When We Go Walkabout

Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-Langwa

Rhoda Lalara, illustrated by Alfred Lalara
AUD $24.99
9781743314562.jpg

Set on Groote Eylandt, this beautiful book invites children to look for animals in different habitats throughout the course of one day.

Yirruwa yirrilikenuma-langwa, amiyembena yirrirringka yirruwa?

When we go walkabout, what do we see?

Up in a tree there is something flapping its wings at us. Duwedirra! Cockatoo!

Down in the river we see something staring at us. Dingarrbiya! Crocodile!

Back home there is someone waiting for us . Dungkwarrika! Grandma!

A beautiful story for the very young that brings to vivid life the unique world of Groote Eylandt.

'We want our children to hear a story and know where it's come from and where it's travelled.' Rhoda Lalara

'As children we used to go walkabout with our grandmothers and see the animals. Now we take our own kids out.' Alfred Lalara

This edition includes a QR code link to hear Rhoda Larlara read the text in Anindilyakwa.

This book was produced through the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project, a joint initiative between The Little Big Book Club and Allen & Unwin, assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Author bio:

Rhoda Dugururru Lalara has been a language officer at Groote Eylandt Linguistics for the past 33 years. Rhoda is passionate about the Anindilyakwa language, culture and heritage and uses her literacy expertise to keep this ancient language alive. 'We want our children to hear music and start singing. To hear a story and know where it's come from and where it's travelled,' she says. Before writing her own story, Rhoda worked with many other storytellers in the communities of Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island. 'Some were make believe stories, some real stories, some Dreamtime stories which go from one community to another, stopping at all different places. They connect people together. The stories connect them.'

Alfred Lalara was born in 1964. Like his sister-cousin, Rhoda, he is from the Lalara clan and he grew up in the Warnindilyakwa community of Angurugu on Groote Eylandt. One of many talented artists in the Lalara clan, Alfred uses the traditional Groote Eylandt line work, which in the past was used for painting on bark and is now used for works on canvas and paper. Alfred usually works collaboratively with his wife, Alice Durilla, who did the raak cross-hatching on the illustrations in Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa.

Category: Picture books
ISBN: 9781743314562
Awards: Short-listed Speech Pathology Book of the Year 2014 AU
Publisher: A&U Children's
Imprint: A & U Children
Pub Date: February 2014
Page Extent: 32
Format: Hard Cover
Age: 0 - 5
Subject: Picture books

Listen to a Free Audio Reading

Teachers Notes

Teachers reviews

'When I first picked up ‘When we go Walkabout’ I was impressed by the vibrant illustrations which make the book very appealing to young children. The storyling is based on a journey through the Australian landscape and encompasses all that is discovered. The author has utilised the natural environment to draw the reader into her world, a walkabout through the bush.

Exposing young readers to the bilingual edition further enhances their education of indigenous cultures. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to listen to Rhoda read the story in Anindilyakwa. I felt a connection to the people and places it represents.

Set on Groote Eylandt, When We Go Walkabout invites children to look for animals in different habitats throughout the day. In the classroom teachers can draw on childrens understanding of habitats with discussions, displays and explorations of the many habitats visited throughout the book. Matching animals to habitat activities for early childhood  to illustrating environments and habitat explorations for junior primary aged children. The story has strong ties to family and community. The book covers a diverse range of topics which make it a valuable resource for any classroom. I look forward to reading future titles released as part of the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project.'
Amanda Annear, Mother Duck Childe Care and Preschool, Enoggera Qld

'When We Go Walkabout is a beautiful, bright picture book written for 0-5 yr olds. The author is an Aboriginal woman who learned to read and write both in her native Aboriginal language and in English. Subsequently this book is written in her native language with the accompanying English translation underneath - a perfect fusion when introducing vocabulary and Aboriginal culture and concepts to young ones.

The text uses different font sizes to help focus and emphasise parts of the story which is a list of things that can be seen while on "walkabout". It encompasses many themes such as People in Our Community,  Sea creatures and Land Creatures, Australia's Native Animals. The language is age appropriate for 0-5 yr olds .

