Childrens books and Languages

Annie: I was reading When I Was Little Like You to my eldest daughter last night and thought I should share it here. It is a childrens story by Mary Malbunka (1959-2004, born in Haasts Bluff) about her life growing up in Papunya and the surrounding country. The book is written in English with features of Ab E and includes some Luritja vocabulary, with language notes and a pronunciation guide. Mary’s first languages were Luritja and Pintupi, and her mother spoke some Walpiri. Mary explains how diverse the mission camp at Papunya was, culturally and linguistically. She talks about the English only policy at the school and how this affected her European education. Mary talks mostly about going bush and her very important cultural and linguistic education there with her family and elders. She touches on attitudes of white people towards the aboriginal community and how that affected her. This book has amazing illustrations, and is treasure trove of info aimed at 9-13 year olds but I think most people will enjoy it. I have found it really useful when talking with my children about Indigenous issues. It is a great tool for parents and other educators.

Another childrens book that we really love is Nyuntu Ninti (What you should know) by Bob Randall and Melanie Hogan. This book doesn’t touch specifically on language issues but it explains (beautifully) Aboriginal connections to the land. Using a few Pitjantjatjara words to explain the principle of Kanyini it concisely but simply stresses how extremely important this connection is.

If anyone knows of other great childrens stories can you please share the details with us, I am always on the hunt for more!

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4 Responses to Childrens books and Languages

  1. amelia says:

    Hi Annie, those books sound great! I got a book called Fair Skin Black Fella by Renee Fogorty a few months ago which is really good. My son’s still a bit young to understand it all, but he definitely likes the pictures!

    • aedwar30 says:

      Excellent-thankyou both for the links. I did come across Fair Skin Black Fella when I was browsing online a few weeks ago, it looks particularly relevant to me as I have a nephew and two nieces who are very ‘fair skin black fellas’, as are most Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Thankyou again-Annie

    • aedwar30 says:

      Thanks Susan, The fat and Juicy place looks great! I have a friend who is living in Broome at the moment and is going to magabala this week to see what he can find for us, can’t wait to here back from him đŸ™‚

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