LisaHillSchoolStuff's Weblog

'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

Posts Tagged ‘Aboriginal art and culture’

Book review: Silly Birds, by Gregg Dreise

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 22, 2014


Silly Birds

Silly Birds is a delightful book with a clear message about the folly of joining in with destructive gangs.  The artwork is stunning.

Gregg Dreise is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people from south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales.  The youngest of eight children, he grew up in a family that valued sport, music and poetry, and was inspired to write by his mother, Lyla Dreise-Knox, who has been writing poetry for decades.

Currently a teacher on the Sunshine Coast, Gregg was inspired to write Silly Birds by hearing the Elders saying that it was ‘hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys’.   I love the way the book begins, and from now onwards, I plan to use its opening lines whenever I read indigenous stories about The Dreaming to my students:

Way back before Once-upon-a-time time, there was the Dreamtime…

Maliyan is an eagle who comes from a loving family that’s very proud of him.  They teach him to be a good listener, and to remember that talking too much is only for wombah thigaraa – silly birds.  So Maliyan becomes a well-respected bird, until he meets up with Wagun, a bush turkey and a braggart, a boaster and a bird that’s careless about others.  Alas, Maliyan is attracted to Wagun because of the fun they have, mocking the Elders – and talking, talking, talking.

The gang doesn’t listen to the Elders, and they cause a lot of trouble, especially when they pollute the billabong with their rubbish and cause food shortages by taking more than their share.  Fortunately Maliyan responds to his parents’ concern in time and he decides not to hang around with the turkeys any more.   With help from the Elders he changes his ways and gets back his ability to see and hear things from a long way away.  The other birds respect him again, and follow his example.

All except for Wagun.  He loses his ability for soaring flight – and his friends – and is reduced to scratching around in a limited world.

Like many indigenous stories I have read, Silly Birds has an explicit moral, but it is not didactic in tone.  This beautiful, brightly coloured and superbly illustrated picture book is a 21st century way of doing what our indigenous people have always done – teaching their children through the arts.  In indigenous oral culture, children learned what they needed to know through story, song and dance.  Making the transition into print means that we can all share the story, no matter where we live.

Gregg has also made a very 21st century book promo at YouTube!

Author & illustrator: Gregg Dreise
Title: Silly Birds
Publisher: Magabala Books, 2014
ISBN: 9781922142993
Source: Review copy courtesy of Magabala Books

Availability
Fishpond: Silly Birds
Or direct from Magabala Books

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews, Indigenous Teaching Resources | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Announcing 2014 Indigenous Writers Week at ANZ LitLovers

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 22, 2014


ILW 2014I am pleased to announce that ANZ LitLovers will again be hosting Indigenous Literature Week in the second week of July to coincide with NAIDOC Week here in Australia. (6 to 13 July). This is a week when Australians celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and this year the NAIDOC Week theme is Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond. ANZ LitLovers’ contribution to NAIDOC is to celebrate all forms of Indigenous Writing, and I hope that many of my readers will join in and read a book by an Indigenous author.

Here at LisaHillSchoolStuff, I will be placing my reviews of  children’s literature by indigenous authors, and tagging the reviews

If you would like to participate, your choice of indigenous literature isn’t restricted just to Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori literature. Participants are welcome to join in reading indigenous literature from anywhere in the world, from Canada to Guyana, from Native American to Basque to Pashtun or Ixcatec. (For a list of indigenous people of the world, see this list at Wikipedia.) As to how we define indigenous, that’s up to indigenous people themselves. If they identify as indigenous themselves, well, that’s good enough for me.

Thanks to contributions from a fantastic bunch of participants in ILW 2012 and 2013 the reading list is growing. For reasons of space and time and personal preference my ANZ LitLovers reading list is limited to literary fiction titles by indigenous Australian and New Zealand authors but participants are free to choose any form you like – short story, memoir, biography, whatever takes your fancy! The permanent link to my reading list (and to other sources) is on the ANZLL Books You Must Read page in the top menu I plan to generate a reading list of children’s books by indigenous authors here at LisaHillSchoolStuff as well, but for the time being please visit the one at ANZ LitLovers .

