Friday 7 July 2017

Welcome to Country

Welcome to Country has been popping up on a few award lists this year so I was keen to read it. Shortlisted for both the Indie Book Awards 2017 and the Crichton Award for New Illustrators 2017 and a CBCA Notable Picture Book of the Year 2017, it obviously needed to be read. 

I really love this illustration, a river at first glance,
but it is a face in the landscape too

A welcome to country ceremony is familiar to all Australians. A ceremony performed at the opening of events and meetings to recognise the traditional custodians of our land. I've been to many welcome to country ceremonies, the last being at the opening of a conference in Sydney in May- it was fantastic! Sometimes a simple speech, at other times they incorporate music or dance. In Sydney in May the man playing the didgeridoo made hand actions to indicate the animals that he was representing in sound. He indicated a kangaroo hopping as he made short sharp sounds and you could almost see the kangaroo jumping across a paddock. It was amazing and I heard the didgeridoo in a way that I'd never heard it before.

Welcome to Country is a picture book interpretation of this tradition. I was excited to think as I looked at the back cover 

and first page of Welcome to Country that this was a bilingual picture book. 

Sadly it's not fully bilingual, I do think that would have been amazing, especially as the theme for Naidoc Week this year is Our Languages Matter. But it is wonderful to see Aboriginal language incorporated in this way. 

Beautifully illustrated by Lisa Kennedy, Welcome to Country is a joy to read. I'm really hope that it is widely adopted and read in schools particularly. 

Great Teachers Notes available here.

I'm very pleased that ANZ Litlovers are once again celebrating Naidoc Week this week with Indigenous Literature Week. There's been quite a few really interesting programs about Aboriginal languages in the media this week including an SBS Feed segment on a program teaching Wiradjuri to all Year 7 kids at Young High School, sadly the video will only be online for a week. RN's Awaye program had a segment Why Indigenous Languages Matter

ANZ Litlovers ILW

1 comment:

Brona said...

I'm impressed by this book too. You're right, we need more Indigenous language books. I was only thinking the other day that we don't learn (or teach) any children's songs in any Aboriginal language. I only ever learnt one song during my preschool teaching years thanks to an Indigenous family at our centre.

I think the NZ-er's have done much better with this.