I’m a passionate advocate for diversity in picture books. I want my children and students to see their world reflected back to them on the pages of the books they read. I aim to curate book collections, at home and in the classroom, that are filled with stories told by diverse voices. I want my kiddies and students to listen deeply and to let these stories in, as Kathleen Kemarre Wallace implores.
Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to many picture books by Indigenous Australian authors. This was mainly due to the fact that Indigenous voices, at the time of my childhood, weren’t given many platforms from which to speak and share their stories with a wider audience.
Luckily for my children, our bookshelves are heaving with Magabala Books. Magabala is a not-for-profit publishing house who produce, support and celebrate literature written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors and artists. All of the books in this post are from Magabala and were provided free for review purposes. I always post my honest opinions and never post books that I do not rate.
If you’d like more suggestions for picture books by Indigenous Australian authors, check out part one of this series and part two here.
“Way up north when the mighty storms come,
lightening flashes though liquorice clouds.“
The interplay of this text’s figurative language with the detailed illustrations is exquisite
It celebrates the intense relief and rebirth that is brought to Mother Earth as the monsoonal rains hit during Northern Australia’s wet season.
We are shown how these rains impact the landscape and wildlife. This would be an excellent accompaniment to a unit on seasons and weather; particularly Indigenous interpretations of seasons.
This one tugs at the heart strings and reminds us of the timelessness and power of childhood memories.
An elderly lady recalls the childhood camping trips that she would go on with her family.
We are shown the family as they move through the Western Australian landscape.
She admits that it is becoming harder and harder to recall details and the memories flash in and fade out.
A beautiful but bittersweet read.
These two board books form a part of the “Young Art” series which showcases the work of young Indigenous artists.
“At the Zoo” by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells was the first book in the series.
All of the books in the series are very popular with the toddler critic in this house.
Each spread contains a simple descriptive phrase- scuttling crabs, queenly cassowary, hungry pigeons- with the illustrations being the Hero. All of the illustrators in this series have vastly different styles but are all eye-catching and perfect for little eyes to pore over.
These are an excellent Early Childhood resource, but would also be valuable for units on descriptive language.
This book is based on a song by the author, who is also a celebrated singer-songwriter.
It is a powerful tribute to the Indigenous men and women who were used as forced unpaid labour in the Western Australian pearling industry during the nineteenth century. Indigenous people were used to free dive for pearl shell and faced many dangers.
It follows the journey of one young man as he is taken from his home and country to work on a lugger alongside Japanese and Malay divers.
The book ends with the lyrics and sheet music to the song.
What happens when you live on a remote property but dream of swashbuckling on the high seas?
You use your imagination and launch the laundry basket into choppy seas!
Molly faces some salty buccanneers (who strangely look like the pet chickens.)
She scales the ship’s rigging (or is it the clothes line?)
This is a rollicking good read and children will love spotting the every day items that are transformed by Molly’s imagination.
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All of the books in this post were provided free for review purposes. I always post my honest opinions and never post books that I do not rate.