emma_in_dream: (BTTF)
This picture book is a retelling of Molly Tasman Napurruria's dreaming narrative in English. It was translated by Christine Nicholls and illustrated by kids at the Lajamanu Community Education Centre. The story comes from Warlpiri country in the Northern Territory.

As a children's book, it wasn't terribly successful. The Pangkarlangu is a scary looking creature that takes a boy away. My kids (now nine and six) disliked the pictures of it looking spiky and disliked the story about the boy being separated from his family.
emma_in_dream: (Sound of Music)
Terri-Ann White (Ed), Desert Writing: Stories from Country, 2016

This anthology represents the fruits of an ARC grant to foster story telling in the desert areas shared by Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia. The story telling workshops were available to all people living in those areas.

On the whole, the stories written by non-Indigenous people are written with a higher level of literacy and with more engagement in literary conventions – there are attempts at mystery and horror stories.

As another generalisation, the stories produced by the Indigenous people are more personal narratives. These range from straightforward ‘what I did on the weekend’ stories by high school students to the autobiography of one of the hunter gatherers who was bombed at Maralinga. All of these stories seem pretty alien to me, as I am a committed city dweller.
emma_in_dream: (bobby)
3.13 Noriko Matsubara, Bocchi + Pocchi and the Bird, 2014

It's a kid's story about two socks going for a walk. What my children liked the most was the photos of the author knitting models of the socks at the end. She wrote it! She illustrated it! She made the socks!
emma_in_dream: (cameron)
Olive Senior, Anna Carries Water, illustrated by Laura James, 2013

Olive Senior is a Jamaican writer living in Canada. The picture book is every bit as good as you would think, given that she has won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, a Gold Medal of the Institute of Jamaica and the Isabel Sissons Canadian Children's Story Award.

It's a story about the littlest girl in a family who wants to be able to carry water on her head, like her big sisters and brothers. My youngest child was particularly taken with this.

The colourful illustrations are by Laura James, who has Antiguan heritage.

POC books

Jun. 19th, 2015 06:02 pm
emma_in_dream: (Default)
3.12 Katrina Goonack, Marlene Goonack, and Myron Goonack, Scaly-Tailed Possum and Echidna, 2010

This traditional story is way too scary for my kids - the possum has its tail skinned and the echidna falls into prickles.

3.13 Better Beginnings Family Literacy Project, Katanning Kids, 2011.

This story was developed by the Family Literacy Project to develop culturally inclusive books. The kids in the Katanning kindy got to work on it themselves and the illustrations are of the kids.

Significantly more appropriate for my kids.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
Sally Morgan, The Last Dance, 2012

As with most picture books by Sally Morgan, this one has colourful art and challenging text. It’s a bit grim, though, as the book catalogues a whole lot of endangered native fauna, all doing their last dance. Alas.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
How I Go to School, Sharon Galleguillos, Perri-Ann Kelly, 2002

My daughters both enjoyed this picture book which is about how other Australian (Indigenous) kids go to school. Their focus was on whether they walked, took the bus, took a ferry, etc. They did not seem to notice that all the kids in the photographs were Aboriginal, being too busy explaining the different modes of transport that they personally use and comparing them.

The co-authors are Perri-Ann Kelly and Sharon Galleguillos, who was one of the first Indigenous graduates in the Certificate of Teaching program at Kedron Park Teachers' College, Brisbane. She is currently Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal Education Council (NSW) Inc. Sharon also holds a Bachelor of Education (Primary) from the University of Sydney. I can’t find any information on Perri-Ann Kelly.

The text was a nice read for a Grade Two, and my only quibble is that a map showing where the kids lived would have been an asset. My answers were clearly too vague. They were unimpressed with my description of Prince of Wales Island as being a little island in the north of the country.
emma_in_dream: (pic#)
Oxfam, Around the World - At School, 2010

This is a collection of photos, showing children at schools around the world – in the UK, Haiti, Peru, Chile, Tajikistan, Yemen, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. There is a line or two of text for each photo, some of which were frankly confusing.

Apparently Vietnam has travelling libraries where the books are kept in bottles? All three kids I was reading to were interested in this, but googling it has provided no more information. (Just heaps about bottles of alcohol in Vietnam). Perhaps it keeps them dry? Allows storage? What is going on here?

The photos were taken by a range of Oxfam affiliates, including Amin from the Drik Photo Agency, Nguyen Thi Hoang Yen, and Ami Vitale. No one is credited with the text.
emma_in_dream: (otp)
It has nice colourful illustrations, but does not name the illustrator.

The text has a good combination of repetition and changes, so that my six year old could read it with occasional prompting. (The word python is unexpected, and looking at the illustration lead to the guess p-snake?)
emma_in_dream: (otp)
This picture book has the colourful, contemporary illustrations that Kwaymullina specialises in. My kids especially liked finding the ‘hidden’ objects on each page – one traditional implement and one non-native animal.

The text, however, does feel a bit phoned in. Even in a counting book, I had expected more from Sally Morgan.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
3.06 Rhoda Lalara, Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa, When We Go Walkabout, 2014

Pearl (now six) chose this picture book, co-written in English and Anindilyakwa (an Aboriginal language spoken in Groote Eylandt). For the first time ever, she expressed an interest in the Aboriginal language.

Luckily, it comes with a complimentary reading in Anindilyakwa. However, to find this out, you have to read the fine print at the end of the book, then find that the link given is broken, and google Allen and Unwin to find a different link. They don't exactly make it easy.

