Book List: Supporting Indigenous Literacy

Indigenous Literacy Day is an initiative of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, held during the first week of September.

‘Indigenous Literacy Day aims to help raise funds to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions. We need your support to help raise funds to buy books and literacy resources for children in these communities.’

In support of Indigenous Literacy Day, My Little Bookcase has compiled a list of newly released books and resources. Each of them provides rich opportunities for the literacy development of all children.

They not only assist in the textual, verbal, auditory and visual literacy development of Indigenous children but also in the cultural and global literacy development of non-Indigenous children.

In many situations, Indigenous children have contributed to the stories, songs and illustration that feature in these books.

How can you support Indigenous Literacy Day and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation?

  • Purchase a book from a participating bookstore on Indigenous Literacy Day, where a proportion of profits will be donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation
  • Purchase one of the books featured in the list below

Butcher Paper, Texta, Blackboard and Chalk

By Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach

ISBN: 978-0980794847

Format: Paperback

Publisher: One Day Hill (Distributed by Scholastic Press)

Published: Australia, September 2012

RRP: $ 24.99 (aud)

The driving force behind this resource was Ruby Hunter who sadly passed away in 2010. Beginning this project in 1997, she unfortunately never got to see the final product.

This songbook, CD and DVD pack is the result of authentic literacy development for many children in the Cape York region, who contributed to the brainstorming and writing of songs that feature in this this book. Ruby and Archie visited over 10 schools in the area, and the songs reflect their lives.

The songs vary from ballads to catchy sing-alongs. I particularly love Shakey Wakey, which was inspired by the children of Bamaga School. I love it for its catchy tune but mostly because I can relate to not wanting to wake up in the mornings.

Same, But a Little Bit Diff’rent

Kylie Dunstan

ISBN: 978-1921136603

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Helen Chamberlain Books for Windy Hollow Books, August 2012

RRP: $27.99 (aud)

This book is not only a visual delight that is great for developing visual literacy; it is also a heart-warming story with a meaningful theme. Same but Little Bit Diff’rent is a celebration of story-telling, of people, of cultures, of lifestyles, of traditions, of likenesses, and of differences. Kylie Dunstan invites readers to look past obvious physical differences, and instead seek the similarities they share with people of different cultures or regions.

Black Fella White Fella

Neil Murray

ISBN: 978-0980794892

Format: Paperback

Publisher: One Day Hill (Distributed by Scholastic Australia), July 2012

RRP: $19.99

Here you have another book which is great for developing auditory and visual literacy, as well as textual literacy. Neil Murray has written a song/story with a strong repetitive message- that people of different races and from different places can live together in harmony.

Black Fella White Fella is another collaborative project that included the musical talents of the Warumpi Band (from Papunya, NT) and illustrative contributions from school children from around Australia.

10 Scared Fish

Author: Ros Moriarty

Illustrator: Balarinji Studio

ISBN: 978-1742379128

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Allen & Unwin, March 2012

RRP: $12.99 (aud)

10 Scared Fish is a counting book that features groups of creatures (whose numbers increase with each page turn) happily swimming in a waterhole. That is, until they are met by a great shark. Then they promptly scurry away.

See our reading activity for 10 Scared Fish here.

Kangaroos Hop

Author: Ros Moriarty

Illustrator: Balarinji Studio

ISBN: 978-1742379159

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Allen & Unwin, March 2012

RRP: $12.99 (aud)

Kangaroos Hop is a simple introduction to Australian animals and basic verbs.

10 Scared Fish and Kangaroos Hop are part of the range of reading and counting materials for Indigenous children to help improve literacy outcomes in their communities. The books are designed with the inclusion of familiar cultural themes to help children learn to turn pages, look at pictures, count, see repetition and use memory. A proportion of income from the sales of these books helps to support the Indi Kindi program.

Both of the stories are simple but effective, which are matched with bold Indigenous art by Balarinji.  Also included at the back of the books are Yanyuwa (Indigenous language of Borroloola, NT) translations of the stories.

The Naked Boy and the Crocodile

Author: Andy Griffiths

ISBN: 978-1742610573

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Indigenous Literacy Foundation (Pan Macmillan Australia), September 2011

RRP: $16.99 (aud)

As an ILF ambassador, Andy Griffiths has spent the last few years travelling around Australia to facilitate writing workshops with children in remote communities.

‘The students were given small blank “books” and invited to fill these books – using both picture and words – with a story based on their own lives. These stories could be true or fictional or a mixture of both. They could be dramatic, funny or simply about an activity they love.’

Andy Griffiths used these stories to create The Naked Boy and the Crocodile, a collection of thirteen stories inspired by these children’s experiences.

Book List: Supporting Indigenous Literacy

  1. These books sound really interesting. I will have to see if any are available in the States. Thanks for linking up to The Children’s Bookshelf, hope to see you again next week.

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