An empowering story for all Australians, acknowledging our true history, embracing inclusivity, and celebrating the healing powers of nature and culture.
BOORI MONTY PRYOR was born in Townsville, North Queensland. His father is from the Juru people of Cape Upstart from the Bowen region. His mother is a descendant of the Gurubana Moiety group from the Kunggandji Nation near Cairns. Boori is a multi-talented performer who has worked in film and television (as an actor and writer), modelling, sport, music and theatre-in-education. Boori has written several award-winning children's books, including Prime Minister's Literary Award winner Shake a Leg, and was Australia's inaugural Children's Laureate (with Alison Lester) in 2012 and 2013. He co-wrote and is the subject of Wrong Kind of Black (International Emmy Award nominee, screening on Netflix) and Brown Paper Bag (in which he also stars), and during his career as a storyteller he has worked with over one million children.
RITA SINCLAIR was born in Mareeba, North Queensland, and grew up a bit further south, in Townsville. As a child, she spent a lot of time daydreaming, drawing and reading, often in a tree or under its branches. Rita blames her mum for her love of all books (especially picture books), because books were a part of every birthday or Christmas. When her son, Cody, was born, Rita was excited to have a reason to buy more books. Now that he is grown up and married, she buys picture books for herself, just because. Rita has worked as an ice-cream and snack bar attendant, greyhound race photographer, wedding videographer, stained-glass overlay operator, teacher, librarian, wedding celebrant and now illustrator. She believes in lifelong learning and is always ready to learn something new - she often has several random courses lined up, and there is always a stack or two of books waiting for the holidays to be read.
What do you do when you are expected to review a book like this when you know you don't have the knowledge, the skills or even the authority to do so? And the text is so lyrical, the illustrations so sublime and the message so powerful that you just feel overwhelmed.
You let the words of others do your work because you know they will convey the power and the beauty so much better.
This is from its blurb...
This is a book for everybody. Welcome! Take a seat! And listen carefully, because this story has a heartbeat. Can you feel it, there in your chest?
Legendary storyteller Boori Monty Pryor invites us to travel with him from the first footsteps through 80,000+ years of strength, sickness, and immense possibility.
From the very first stories and art, to dance, language, and connection with the land, Boori offers a powerful, beautiful, and deeply rich account of Australia's true history, drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, and on his generous instinct to teach and heal.
An exquisitely illustrated celebration of the power of storytelling to unite us, how nature connects us, and the wonderful truth that the medicine needed for healing lies within us all.
This is an interview with the author from Radio National which gives so much insight.
And this, the first few lines that demonstrate not only their origins and the thinking behind them but also the lyricism of the entire text... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v_-zeq1XJM
And finally this - the explanation of the mesmerising, thought-provoking afterword on which the whole book was founded... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEUZr1alQP0
With the theme of the 2021 NAIDOC Week being Heal Country, this is indeed, "an empowering story for all Australians, acknowledging our true history, embracing inclusivity, and celebrating the healing powers of nature and culture" from Australia's Children's Laureate 2012-2013. If ever there were a book that epitomised the theme of Australia: Story Country, then this is it and it is one for all ages.
Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, NSW