Thanks to all those who joined in last year and have encouraged me to host the week again.

Interested? Sign up now to give yourself time to source the book you want to read.  Click this link to go to the ANZ LitLovers page.

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Indigenous Teaching Resources | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Announcing 2014 Indigenous Writers Week at ANZ LitLovers

2013 HTAV Primary Teachers Conference Keynote address #2

Posted by Lisa Hill on August 26, 2013


Once again I am blogging this live, so I apologise in advance for typos, errors of omission or misinterpretation, and for the American spelling imposed by the software I’m using. 

Genevieve Grieves, curator at the Melbourne Museum began with the story of a forthcoming Melbourne Museum exhibition called First Peoples, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre. (I’m sorry, I didn’t catch the name of her country).  The other presenters were Amanda Reynolds and Rosemary Wrench from Melbourne Museum.

The presentation focussed on how the exhibition was created i.e. the process.  Curators’ job was to listen to Aboriginal communities across Victoria.

Focus:

  • Using Aboriginal voices and languages
  • Curriculum
  • A collaborative voice
  • Victoria

The exhibition includes the ‘harder stories’ i.e. frontier violence.

The entrance includes welcoming message sticks: if you touch them you hear indigenous people from different parts of Victoria saying welcome in different languages. 

Victorian iconography – less familiar to most than iconography from desert areas e.g. dot point paintings – includes

  • cloaks – including rare examples
  • baskets and shields – people can touch them and learn how they were made.
  • an immersive experience using Bunjil the eagle

Aboriginal history and culture involves 2000 generations of stories, which are tracks back through time to when Aboriginal people lived with mega-fauna, and which explores knowledge coming from science and from storytelling by Aboriginal elders.  Elders used observation and ingenuity the way that scientists do, and visitors are encouraged to look at images of tracks, signs, rock art etc. to interpret it.  Some artifacts were made especially for the exhibition using traditional methods, and the modules are set up to be immersive.  Community narrators explain the complex concepts involved in reading country and knowing the interconnected nature of knowledge.   Visitors can also explore how knowledge is passed on, because Aboriginal lore isn’t passed on by specialists, everyone is a teacher.

Much of this presentation involved images, video and sound from the exhibition so I’m not doing a very good job of sharing how interesting it was.  I’ll try to give a sense of the different modules:

  • The exhibition covers old ways, and early encounters with ‘Strangers from the Ccean’ (and the sadness that befell people at that time) which includes artifacts of explorers such as George Bass.  There is a memorial to people who lost their lives too, and there are stories from oral history about what happened, e.g. kidnapping by sealers. Some of this will be confronting but it is felt that people are ready for this now. 
  • Then there is Our Shared History with modules called e.g. Treaty and Tanderum, i.e. two laws side by side,comparing Batman’s infamous treaty with laws as represented by message sticks. 
  • There is Call to Fight which includes massacres and battles but also indigenous service.  The key concept here is that Australia has many battlefields. 
  • Burdens to Bear covers oral history stories sharing personal stories about how their lives were affected by various pieces of legislation controlling Aboriginal lives. 
  • Standing Strong is another model about protest movements, land rights struggles and so on. 
  • Working Hard explores Aboriginal contributions to the modern economy as well as the traditional work ethic. 
  • Coming Together explores NAIDOC Week and other modern ways of celebrating culture, continuing stories, celebrations and knowledge.

The Many Nations component of the exhibition includes showcases of objects from the 19th century and contemporary objects from all over Victoria.  This covers

  • Keeping places – beautiful handmade pieces
  • Animal creations – creation stories, animals that bring good luck, items never displayed before
  • Marking identity – timbers, shields etc
  • Working Country – tools and so on
  • Celebrating Culture – body ornamentation, musical instruments, clothing including fibres, feathers and bones etc.

