Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo – Alison Lester
Ernie is a city boy who moves to the Arnhem Land for a year. He flies over the desert for hours, traveling over the floodplains, crosses the East Alligator River and arrives in Arnhem Land. He writes back home to his friends telling of the seasons, of the everyday simple amusements, of the cultural life of the children of Arnhem Land. Interesting, informative and flows naturally. Held the attention of my eight, five and three year olds.
My Home in Kakadu – Jane ChristophersenTarrah, granddaughter of the author reveals the beauty of life in Kadadu National Park. Tarrah goes out with her family gathering bush tucker, fishing and hunting. Did you know that the Aboriginal people of Northern Territory know six seasons? Whereas most people see only two, the Wet and the Dry. Fascinating book.
The illustrations in this book are absolutely stunning. It is rich in information of the seasons, of the flora and fauna, of the wildlife, of the culture of the people who live there today. I would recommend this more for the older child, there was too much information to hold the attention of my five year old.
Outback Adventure – Franc Lessac & Mark GreenwoodUncle Max and his lively group of friends experience the thrill of a muster and rodeo, pan for gold, explore the rugged beauty of the Bungle Bungles and enjoy traditional bush foods.
My Place – Sally Morgan
Following three-generation’s of an Australian family. Sally travels back to her grandmother’s birthplace and discovers she is not white but aboriginal.
All of Percy Trezise’ books are brilliant. Unfortunately some books are out of print. Our personal favourites are the ‘Journey of the Great Lake’ series; the adventures of three young children who are blown away from their family on a raft and have to journey home through many tribal lands. In some lands they encounter help, in other lands danger. . There were seven books written before the author’s death in 2005. I’m afraid that the journey may not be finished as only one was being published a year.)
Jadianta, his sister Lande and little brother Jalmor are fishing one day when a storm blows their walpa out into Balanorga, the great lake. After many days a gentler wind blows them onto the western shore and, from there, the journey back to their people begins.
Travelling through the Land of the Dingo People.
Jadianta, Lande and Jalmor are three children of the Kadimakara People who were caught in a storm and stranded across the great lake, Balanorga. Now they are trying to find their way home and in this part of the series, they are in the land of the Snake People.
The three children continue their journey through the Land of the Emu People.
Jadianta, Lande and Jalmor have been stranded across the great lake, Balanorga. This story finds them in the Land of the Brolga People. As their journey continues they discover the spectacular Rainbow Serpent and fall into an adventure with a giant snake named Wonambi.
Continues the journey of Jadianta, Lande and Jalmor. In this book they run across the terrifying giant goannas, and the rock paintings in the Quinkin cave.
Traveling through the Land of the Kangaroo People.
Gidj – Percy Trezise
The Cave Painters is a picture book set in The Cape York Peninsula (as are all of Percy Trezise’s books) following the journey of an Aboriginal family from the Bullanji clan going home to visit the mother’s clan in the desert. The family take gifts for their relatives and after traveling many days they arrive at their mother’s people’s place where they are joyously welcomed. Whilst there the children visit the caves to see the different pictures and are taught the clans stories.
It’s over 40,000 years ago and Lasca’s pups are about to be born. True to her nature as a dingo, she leaves her human friends Ngalia and his little sister Mayli, and goes to the creek to dig a den. However there is always danger for dingo pups from Thylacine, the striped wolf.
The Giant Devil-Dingo – Percy Trezise
Quinkin Mountain – Percy Trezise
Two children are hunting with their dingo, Lasca, when they are threatened by a huge bushfire which drives them towards the dreaded Quinkin mountain to seek shelter in the caves. The story shows the conflict with the Imjins, aid from Jimaras and protection from a clever Lasca.
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ABC’s of Aboriginal Picture Book Authors:
There are about 500 nations in Australia each have their own stories and customs and each author’s writing is mostly of her/his own clan, consequently whilst there are several books for some nations, for others there are none.
A is for Ian Abdulla
Ian Abdulla is of the Ngarrindjeri people and he writes of his childhood growing up on the Murry River in South Australia in the 1950s and 60s when Aboriginals had few employment opportunities and many families still lived on Missions. The Murray provided the Abdulla family with a source of food and cash and a way to live away from the Mission.
B is forBronwyn Bancroft
A talented illustrator and author. Bronwyn Bancroft‘s books include delightfully illustrated alphabet books of Australian words. Our favourite is Remembering Lionsville about the author’s memories of growing up in country New South Wales. Bronwyn Bancroft is a descendant of the Bundjalung people, the Nation of my hometown and Lionsville belongs within the Nation where we are raising our children.
C is forJane Christophersen
Jane Christophersen is an Elder of the Bunitj Nation of Kakadu, Northern Territory. Our favourite book is My Home in Kakadu. The author, through the eyes of her granddaughter reveals the beauty of the six seasons of Kakadu as her family fishes, hunts and gathers.