The eye-catching  illustrations are a collaboration between the author's brother-cousin and his wife and have been composed in a traditional Aboriginal style, all of which can be analysed in terms of mathematical language (straight and curved lines, patterns etc) as well as visual arts. It could also serve as the basis for an in class art project.

This book could easily be used in lower primary classes, even though the text and illustrations are very simple as it provides a great springboard for discussion. It is a great text for passing on the knowledge, culture and people contained in traditional stories through its symbiotic use of art and story.'
Rita Maguire, Warragamba PS

'This is the ideal book for a school or classroom to have as a resource on several levels. It fits into Language, Arts, Social Sciences curriculum areas easily. The title could be a great introduction into a study on other languages, looking at letter patterns, using covers to entice readers into a book.
I would initially cover the English version, children could predict what they think it says, look at sounding out the words, using illustration on the cover to predict what the words might be, develop  empathy for a non English speaker, an understanding of how difficult it is to read another language. The art work in this book is fascinating and would be a great tool for teaching about Aboriginal art. The patterns and colours, the layout and content are all aspects that could be used.

The tradition of a “walkabout” is a concept from another culture that would lead to discussions of differences between various cultures, why traditions are what they are, and making comparisons between similar concepts in other cultures. Some of the vocabulary used e.g. scrub would be worthy of discussion and defining.

 The story is a traditional “I went for a walk and this is what I saw…..” Each time there is a descriptive and the creature is named along with accompanying illustration. The ending is effective and simple, bringing the walk to an end. I especially like the way without using specific words the knowledge that the walkabout walkabout lasted all day, is imparted through the moon being mentioned and the illustrations. This book truly uses the illustrations to enrich the text. There is scope for lots of discussion and learning from the artwork.
The really interesting blurb at the back of the book about the author and the illustrator gives depth of understanding to the purpose for writing the story. The art work is explained in a way to increase the reader’s knowledge of the culture.

Being written in the Anindilyakwa language and in English is such a great tool for looking at languages. The website link to go to in order to hear the pronunciation is a wonderful addition. I feel this book has something for all ages and is an asset to have in a school.'
Kim O’Brien, Kilbirnie School

'This book is written and illustrated/painted by the traditional custodians and owners of Groote Eylandt archipelago who are Warnindilyakwa people.  The story is presented to its readers so as to them first on a walking journey around Groote Eylandt and then provide language that is in both Australian English and also in the Indigenous language of Anindilyakwa, the language of Groote Eylandt.  The artworks in this beautiful book are treasures that support the text superbly.  The illustrations alone in this book are worth collecting for their richness and presentation.
As a classroom resource this book is excellent for the use in that of multilingual classes where students are learning either language.  This book would be very helpful for a teacher who is learning the Indigenous language or needed support with it.  The book has verbs and nouns in both languages and would be a great resource from that perspective. Young children will enjoy looking for the animals in their natural habitat within the book and then finding the name for these animals given in both the English and the Indigenous words.  These animals are native to Australia and Groote Eylandt.
This book is also an excellent book to use as a model for writing English.  The text is written in the present tense, which makes it ideal for teaching that tense.  This book can also be used in art lessons as it has beautiful examples of Indigenous art works in the book.
I can highly recommend the use of this book in any classroom, but it will become a well used resource in any junior primary or preschool setting.'
Jacqui Schulz, Relief Teacher, South Australia

'This book is a great asset to assist in addressing the cross-curricular priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The book can be used as an introduction to a variety of aboriginal focused activities.

Written for 0 – 5 year olds the style of writing lends itself to teaching young students prediction and interpretation of text, as part of the English curriculum. As you read the text you ask students what they see on walkabout? The question includes a description of what they are looking at as a prompt, for example ‘on the big rock’. And they can respond by looking at the pictures to answer the question.

After reading the book students can go on their own walkabout in the school grounds. Stopping in certain places, encourage students to look at what is around them and what they can hear. A search in the school garden could reveal birds, snails, ants etc. This activity not only introduces students to the aboriginal culture of walkabout but also encourages them to focus on their surroundings, a key learning for this age group.