The illustrations are done by Alfred Lalara and his wife Alice Dorilla, also from Groote Eylandt. This is their first book, as part of the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project.
emma_in_dream: (otp)
Sally Morgan, Bronwyn Bancroft, The Amazing A to Z Thing, 2014

This picture book is illustrated with Bronwyn Bancroft’s trademark bright colours and contemporary Aboriginal art. The kids liked it a lot more than the muddy art in the previous picture book I mentioned (Annaliese Porter's The Outback),

It is basically an ABC as anteater tries to find another Australian animal to be interested in her surprise. None of them will look at it. My children guessed that it might be a game but it was really a book.

They liked the final page, where all the animals admire the book. My three year old also liked the ‘H’ page where the Huntsman spider was counting its legs. She had a go as well, and got to six.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
3.04 Annaliese Porter, The Outback, 2005, illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft

This book was written by an eleven year old girl from the Gamilaraay group, which is really neat. I praise her for her accomplishment. I expect she is the youngest published author in Australia.

However, I must say that I could not get my kids to read this book. The prose was too complicated for them and the illustrations were rejected as ‘yucky’ and ‘brown’. It’s rare for them to totally refuse a book but this one I could not read to my target audience (aged five and three).
emma_in_dream: (Default)
My daughters are now three and nearly six and they enjoyed this. It’s a picture book with a fair degree of prose on each page, enough to tell the story of Susie who has to discover her dream of becoming an artist.

The text is by Sally Morgan so there is a degree of complexity – the parents urge Susie to take up well paid work. And the illustrations are by Bronwyn Bancroft. The ones which sparked most discussion with my kids were one of a rainbow and stars (they liked the colours) and one of Susie at school (Pearl pointed out that most of the students had pink skin and some had brown skin, just like at her school).
emma_in_dream: (Default)
This collection of journalistic essays about life as second generation Lebanese Australians is really interesting. It would be great for a school library as the collection is accessibly written and eclectically covers a variety of topics.

My only quibble is that some of the essays are about the experiences of the authors while others are the result of interviews but the essays are not marked to show this distinction. It would be helpful if there was a header on each essay giving a very general overview of who was interviewed.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
Pearl, now five, is besotted with this book, the story of a little girl participating in her aunt's wedding She likes that they go to the hairdresser and get their hair curled. She likes that they have pretty dresses to wear. Even Ruby, aged two and a half, likes the drama of the flower girl dress at first not fitting! Oh no! But the dress maker fixes it!

The author has also written *The Glory Garage: Growing Up Lebanese Muslim in Australia* which I now want to read. Her biographical note says she has a passion for promoting understanding between Anglo-Australian culture and Islamic culture in Australia and that she has three little girls who like playing dress ups and getting married.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
I found this book on Anita Heiss’ list of the top 100 Aboriginal books - http://anitaheissblog.blogspot.com.au.

I would strongly disagree that it belonged there.

It is a reimagining of the Myall Creek Massacre, with a cast of characters around a German Lutheran mission. And it is stunningly boring.

This is partly a result of the prose style which could most charitably be described as Hemingwayesque in that it is sparse and favours short sentences. Also, the characterisation is kind of Hemingwayesque, in that it is non-existent. And the women are kind of Hemingwayesque, in that they are Madonna/whores.

So, I like neither the style nor the characters.

And I wasn’t that keen on the plot either, because, frankly, I don’t think that the Myall Creek massacre needs to be reimagined. It’s like James Cameron doing the Titanic but instead of telling us the gripping and fascinating stories of the real people, he invented Jack and Rose and their mundane love affaire.

McLaren decided that instead of telling us the incredibly tragic story of the Myall Creek massacre, he would... write short, sparse sentences about a German Lutheran missionary raping women and setting up the Aboriginal people as the rapist/murderers until the white population snap and massacre the local tribe. It’s not like he had to call it Myall Creek. There were plenty of other massacres, stretching back to the beginning of the colony and forward into the twentieth century. It’s just that this one was well documented because the accused were taken to court and some of them eventually executed.

All in all, no thumbs up for plot, characters or style.
emma_in_dream: (Bouguereau)
Kim Scott, Iris Woods and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project, Mamang (2011)

*Lizzy_bbb* gave Pearl a University of Western Australia Press picture book. It represents a story originally told by Freddie Winmer to a linguist in the 1930s, found, workshopped with his Noongar descendants and presented as a picture book.

I edited the story as it involved a man taking a ride inside a whale. In my version he made it go faster by shouting GO! GO! rather than by poking it with a spear.

Also, it was a nice change of pace as so many collections are of stories from the centre and the north west. As colonisation started in the south east, it's nice to have some stories from the bottom part of the continent where colonisation was experienced earlier and differently.
emma_in_dream: (Casablanca)
I chose this book randomly from the shelf because I was looking for a book to encourage eating vegetables. And then, bonus!, it is eligible for this challenge.

It does all the things a book for a picky preschool eater is meant to. It has colourful foods and counting and games and at the end there is a recipe. Pearl looked at the recipe and said NO SOUP! so she is perhaps pickier than the intended reader.
emma_in_dream: (Casablanca)
This is bit of a placeholder of a post - I read it, I liked it.

It seemed that the first couple of chapters on African-American art prior to 1900 are different in tone to the later chapters on modern art.

The beginning chapters are the kind of art history which trace forgotten and overlooked artists. My favourite is definitely Dave the Potter who threw large, obviously pretty strong pots (50 have survived). He wrote his own poetry on each jar. 'Great and Noble jar/ Hold sheep, goat, or bear, May 13 1859, Dave'.

The later chapters deal with developments since 1900, and the constant reworkings of the same debate: which is more important, broader artistic traditions or identity as an African-American?


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