Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday 2 July 2023

NAIDOC Week - Time to read on Country

It’s NAIDOC Week and time to enjoy and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture. Why not start with a book – there are so many to choose from!

Do you regularly select Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories and information books to share with children and teens? With the amazing array of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature available it is easy to include these books into every child’s reading diet. NAIDOC week is an excellent stimulus to celebrate Country, and engage with contemporary and historical First Nation perspectives.

The first week of July is marked as National NAIDOC week and is a time for Australians recognise and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As well as getting involved at a local level (visit the NAIDOC website to found out what is happening in your area) reading and sharing literature is an ideal way engage young readers and start conversations.

A useful starting point for finding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories for children and young adults is the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (NCACL) via the database available in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resource. If this resource is new to you, read  previous CBCA Tas posts including A Gateway to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Literature (Alderman, 2022) and Discover Engaging Stories on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resource Database (Mann, 2022).

CBCA award and notable titles regularly include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fiction and nonfiction for all age groups. Shortlisted in 2023 Our Dreaming (Saunders & Leffler, 2022) in the Picture Book category, We are Australians (Smith, Godwin & Cadd, 2022) for the New Illustrator award and Come Together (Firebrace & Biumwiwai, 2022) an Eve Pownell title. This book was a particular favourite of mine for the wealth of highly accessible and current information and the contemporary Aboriginal design motifs employed by Biumwiwai. On the Notable list, Thank you rain! (Morgan & Malibirr, 2022) and Open Your Heart to Country (Seymour, 2022) are two titles that celebrate Country with striking illustrations in both to support the texts.

Past CBCA winners and notable titles  that I have found valuable for my own personal growth and appreciation as well as for sharing with students and recommending to independent readers include:

Heroes, Rebels and Innovators (Wild & Biumaiwai, 2021) – Eve Pownall Honour book

Where We Begin (Mieman, 2020) – Older Readers Honour book – contemporary realistic fiction (mature themes) with excellent historical coverage on the impact of white farming immigrants in rural Victoria on the local inhabitants and the long term impact on the community.

Strangers on Country (Hartley, Myrrat & Leffler, 20210 – Eve Pownall Honour book

Bindi (Saunders & Leffler, 2020) – Younger Readers shortlist

Shirley Purdie: My Story, Ngaginybe Jarragbe (Purdie, 2020) – New Illustrator shortlist

Baby Business (Syemour, 2019) – Notable Picture Book.

Further inspiration can be found on the CBCA Tas blog – check out On Country in Alice Springs  Mann (2021) and With Opened Eyes: Snapshot 3 (Bales, 2022) for some background information and some more great reads.

Many of these titles will be on school library shelves and all of them are available in Libraries Tasmania collection – in print and with some also in ebook format and as a retelling in Story Box Library and therefor easy to access from home and via the Sora app. There are also titles featured this week on the Libraries Tasmania home page to support NAIDOC. If you have a favourite title please share in the comments.

Jennie Bales

CBCA Tasmania Social Media Coordinator.

Retired teacher librarian and adjunct lecturer

1 comment:

  1. I'm currently reading Sally Morgan's My Place - it wasn't a NAIDOC week plan, my reading pile just worked out that way. I love the insight books like this (and Maybe Tomorrow by Boori Prior and Meme McDonald) give me into a way of life that is far outside my personal experience.