The walkabout activity could then be extended into an Art project. Students could choose something from their walkabout or from their home surroundings e.g. a pet. They could then draw a picture of it using the traditional aboriginal style of simple lines, colours and dots.

Although the book is aimed at younger children, it can also be used throughout the primary years. The recording of the author reading the story in Anindilyakwa is beneficial for exposing all students to one of the indigenous aboriginal languages. The book is also a fantastic resource as an example of traditional Aboriginal drawings. Any year level could use the book as part of The Arts curriculum for inspiration for their own Aboriginal style painting.

The book also introduces students to Australian animals, in middle primary students could produce a report on an Australian animal in conjunction with an art project. As part of the report they could research the aboriginal name for the animal, any traditional aboriginal stories about the animals or their importance to the aboriginal culture (as part of the Science and Humanities & Social Sciences curriculum). Any aboriginal stories could then be shared with the class. An invaluable addition to any school library for all primary classes.'
Sonja Topping, Graduate Teacher

'Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa, When We Go Walkabout was used in a PREP special education classroom and the story fit beautifully with our work in unit 1 English.  The ACARA document for PREP requires teachers to address Australian Indigenous culture through the explicit teaching of English and literacy. When We Go Walkabout by Rhoda Lalara and Alfred Lalara satisfies this need in the curriculum directly and fully. By listening to the indigenous language Anindilyakwa reading of the story online we were able to listen to Rhoda use the lyrical patterns of her native language which lent authenticity to the retelling of an indigenous story that teaches children about animals and their environments.
The illustrations by Alfred Lalara in When We Go Walkabout gave students a frame of reference for indigenous artistry and how animals, people and plants are represented to tell a story. The students engaged in meaningful role play from the text using movements to imitate the individual animals in the story.  These animals were then linked to a Science unit on “Life & Living Things”, where students recognised what environments the separate animals would require for their survival e.g. the differences between the scrub, billabong, lagoon, river, ocean and bush. These were compared to the school environment and in turn linked to animals that might exist there. When We Go Walkabout compliments the prescribed ACARA C2C text in the PREP Unit 1 –“I Went Walking” by Sue Machin.  We used the When We Go Walkabout text as an exemplar to constructing our own innovation of a text to describe what might occur when one goes walking in our school environment.  Taught in conjunction with one another, these two texts provide an historic example that students can apply to their lives through specific examples and acknowledgment of the natural environment around them.
As a narrative this story was engaging and exciting as we anticipated what we would see next as we travelled through environments very different to ours.'
Sandra Marx, Senior-teacher

'This is an exciting new indigenous picture book with colourful illustrations by Alfred Lalara. The dual text both in Rhoda’s first language Anindilyawaka and in English tells the story of a walkabout through the Groote Eylandt bush and by the seashore. Each double page spread shows the landscape and the island’s animal and birdlife. Allen & Unwin’s soundcloud  allows students to experience listening to the author reading the text.
This book is suited to preschool and early years classes, students can engage with the English text and learn the Aboriginal names of the fauna. The different font sizes add a depth of interest for the reader, for example on the crocodile page only two words are needed – dingarrbiya crocodile. The accompanying illustration is a bold white painting emphasizing the patterns on the crocodile’s skin. Each spread has a detailed, naturally coloured border featuring an unusual style of rice grain dot painting.  
What a great resource for English from Foundation – Year 2 for developing an understanding  that  there are different languages spoken in Australia and that different languages may be spoken by family, classmates and the community. In Geography students can explore maps of Groote Eylandt and identify the different landscapes.
As an Art lesson this book models a different style of dot painting and can be used by students to introduce the techniques and colour palette used by the illustrator.
I would highly recommend this book and as a teacher-librarian I will promote this to students from Reception to Year 3.'
Rhyllis Bignell, Teacher Librarian, Allenby Gardens Primary School