D is for Gregg Dreise
Gregg Dreise is a new discovery for us and we’ve yet to read, he writes of the animals of the Dreamtime, his illustrations look so promising. Gregg Dreise is descended from the Kamilaroi people in south-west Queensland and north-west NSW. He grew up in St George, Qld, near the NSW border.
E is for Sylvia Emmerton
Sylvia Emmerton was of Kalkadoon descent and grew up in Townsville, North Queensland. To the best of my knowledge she has only written the one book, My Mob Going to the Beach.
F is for Chris Fry
Chris Fry was of the Burarra people in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. One of his titles is Nardika makes a Spear, about a young Arnhem boy whose Father teaches him to make a fishing spear.
G is for Cathy Goonack
Cathy Goonack is a descendant of the Wunambul people of the Kimberley in the far north of Western Australia. Scaly Tailed Possum and Echinda is a Dreamtime story of the Wunambul People.
I is for
K is forAmbelin, Blaze & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Siblings and the children of Sally Morgan; Ambelin, Blaze & Ezekiel are descendants of the Palyku people of the Pibara region in the northwest of Western Australia. The have individually and collectively written several picture books and novels. A few of their titles are in our favourite pile.
L is forDiane Lucas
Diane Lucas is an ethnologist, she has worked as a school teacher and on research projects in Kakadu. We absolutely love her book Walking with the Seasons which observes the birds, plants and animals of the six seasons of the Mirrar people of Kakadu.
M is forSally Mogan
Sally Morgan is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pibara region in the northwest of Western Australia. She is a prolific writer and a highly identifiable Australian author. I read Sally Morgan’s poetry as a child and have been excited to introduce her picture books to my children. Sally’s books feature either native animals or people.
N is forOodgeroo Nunuccal
Oodgeroo Nunuccal was a descendant of the Nunuccal people on North Stradbroke Island in southeast Queensland. Many Australians would be familiar with her previous name Kath Walker. Stradbroke Dreamtime was my children’s first introduction to her picture books, a collection of traditional Dreamtime stories from Stradbroke Island.
O is forMay L O’Brien
May O’Brien was born in Laverton Western Australia and was removed to Mount Margaret Mission as a child. She has written several children’s stories, some are Dreamtime stories, some cultural.
P is for Melanie Prewett
Melanie Prewett from Western Australia wanted to show that physical disability is not a barrier to true friendship. Her book Two Mates, about two boys in Broome who are best mates, one lad is Indigenous the other has Spina Bifida.
Q is for
R is forElaine Russell
Elaine Russell is a descendant of the Kamileroi people, in Tingha, Northern NSW. She grew up at Murrin Bridge Mission on the Lachhlan River near Lake Cargelligo in central NSW. Her books portray life growing up in the Misson; swimming, yabbying, fishing, school, the Church and school.
S is for Trina Saffioti
Trina Saffioti is a descendant of the Gugu Yulangi people of North Queensland. Her most well known book is Stolen Girl, which gives insight and emotion into the lives of the thousands of young children who were taken from their families. A dark period of Australian History, the Stolen Generation.
T is for Percy Trezise
Percy Trezise wrote 30 picture books for children. We absolutely love all of his books that we’ve managed to find. Our absolute favourite are the Journey of the Great Lakes series; three children are blown on a raft away from home and have to make their way back through dangerous lands belonging to other peoples. Set around Cape York, the Top End of Australia prior to European settlement.
V is for
W is for Nadia Wheatley
Nadia Wheatley well known Australian author has written several picture books. We highly recommend Papunya School Book of Country and History and Playground, both for the older child.
X is for
Y is for
Z is for
Yet Even More:)
- Cathy Applegate
- Josie Wowolla Boyle
- Warren Brim
- Daphne Punytjina Burton
- Joanne Crawford
- Beryl Cruse
- Kiefer and Lucy Dann
- Kylie Dunstan
- Renee Fogorty
- Anne Abednego Gela
- Mark Greenwood
- Rae Harris
- Kerrie Hashmi
- Daphne Holton-Ramirez
- Bronwyn Houston
- Joe Kirk
- Dub Leffler
- Lorna Little
- Norma MacDonald
- Corina Martin
- Narelle McRobbie
- Gladys Milroy
- Shane Morgan
- Leonie Norrington
- Wendy Notley
- June Walkutjukurr Richards
- Tamzyne Richardson
- Annaliese Porter
- Roland Robinson
- Delphine Sarago-Kendrick
- Azmen Sebastian
- Titta Secombe
- Kirra Somerville
- Joe Tramacchi
- Pat Torres
- Nola Turner-Jensen
- Venetia Tyson
- Angus Wallam
- Elizabeth & Wandihnu Wymarra