These showcases also include objects that show ways in which children are included:

  • mother and daughter digging sticks
  • child-sized shields

and there’s an activity table for 4-9 year-olds, with games and puzzles etc. for children to engage with.  There’s also a showcase called Toy Stories, with toys to look at.  (Do check out my review of Bush Toys, Aboriginal Children at Play, by Claudia Haagen, I hope there’s an exhibition catalogue for First Peoples too?)

Perhaps there will be a virtual exhibition as well, I hope so, because not all children can visit the museum, for one reason or another.

The final part of this presentation was about the Generations part of the exhibition, with stories from indigenous people from all over Victoria, of all age groups.  Every time you walk into the Deep Listening Space you get a different multimedia experience, where you are invited to ‘listen with your head and your heart’.

This is the kind of exhibition that teachers really need to attend because it will give us lots of ideas about how to introduce Aboriginal perspectives across all kinds of history topics.  Learning about Aboriginal culture and history is a core responsibility for all teachers of history and although it’s a long journey with no endpoint, we have an obligation to keep learning.  I’ll be visiting this exhibition during school holidays as part of my own professional development.

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Australian Curriculum, Australian History, Conferences Attended, Learning and teaching, Professional Development | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on 2013 HTAV Primary Teachers Conference Keynote address #2

2013 Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 19, 2013


As in 2012, my companion blog ANZ LitLovers is hosting Indigenous Literature Week during NAIDOC week (7-14 July 2013), and readers of this blog are also invited to join.

You are welcome to contribute in any way that helps to promote reading indigenous literature.  On the ANZ LitLovers blog, the focus is on literary fiction and the occasional memoir, but readers can contribute reviews of any kind of book, as long as it’s by an indigenous author.  AS you can see from the sign up page you can contribute your review on your own blog, on a GoodReads or Library Thing page, or with a comment on the reviews page.

I will also set up a dedicated Reviews page on this blog so that all the reviews of children’s books are together where teachers can find them.

There’s a reading list for contributors wanting to read adult books at ANZ LitLovers and Emma from My Book Corner has kindly shared her list of indigenous literature resources for those who want to read children’s books.

So, please, join in.  Through the new Australian Curriculum cross-cultural Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Priority, every teacher is a teacher of Aboriginal history and culture, and most of us need to learn more about Australia’s First People.

I’m hoping that this will be an imitative that grows and grows, and all teachers will read at least one book by an Aboriginal author each year, maybe more!

PS Oh, and feel free to share teaching activities to go with the books you read:)

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Indigenous Teaching Resources | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on 2013 Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers

Book review: Bush Toys, Aboriginal Children at Play, by Claudia Haagen

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 16, 2013


Bush ToysA little while ago I posted about my curiosity as to whether or not there was a concept of ‘toys’ in nomadic lifestyles so I was very pleased yesterday when I stumbled across a whole book devoted to the topic.  The Bayside Library Service at Sandringham deserves to be congratulated because it’s the only library in metropolitan Melbourne that I’ve ever been in, that has a dedicated section of books about indigenous issues.  Amongst the treasures there, which include fiction and non-fiction books by indigenous authors; reference books; and books about indigenous issues by non-indigenous authors such as Dr Henry Reynolds and Dr Lyndall Ryan; I found Bush Toys, Aboriginal Children at Play, by Claudia Haagen, which was written for the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, to document their collection of artefacts.

It is a scholarly work, and unfortunately the photographs are really too small to use with classes at school, but it is a very useful book for teachers interested in extending their background knowledge about the lifestyles of Aboriginal children.  The new Australian Curriculum includes three cross-curriculum ‘priorities’, one of which is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, and (as I said in my previous post) one of the science topics includes Year 2 students identifying toys from different cultures that use the forces of push or pull.  This book shows me that Aboriginal children did indeed have toys and games like that, and a wealth of others besides.