'Both the author and illustrator talk about the importance of grandmothers in their lives, so as a recent, first-time Nana, I was delighted to be able to read and to write a review of Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma – langwa/When We Go Walkabout. The text is presented in both Anindilyakwa and English: amiyembena yirrirringka yirruwa?what do we see?
And the story is set on Groote Eylandt (Dutch for ‘large island) which is an island located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia (about 50km from the Northern Territory mainland). An activity with younger readers could be to locate this island on a large wall map of Australia and picture talk with them about transport, animals and the people who live on Groote Eylandt.
The reader is then led on a walkabout to discover places – rocks, billabongs, lagoon and the creatures that are encountered in each habitat:  maybe, a stingray or a wallaby? A great stimulus for a guessing game!
Young readers will appreciate the language features: hopping, hiding, staring and will give them an opportunity to act out the movement that is described in the text.
The colours chosen by the illustrator evoke the brightness encountered on a tropical island: the blends of brown, blues and greens. Any number of art activities could be based on the pages from the story.
This story is the product of an inspiring initiative: The Little Big Book Club and Allen & Unwin Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project.
Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle mentored Rhoda and Alfred who were previously unpublished Indigenous picture book creators.
At the end of the story, there are two pages that give us biographical details of Rhoda, Alfred and Alfred’s wife, Alice. Alice collaborates with Alfred on many of his paintings. Rhoda was born on Groote Eylandt and her mother tongue is Anindilyakwa. She is passionate about preserving this ancient Indigenous language and she intends to read this story to her grandchildren in their own first language.
Interestingly, a QR code is included on this page in the book so that we can listen to Rhoda read the story in Anindilyakwa.
When we go walkabout is a valuable resource for the home, early learning centres and the initial years of Primary school and I look forward to the release of the other picture books planned in this initiative.'
Colleen Collins, St Clare’s Catholic Primary School, Narellan Vale

'Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa | When We Go Walkabout is a timeless tale of children describing their familiar environment. The story is set on Groote Eylandt, in the Gulf of Carpentaria in northeastern Australia, the homeland of the Anindilyakwa people. Their ancient Anindilyakwa language is still spoken on the island today and is represented here to tell this simple but evocative tale. English translations are provided on each page to present a bilingual story for young readers to enjoy.

The story opens with a double page spread depicting a small settlement. As each page is turned a different aspect of the island environment is portrayed, usually with a native animal leaving as the storytellers disturb it on their walkabout. Through this story structure the reader is introduced to the different habitats on the island including rocks, billabong, scrub, bush, beach, lagoon, river and ocean; and the animals that inhabit each environment.  A timeless element is conveyed in the concluding pages as the children acknowledge the overarching night sky and moon and the warm welcome from grandma as they arrive home from their journey.

Each stage of the journey is illustrated through the use of strong colours and stylised representations drawn by local indigenous artists. The stages of the journey are effectively linked through the use of raak crosshatching in the borders and backgrounds of each double page spread. The different habitats, animals and plants, surrounded by these borders, capture the chief characteristics of each place and creature, using white edging effectively to accentuate shape and form.

The book is the first in a partnership between Little Big Book Club and Allen and Unwin as part of the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project. Notes at the end of the book provide background information on the author and illustrators and significant influences in the publishing of the book. The significance of the work as a part of the ‘two way learning’ project to support bilingual literacy on the island is explained. A QR code and URL link to an audio retelling of the story in Anindilyakwa that informs the listener on the different intonations and emphases on this language.

Although promoted for very young readers, this beautifully presented story will resonate with early childhood and primary students as they make connections to their own unique, special and personal places. As such, it is an excellent text to initiate discussion to support the Geography curriculum in regard to the concept of Place and Science studies on habitats. As an indigenous story, and with the supporting information included, Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa also addresses the cross-curriculum priority that focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Highly recommended.'
Dr Jennie Bales

