Tag Archives: Raewyn Caisley

#In This Together Reconciliation Week 2020 & Rocky and Louie

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Rocky & Louie – Phil Walleystack, Raewyn Caisley and Dub Leffler

Penguin Australia

  • Published: 28 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143786528
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $24.99

I’ve saved this one for this week to time with Reconciliation Week 2020 as we take up this year’s theme, which as it turns out has proven apt in even more ways than originally intended. Despite many years of activism and advocacy there are still so many who fail to either realise or acknowledge the terrible wrongs done to our First Australian peoples. Regular readers of this blog will know how strongly this cause resonates with me given my children and grandchildren are proud Wiradjuri people.

Naturally then I never miss the opportunity to share cultural awareness with my students and others which is why reviewing books of Indigenous authors or themes is always so important to me.

Rocky and Louie takes a topic dear to the hearts of many young Australians, namely football, and weaves this into a narrative that underlines the sacred connection to country and culture for First Australians.

Rocky has a big dream and is determined to pursue it but when the time comes for him to leave country and go to the city, little brother Louie is fearful and anxious. Louie has learned all about football from his big brother but also about the importance of their culture, people and country and he’s worried that Rocky will lose his connection to all this and his family while he’s gone.

So he comes up with the idea of making Rocky a very special boomerang to remind him that he will always return to the place of his true belonging. The reader goes with Louie to find just the right branch and sits with him while Uncle Phil shows him how to shape it perfectly. And of course it makes the parting gift not only fitting but intensely meaningful as these two brothers demonstrate the closeness of their bond.

The text co-written by Raewyn Caisley, whose ability to transform her words about families into such seemingly simple but powerful layered meanings, and Phil Walleystack, Noongar man and internationally renowned singer-songwriter and storyteller, transcends a mere story of two footy-loving brothers and transforms this into a heartfelt testament to the strength, resilience and dignity of Aboriginal family life and culture.

The illustrations by Dub Leffler (so talented!) utterly capture the boys’ country, native animals, family and their smiling faces with such a divine skill that it will immediately transport readers to the setting.

Raewyn writes about this as her ‘most significant project’: ..’Rocky and Louie is about belonging to country and it is our gift, not only to Aboriginal children, but to all of Australia…….inside is a story that Phil, Dub and I believe has the power to change our nation.’

It goes without saying that I cannot recommend this highly enough and believe it is another essential addition to your collection. My copy will be shared with young Wiradjuri children whom my daughter is guiding in their cultural growth and education and I know it will be well received.

#In This Together

Aussie Kids series #3 & #4

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Penguin Random House

March 2020

This new series for newly independent readers has already been a big hit in our junior library. Not only are the stories relatable to these young readers but they are able to explore Australia vicariously – and let’s face it, at present particularly this is a huge advantage.

 

Meet Eve in the Outback – Raewyn Caisly & Karen Blair

9781760894108

ISBN: 9781760894108

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $12.99

Many young readers will have enjoyed the picture book Hello from Nowhere which was the first introduction to Eve who lives in the middle of the Nullarbor, remote and isolated but at the same time full of life and adventure. Now we have the opportunity to visit this amazing location again when Eve has another visit from her grandmother but this time with the added excitement of her cousin, Will, coming along.

Now readers are treated to exploring the wide expanse of country and dropping in on neighbours – a mere forty minutes away. Newborn lambs, kangaroo mobs, wild camels, spinifex, waterholes and more are just some of the discoveries of a setting that many children will likely never have the experience of exploring in real life.

Once again interesting factual snippets are sprinkled throughout and the joy that this unusual setting brings will both inform and entertain young readers.

Meet Katie at the Beach – Rebecca Johnson & Lucia Masciullo

9781760893675

ISBN: 9781760893675

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $12.99

The very first thing that I love about this particular new addition to the series is that Katie and her family live in a high-rise apartment in the middle of the lively and busy Gold Coast and this is a setting as unusual (in fiction) as the Nullarbor.

Little readers will certainly all connect with Katie’s story and her wobbly tooth problem but will also relish the quintessential Queensland aspects of surf, beach cricket, sea creature fun and mangoes.

Little ones can find out more about crabs and tides at the same time as simply enjoying Katie’s day out down at the beach – and of course, right now when we are all restricted to such activity will be able to envisage when they too can once again go ‘out’ with family for picnics

 

This series is perfect for independent reading or incorporated into the unit of learning that incorporates finding out more about our beautiful country.

Highly recommended for your kiddos from around Year 1 upwards.

Don’t forget to check out the activity pack for this series here