The Contents page gives an indication of the book’s scope:

  1. First Toys: rattles and rings
  2. About camp: playing house; story games; drawing sticks for tracks and other sand games; dolls
  3. Bush tucker: bags and baskets; fire sticks and digging sticks; fishing gear
  4. Hunting and fighting games: spears and spear games; parrying games and mock fights; disc rolling and spearing; shields; missiles and mud balls; spearthrowers; boomerangs; other weapons (bow and arrow; stone axes; throwing sticks; darts; shanghais)
  5. Playing with sound: bullroarers; percussion toys; strings and whistles
  6. Water play: mud balls and mud slides; canoes; rafts
  7. Community play: ball games (composite balls; football; throwing and pursuit games); hockey; bowling or ‘jeu de boules’; spinning games; playing sticks; skipping; marbles; ‘board games’; airborne and returning toys; fireworks
  8. Other toys: hoops, tick-cat and quoits; whimsical toys and other figures; driving toys (trucks, rollers and trailers).

As you can see from the list, there are toys and games which  may derive from contact with European children, but the collection is diverse, gathered from museums around Australia.  It necessarily reflects records of Aboriginal societies constructed by Europeans over time, so the collection is incomplete and is filtered through European eyes.  Any games that were associated with secret ceremonies would never have been revealed to European observers either.  Not only that, but interest in the lives of children is a fairly recent topic of research and much of what is available has survived only by chance.  This is especially so because many games were played without equipment (you only have to think of hide-and-seek or chasey) and most toys were ephemeral.  They were often thrown away when the game was over; and if they were made from plants they soon degraded when exposed to the elements.   In general, Aboriginal cultures did not focus on ‘keeping’ or ‘owning’ or ‘treasuring’ toys.  Things were shared communally and left behind without regret when the community moved on.

But what is common to all of these toys and games – and probably universally to toys and games from hunter-gatherer and pre-industrial societies all over the world – is the concept of ‘transformation’ – that is, taking an object from its environment and giving it a new purpose, for the purpose of play.

As in European societies, as ‘adults in preparation’, children played with miniature versions of adult artefacts, often gendered : little canoes, shields, hunting weapons and fishing gear for the boys, while the girls had tiny versions of equipment needed to ‘play house’: they had cute dolls made of grass and string, painted with clay and of course they had mini coolamon to carry them in.  For mimicking food-gathering they had digging sticks, bags and baskets (which put me in mind of those miniature supermarket trolleys we see today), and the book has a photo of kids who’d built a mini shelter to construct their little imaginary world – complete with a play fire pit to cook food.

Girls played skipping games ‘before ever they saw the white man’s skipping-rope used’ (p.87) and Daisy Bates saw boys playing with marbles with a species of nut.  They had slingshots too, and balls made of pandanus leaves, while both genders had toys for running, jumping and throwing, for messing about and for making a noise.   Story games were used to teach unique aspects of their culture: there was a leaf game in which girls rearranged groupings of gum leaves to learn kinship relationships and the ‘right behaviour’ that goes with them.

I have just bought a copy of this book from Fishpond to use at school  (see the link below), but something the Australian Museum could very usefully do would be to set up a virtual exhibition that could be accessed by school children across Australia, using the photographic collection that they already have and curating it online with kid-friendly captions.

Author: Claudia Haagen
Title: Bush Toys, Aboriginal Children at Play
Publisher: National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 1994
ISBN: 0855752459
Source: Bayside Library Service

Availability

Fishpond: Bush Toys: Aboriginal Children at Play

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Book Reviews, Indigenous Teaching Resources, Recommended books | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Book Review: Spinifex Mouse by Norma MacDonald

Posted by Lisa Hill on December 28, 2012


Spinifex mouseHere’s another delightful book from indigenous publishers, Magabala Books.   It’s due for release in early February.