'When we go Walkabout (Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa) is a beautiful new picture book for young children, which takes them on the experience of going ‘walkabout’.  Through the use of playful language, children discover more about the Australian landscape and animals, including some that are native to Australia.  I’ve included some ways below that Victorian teachers may wish to use the book in Literacy sessions, whilst also incorporating the AUSVELS domain of ‘The Arts’ and addressing ‘Cross Curriculum priorities’.
The Arts
Featuring colourful and detailed artwork, students will be immediately interested in the uniqueness of the presentation of this book.  Teachers may wish to may links with ‘The Arts’ domain in AUSVELS, using the following questions as a starting point for class discussion:
•    Do the pictures in this book look similar or different to illustrations in most of the picture books we read?
•    Can we come up with a list of common features of Aboriginal artwork? (Teachers may wish to read a series of Aboriginal stories to their class to further support this).
Literacy and Cross curriculum priorities:
This bilingual picture book may be used as a valuable tool for addressing the AUSVELS cross-curriculum components of examining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.  The inclusion of the written Aboriginal language in ‘When we go Walkabout’ creates an opportunity for teachers to discuss the following points with their students:
•    What features do you notice about the written Aboriginal language?
•    Do you notice any similarities or differences with the written language of English?
A great feature at the back of the book also allows teachers to have their students listen to Rhoda reading the story in her language.  
As well as using this book in a single Literacy session, teachers may wish to create a series of Literacy sessions which examine several picture books by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander authors and illustrators (for example, ‘How birds got their wings’ by Mary Albert & Pamela Loft).
I’m looking forward to the new books that will be coming out as part of this great project with indigenous artists and writers.'
Kathleen Temple, Yarrambat Primary School

'Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa, or When We Go Walkabout, is a multi-lingual book written in both English and Anindilyakwa, the language used in Groote Eylandt, telling a simple tale of what can be discovered on ones’ travels throughout the local area. Each double page spread contains the image of a specific setting, ranging from rock, billabong, scrub, beach, river, ocean, bush and sky to home. It also portrays a creature which can be found in that particular environment and the addition of dual language text which captures perfectly the essence of each location and its occupant.

The illustrations are all surrounded by a border of cross hatching, utilising traditional earthy colours and artistic styles. Animals such as the stingray are created with simple lines which children could easily be helped to recreate and a stylised pair of eyes, set in a blue background, depicts the crocodile.

This title lends itself to much discussion and could easily be paired with other books as part of an English unit or to highlight indigenous perspectives as part of the Australian curriculum. What struck me first was the fact that, although the story is told in the voice of, presumably, a child and perhaps its parent, the only indications of civilisation are the settlement shown as they depart on their walkabout and the image of Grandma welcoming them back home at the very end. Every other page shows what seems to be an untouched landscape. Discussion about the ways in which the land is used and respected by indigenous people could be pursued, as could an in-depth study of the creatures, settings and eco-systems. Even constellations of stars and the differences between the night skies in the city, as compared to those in the outback, could be considered.

As a paired text, I would be inclined to use this alongside the title With Nan, last year shortlisted by the Children’s Book Council. In this title, the grandmother encourages the grandchild to look closely at the natural environment and I can envisage the comparisons that children may come up with between the 2 titles, particularly with a Venn Diagram as scaffolding. I would highly recommend this title to all librarians and teachers.'
Jo Schenkel, Teacher in the Library/Year 7 Class Teacher, Pilgrim School

'This is a beautiful book, with illustrations full of life and colour. The text is a simple one about going on a walkabout and the animals that the narrator sees. It would be an interesting Indigenous companion to the iconic ‘I Went Walking’ by Sue Machin & Julie Vivas. The story ends on a comforting and satisfying ‘Back home we see someone waiting for us . . . Grandma!’

The text is in two languages: English and Anindilyakwa, an Indigenous language from Groote Eylandt in The Gulf of Carpentaria. I really enjoyed listening to the author read the book in her native language and the Kindergarten students I shared it with were fascinated.

