05 July 2012

It's NAIDOC week!

Put on your party hats and your party shoes, shake a leg and stamp a foot in celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and the contributions made by Indigenous Australians doing all sorts of amazing things, in all sorts of awesome ways, all over this country.

For instance, in the field of children's literature, perhaps? OF COURSE!

Here are just a few fabulous books by Indigenous authors, artists and storytellers, to get you in the mood for celebrating.

Nunjul the Sun  by Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pryor 

'I'm heading out on m'own, down the highway to the big city. Going south. I lost my taste for knowing the old ways. I'm wanting what's new. What's exciting, what's out there on the other side of town. That's what got me on this bus. I gotta get out, see. This is my chance. My chance to do something.'

Nunjul the Sun continues the story of the young Murri boy begun in My Girragundji  and The Binna Binna Man . Njunjul's 16 now and moving to the city, where he'll have to deal with a whole bunch of stuff - like basketball and girls and teenage stuff and identity stuff and ... none of this conveys just how funny, warm and moving this book is. Read it.

Ten Scared Fish  and Kangaroos Hop by Ros Moriarty, illustrated by Balarinji

Perfect for the littlies.The kangaroos hop, the butterflies fly, the echidnas shuffle across the land and down to the water's edge where a sleepy crocodile lies ... Shhhh! 

Ubby's Underdogs by Brenton McKenna

Australia's first Indigenous graphic novel! We heard Brenton speak at Reading Matters and he was so interesting and funny and generally awesome we dashed off to read Ubby's Underdogs. DASH OFF TO READ IT! It's wonderful - and there are sequels. And, as an added bonus, it's full of fabulous girls. DASH OFF!

A multi-award winning classic, this book tells the story of how Anangu from five different language groups came to live together at Papunya. It is collaboration involving many voices and many hands -  the staff and students of Papunya School, working together with children's writer Nadia Wheatley and artist Ken Searle.

Shake a Leg by Boori Monty Pryor and Jan Ormerod

All you fellas watching, come up, join in, warrima.
Clap your hands, little ones.
Stamp your feet, nannas.
Get down and dance, you smart young things, mummas and daddas.
Let's get the whole town dancing!
Even the Prime Minister got in on the act

Maralinga - The Anangu Story  by Yalata and Oak Valley Communities with Christobel Mattingley

'Maralinga - the Anangu Story is our story. We have told it for our children, our grandchildren and their children. We have told it for you.' This is the story of the Anangu people of South Australia and their life before and after the UK government dropped nuclear bombs on their traditional lands. It is an important story for all Australians.

Yirra and her deadly dog, Demon by Anita Heiss and the students of La Perouse Primary School

Yirra's mum's sick of vacuuming up fur balls, the neighbours are fed up with having their undies nicked from the clothesline, and her step-dad just wants his slippers back. The fabulous, Anita Heiss, and kids from La Perouse Primary tell a hilarious, fast-moving, energetic story - a contemporary view of urban Indigenous Sydney life.

Playground compiled by Nadia Wheatley

An amazing anthology of true stories about childhood, compiled from a wide range of memoirs and oral histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Alongside reminiscences of getting bush tucker, going fishing and taking part in ceremony, there are descriptions of playing games, building cubbies and having fun. The warmth of home, the love of family and the strength of community shine through every story.

When I was Little, Like You by Mary Malbunka

Playing with friends, building cubby houses, climbing trees, collecting sugarbag, digging for honey ants, hunting for lizards, and learning about the seasons, animals and plants, Mary Malbunka creates a vivid picture of a truly Australian childhood in which country - ngurra - is life itself.

Maybe Tomorrow by Boori Monty Pryor and Meme McDonald 

'The other day this little one asked me, "When did you start being an Aborigine, and how old were you when you started that?" Like it was a career path or something. I just cracked up laughing.'
From the Aboriginal fringe camps of his birth to the catwalk, basketball court, DJ console and more...this is a new anniversary edition of Boori Monty Pryor's life, his pain, his joy and his hopes, and it is as powerful now as it was when it was first published.

Happy reading! Happy NAIDOC week!

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