Certain to appeal to small children and just perfect for units of work about Australian animals, Spinifex Mouse is about a cheeky little spinifex-hopping mouse from the Pilbara region of Western Australia.  Like all youngsters Cheeky likes to explore his world, but danger in the desert comes not just from predators on the ground but also in the sky.  Skilfully controlled tension rises as Cheeky’s aerobatic exploits become more and more risky and his taste for exploration takes him further away from safety.

Exquisitely illustrated with delicate water colours by Norma MacDonald from the Yamatji people of the Gascoyne Region and the Nyungar people of South West WA, the book is a gentle reminder to listen to the wisdom of the elders and not to be greedy.

Like all good books about Aboriginal history and culture, the book acknowledges information about the indigenous origins of the author.

Magabala is a non-profit publishing house based in Broome that aims to ‘promote, preserve and publish Indigenous Australian culture’.

Author: Norma MacDonald
Title: Spinifex Mouse
Publisher: Magabala Books 2012
ISBN:9781921248801
Review copy courtesy of Magabala Books

Highly recommended.

Availability:
Fishpond: Spinifex Mouse or direct from Magabala Books.

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Australian Children's Literature, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews, Indigenous Teaching Resources, Recommended books, School Library stuff | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Book Review: Spinifex Mouse by Norma MacDonald

Book Review: Bubbay, A Christmas Adventure by Josie Wowolla Boyle and Fern Martins

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 11, 2012


Magabala Books is a W.A. publishing house that aims to promote, preserve and publish Indigenous Australian culture.  One of their forthcoming picture book titles is an interesting fusion of  Aboriginal and non-indigenous spiritual beliefs:

Bubbay, a young boy with no family lives alone in the outback herding his goats and camping out independently of any adult support.  As Christmas looms he longs to celebrate it and wishes also for a family.  A Christmas tree magically appears in the desert but it sets him a quest which looks impossible – until the magical old Grandma Gubarlee arrives to lend a hand.  He achieves his quest, and gets his dearest wish as well.

So it’s a lovely story with a happy ending that evokes reconciliation, but it doesn’t gloss over the social dysfunction that derives from land dispossession and the Stolen Generation policies.  Non-indigenous children will have questions about this which will need to be discussed with sensitivity.

The illustrations are bright and colourful and the hardback book is produced on quality paper.

Like all good books about Aboriginal history and culture, the book acknowledges all the contributors and includes information about the indigenous origins of the authors.

Magabala Books have also just launched a literacy series of little books for take-home reading called Deadly Reads for Deadly Readers (Saltwater Series).  They are simple graded texts with gorgeous colourful illustrations featuring indigenous children and art styles.  For more information see their website.

Authors: Josie Wowolla Boyle and Fern Martins
Title: Bubbay, A Christmas Adventure
Publisher: Magabala Books 2012
ISBN: 9781921248726
Review copy courtesy of Magabala Books

Availability:
Fishpond Bubbay: A Christmas Adventure or direct from Magabala Books

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Australian Children's Literature, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews, Indigenous Teaching Resources, Recommended books, School Library stuff | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Book Review: Fog a Dox by Bruce Pascoe

Posted by Lisa Hill on July 7, 2012


Fog a Dox is another addition to the reviews of children’s books which I’m contributing to Indigenous Literature Week that I’ve been hosting on my ANZ LitLovers Blog.

Bruce Pascoe, of Bunerong-Tasmanian heritage, is an award-winning indigenous author, editor and compiler of anthologies. (I have a copy of his adult novel Earth on my TBR and will be reading it soon.) In addition to writing a number of novels and non-fiction books for adults, he has also published a Wathaurong dictionary to support the retrieval and teaching of the Wathaurong language in south-western Victoria. His other children’s novel, The Chainsaw File, was released in 2011.