I highly recommend the book for Kindergarten to Year 2. It can be used in units on Australian animals, the environment and Indigenous Australians, particularly in the areas of Language and Creative Arts.'
Kate Justelius-Wright, Wahroonga Public School, NSW


'There are approximately 1200 Anindilyakwa language speakers in Australia. This means there are approximately 22 768 800 Australians who do not speak Anindilyakwa. So what relevance is a bilingual story for the 22 768 800 other Australians? And why should they buy this book for their children? In Australia today there is an increased awareness of the importance of studying indigenous culture – not only to study the history and culture of the first Australians, but also indigenous Australians as the traditional custodians of much of our natural heritage. Yet it is important to realise that the culture of any people group cannot be divorced from their language; culture and language are intimately related. So it is appropriate that Rhoda Lalara tells us her story in her language and ours.
Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa/When We Go Walkabout is a beautiful book of discovery.  It invites children to go on walkabout, through the bush and along the waterways, spotting the birds and animals, until finally, at night-time, coming back home to the ones who love them. Alfred Lalara, working in collaboration with his wife Alice Durilla, painted the dynamic illustrations. Lalara has a fantastic sense of design and colour and his paintings would appeal to children of all ages. Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa/When We Go is a great book for reading aloud in the classroom. It has wonderful sense of drama in the text, and the pictures feature clear, easily identifiable animals that would be enjoyed especially in Foundation to Year 2 classes.'
Jo McDougall, Geelong

'When We Go Walkabout is a fantastic book to introduce Aboriginal culture into the classroom. The reader is taken on a walkabout journey and is introduced to many Australian animals. The book had some interesting Australian animals that are sometimes forgotten and are less popular than the koala and kangaroo e.g. It was lovely to read about the bowerbird and frog. The children responded positively to this aspect of the book and enjoyed learning about new animals. Writing the book with the aboriginal language next to English was fantastic as children can see another language and still understand what is going on. The colourful pictures and beautiful lines really shine through and connect with the Aboriginal culture.  The book closes nicely with the end of the walkabout and Grandma waiting. Children connected strongly to the waiting aspect, just like their parents waiting for them at the end of school.
I will be passing this book on to my colleagues so they can discuss and introduce a little bit of the Aboriginal culture into our school. It’s a great way to start acknowledging this wonderful part of Australia.
Ideas for how to use this book in the classroom:
When learning about prediction. Children can make predictions about what they might see in the book. I focussed on Australian animals and what we see when we go for a walk.
Children can make their own artwork in the same style as the book, drawing and writing about something they see when on a walk.
You could take your class on a walk and see what interesting things/animals you can find and write your own class book in a similar style.'
Nicky Bathols, Oakleigh South Primary School, Victoria.

'Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa | When We Go Walkabout is a timeless tale of children describing their familiar environment. The story is set on Groote Eylandt, in the Gulf of Carpentaria in northeastern Australia, the homeland of the Anindilyakwa people. Their ancient Anindilyakwa language is still spoken on the island today and is represented here to tell this simple but evocative tale. English translations are provided on each page to present a bilingual story for young readers to enjoy.
The story opens with a double page spread depicting a small settlement. As each page is turned a different aspect of the island environment is portrayed, usually with a native animal leaving as the storytellers disturb it on their walkabout. Through this story structure the reader is introduced to the different habitats on the island including rocks, billabong, scrub, bush, beach, lagoon, river and ocean; and the animals that inhabit each environment.  A timeless element is conveyed in the concluding pages as the children acknowledge the overarching night sky and moon and the warm welcome from grandma as they arrive home from their journey.
Each stage of the journey is illustrated through the use of strong colours and stylised representations drawn by local indigenous artists. The stages of the journey are effectively linked through the use of raak crosshatching in the borders and backgrounds of each double page spread. The different habitats, animals and plants, surrounded by these borders, capture the chief characteristics of each place and creature, using white edging effectively to accentuate shape and form.
The book is the first in a partnership between Little Big Book Club and Allen and Unwin as part of the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project. Notes at the end of the book provide background information on the author and illustrators and significant influences in the publishing of the book. The significance of the work as a part of the ‘two way learning’ project to support bilingual literacy on the island is explained. A QR code and URL link to an audio retelling of the story in Anindilyakwa that informs the listener on the different intonations and emphases on this language.
Although promoted for very young readers, this beautifully presented story will resonate with early childhood and primary students as they make connections to their own unique, special and personal places. As such, it is an excellent text to initiate discussion to support the Geography curriculum in regard to the concept of Place and Science studies on habitats. As an indigenous story, and with the supporting information included, Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa also addresses the cross-curriculum priority that focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Highly recommended.'
Jennie Bales, Tasmania

'Aboriginal life and experience are vividly presented in this story about the Warnindilyakwa people of Groote Eylandt. Artworks using traditional Indigenous styles and colours are juxtaposed with rigid rectangular text boxes. English and Anindilyakwa language sit alongside each other to add meaning to the images. The text is written in a relaxed style that evokes a sense of sitting around the campfire sharing memories of past adventures. On each page, a statement is made about what the author sees, followed by an exclamation identifying the relevant animal.
 
