now so don’t miss out on adding these to your shelves!

Outback Wonder – Juliet M. Sampson

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Brolga Publishing

2017

ISBN: 9781925367935

RRP $19.99

Many of you will be familiar with Juliet’s recent picture book, Grace’s Mystery Seed, which has been widely praised and garnered considerable accolades – and rightly so.

However you may not be so well acquainted with her earlier novels which have also been positively received. Outback Wonder is Juliet’s third novel and eminently suitable for your readers who are embarking on their exploration of YA fiction – particularly if they prefer a novel without the overt or possibly contentious aspects of some.

Hannah is approaching her final year at school but is weighed down by the emotional upset caused by her parents’ separation. She is so depressed by this she feels she cannot even confide in her friends.  Her father who had been unable to find work for some time, causing much of the reason behind the marriage breakdown, has finally found a job he loves – out in the Flinders Ranges. The outback is so foreign a concept to Hannah that she cannot comprehend why anyone would want to go there and when her dad sends an email inviting her to visit during the holidays, she is beset with conflicting feelings. Though she misses her father terribly she has less than zero desire to visit the remote location and can only think of flies, snakes and endless desert landscapes – not to mention no friends, holiday outings, shops and cinemas.

Yet, when she arrives it doesn’t take long for her to become swept up in the unusual surroundings, the quirky characters and the unexpected delights which include opals and a certain good-looking young pilot named Sam. Along the way there is a wealth of description and vicarious observation of this stunning part of Australia.

During her stay Hannah is able to come to terms to some extent with the dilemma she has faced and with Sam’s help begins to reconcile her resentment of her personal situation, and accompanying turmoil, with the reality that her parents have parted for their own reasons.

For your girls aged from around 13 upwards who are looking for a novel that combines adventure, travel and romance this is a perfect choice. I can say only one particular point jarred with me which was within a reference to a photograph with koalas and the mention that Hannah was holding ‘the bear’ – oops!

Apart from that blip this would be a welcome addition to your shelves and a glimpse into a landscape that most likely will be unfamiliar to your readers but with a character with whom they can completely empathise.

You may also enjoy this blog post in conversation with Juliet.