A chapter book suitable for 10-14 year old readers, Fog a Dox tells the story of Albert Cutts, a tree-feller who despite the disapproval of others keeps a ‘dox’: a fox cub raised by a Albert’s dingo Brim.  Albert lives a solitary life as a bushman until he has an accident which changes everything …

The publisher’s blurb says that his gentle story-telling style is reminiscent of Alan (I Can Jump Puddles) Marshall but Pascoe has a dry humour all his own.  Brim, the dog, does ‘what dogs are very good at: scratching’ because there is

Nothing like a good scratch, followed by a little sniff of the air, a glance at Albert, and then a little dog-think, which never took very long; food always looms too large in their mind and blots out anything but the thought of a bone buried near the woodheap – or was it under the verandah, or the apple tree? Oh well, I forget where, I’ll have to check them all.

Albert would sometimes catch Brim as one of her thoughts evaporated under the dominant influence of bone memories and call out to her, ‘Lose concentration again, darlin’? It happens my furry princess, even to the best of brains.  One minute we’re working out how many eight-bee-one planks in a sixty-foot log and next minute we’re thinking of rabbit stew.  It happens, ol’ darlin’, and that’s a fact.

But what Albert didn’t know was that Brim had been teaching herself to count. (p10-11) 

And because Brim can count she knows when Albert produces three little motherless fox cubs for her to mother along with her own pups, that this is ‘lotsa foxes’ and she is not best pleased. But a dog that loves and trusts its master will do a lot to please:

That’s another one, Brim’s eyes signalled alarm, that’s … lotsa foxes.
But the foxes just suckled ferociously while Albert squatted down beside Brim and reassured her with a calming hand repeatedly following the curve of her brow to the base of her neck, strong, sure strokes pressing calm and acceptance into her heart.  If Albert thought it was all right for a bitch to suckle a fox, lotsa foxes, then it must be all right.  Why, even Rome was built by human babies suckled by a wolf.  Dogs didn’t learn much history but paid particular attention to the bits where dogs and wolves were involved.
(p30)  

The cub that stays with Albert after weaning turns out to be a little miracle that changes a lot of lives.  

Cranky Dave performs a kind of Boo Radley role in the plot, but all the characters – despite their flaws – have that honest bush quirkiness that Aussies love to admire.  The elements of indigenous cultural knowledge and awareness are lightly handled but respectful, and readers who love animals will be enchanted by this book.  It would make an exciting film with a heart-warming ending, and is a good one for reading aloud and discussing with a class too.

 Like all good books about Aboriginal history and culture, the book acknowledges the Aboriginal heritage of the author and locates his country. 

Highly recommended.  

Author: Bruce Pascoe
Title: Fog a Dox
Publisher: Magabala Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781921248559
Review copy courtesy of Magabala Books

Availability (from August 2012):
Fishpond:Fog A Dox or direct from Magabala Books

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Australian Children's Literature, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews, Indigenous Teaching Resources, Recommended books, School Library stuff | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Book Review: My Home Broome, by Tamzyne Richardson and Bronwyn Houston

Posted by Lisa Hill on July 7, 2012


I’ve been hosting Indigenous Literature Week on my ANZ LitLovers Blog so it’s appropriate that I review a couple of children’s books by indigenous authors here at LisaHillSchoolStuff.

My Home Broome is an enchanting picture book which celebrates the multicultural community at Broome WA while also paying respect to the traditions and culture of its indigenous people.  Exquisitely illustrated with bright and jazzy colours by Bronwyn Houston from the Nyiyaparli and Yindijibarndi people of the Kimberly, the book features a poem written by ten-year-old Tamzyne Richardson of the Yawaru and Bardi people.  She wrote it when she was recovering from swine flu, and its publication became a community project involving twelve other students who worked with Houston to bring the poem to life. 

Chock full of fascinating snippets about Broome – its pearling industry, its wildlife, its bush food, its history and its enticing tourist attractions – My Home Broome is not just a lovely souvenir book or a book of interest to local children. It would also be a valuable addition to school libraries on the eastern seaboard because the mining boom has made Western Australia pivotal to the Australian economy, and many families relocate there for short periods of time to take up job opportunities. 

But that is not the only reason why this book should be walking off the shelves at bookstores across Australia.  It is the only children’s book I’ve ever come across to explain Aboriginal seasons, and since these are mentioned as topics for study in the new Australian curriculum, My Home Broome is a valuable resource.  It names the six Yawuru Seasons: Man-gala, Marrul, Wirralburu, Barrgana, Wiriburu and Laja, and anyone who’s going salmon fishing in the region can use this book to find out which is which because these seasons are defined not only by subtle distinctions in the climate but also by seasonal availability of flora and fauna.

My favourite page is the last:

I live in a place where kids ride their bikes and meet on the street.
I live in a place I know best.
My home Broome.

Tamzyne tells us on this page that a ‘bubbly’ is Broome-talk for a good mate, that the houses were built with shutters instead of windows to let in cool breezes and that the ones in Chinatown were built of stilts because of the huge tides.  There’s also a delicious recipe for fish soup and rice to try out.

Like all good books about Aboriginal history and culture, the book acknowledges all the contributors (which cheeky photos of the kids who worked with Bronwyn Houston) and includes information about the indigenous origins of the authors. 

Authors: Tamzyne Richardson and Bronwyn Houston
Title: My Home Broome
Publisher: Magabala Books 2012
ISBN:9781921248467
Review copy courtesy of Magabala Books

Highly recommended.  

Availability:
Fishpond:My Home Broome or direct from Magabala Books

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Australian Children's Literature, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews, Indigenous Teaching Resources, Recommended books, School Library stuff | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Book review: Meerreeng-an: Here is My Country, edited by Chris Keeler and Vicki Couzens

Posted by Lisa Hill on November 23, 2011


Most of the stuff that lands in my pigeonhole at work is either administrivia or wasteful paper catalogues for the library, but every now and again there’s a bit of treasure.

So it is with Meerreeng-an: Here is My Country, The Story of Aboriginal Victoria Told Through Art.  It is stunningly gorgeous and every school in Victoria has been lucky enough to receive one.

The Story Cycle is arranged in nine themes arranged to explain central cultural concepts.  There are stories and artworks showcasing

  • Koorie Creation myths;
  • the transmission of culture and law;
  • ceremonies, music and dance;
  • cloaks, clothing and jewellery, and
  • land management, foods, fishing, hunting, weapons and tools

The experience of invasion and conflict is also explored, and resilience is celebrated in the sections about culture and identity, country and kin.

The book has numerous examples of artworks matched with stories which explain Aboriginal culture and beliefs to non-indigenous Australians like me, but for copyright reaseons I’m not able to share the artwork here.  However you can see some of it at Culture Victoria and there is also a video that shows how a kangaroo tooth necklace was made.  Click these links to get an idea of the contents:

This is a fabulous resource for schools, (and invaluable for the Aboriginal Culture and History Cross-Curriculum Priority in the new Australian Curriculum, but it’s also essential reading for anyone interested in Aboriginal art and culture.

Cross-posted at ANZ LitLovers.

© Lisa Hill

Title: MEERREENG-AN HERE IS MY COUNTRY: The Story of Aboriginal Victoria Told Through Art
Edited by Chris Keeler and Vicki Couzens
Publisher: Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, 2010
ISBN 978-0-9807863-0-9 (Paperback) ISBN 978-0-9807863-1-6 (Hardback); 256 pp, full colour

You can buy it from the Koorie Heritage Trust RRP $49.95 soft cover; $79.95 hardback

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Australian Curriculum, Australian History, Book Reviews | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Book review: Meerreeng-an: Here is My Country, edited by Chris Keeler and Vicki Couzens