Children and adults alike will be fascinated by the text’s presentation of language indigenous to Australia, and can listen to Rhoda Lalara’s reading of the text via a QR code or website link. Teachers may guide their students to recognise the importance of preserving language as a part of a people’s heritage.
 
Younger students may enjoy using this book to learn about nouns and verbs, while older students can explore the prepositional phrases that pepper the text. Classes may consider the text’s use of repeated phrases and contrast it with the use of repetition in non-Indigenous books for young readers. They may compare this text to the work of Bronwyn Bancroft, identifying and evaluating what each book shares about Aboriginal culture and heritage. Further discussion could centre on Indigenous relationships to the environment.
 
The text is a helpful resource to support the teaching of concepts in Visual Arts and Mathematics, through discussion of line, pattern, colour, shape and symmetry. The author notes at the end of the text include helpful information about the artistic techniques and practices of the Warnindilyakwa people.
 
An engaging and interesting text, this book is recommended for students from Kindergarten to Year 4.'
Alison Henderson, Year 2 Teacher / K-6 Coordinator of Teaching & Learning – Curriculum, St Philip’s Christian College Cessnock

'This bilingual picture book is written in the Anindilyakwa language of Groote Eyland, as well as in Standard Australian English. It provides a valuable resource for preserving and enhancing knowledge of stories from the Groote Eyland archipelago. Produced as part of the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project, this book could be a strong motivator for other local educators to publish their language and art.
This text is also useful as an example of a picture book format for schools and communities in other parts of Australia, aspiring to producing bilingual texts. The descriptive language on each double page is matched to the full page illustrations in traditional Groote Eyland line work. A key word is added in larger text. For example:
Angakuba angalya-manja yirruwa yirringarringka
Yingambirrarinuma yirruwa-wa…
            Back home
            We see someone waiting for us…
Dungkwarrika!
Grandma!

On my initial reading I was concerned about accurately reading the Anindilyakwa text aloud. On closer examination, I discovered a QR code link to the author - reading the text in Anindilyakwa. I would recommend relocating this code and the accompanying background information to the front of the text to ensure that it was not overlooked. I would share the information about the author, illustrators and the Groote Eyland context prior to listening to and viewing this text with a class or small group of children.

I would encourage teachers to be very familiar with this text prior to sharing it with their classes to ensure that the full value of the work is conveyed. For example, the explanation of the map of Groote Eyland, adjacent to the title page, is embedded in text at the back of the book. This is a rich text with potential for use with students with diverse literacy levels and in a range of school contexts. I will use it with early years students in a metropolitan setting.'
Dr Carmel Bochenek, Perth, WA

'Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa, amiyembena yirrirringka yirruwa?
When we go walkabout, what do we see?

The beautiful landscapes are fauna of Groote Eylandt are brought to life in this unique dual-language picture book which introduces very young children to their unique surroundings.  There is the frill-necked lizard – dukwululuwawa - on the big rock; the green frog - dilyaburnda – in the billabong; the wallaby – yiburada – in the scrub and many more right through to the dingarrbiya and the yikurridangwa!! And then back home, after the walkabout is complete, there is someone special – the person who first introduced the author and illustrator to their environment and who inspired the book because they want to be able to share the wonders with their own grandchildren in time.

This is a remarkable book for many reasons…
Apart from the text written in both Anindilyakwa and English – the two-way learning that is the best way for indigenous children to become literate in both English and their mother-tongue – the artworks which are a collaboration between the illustrator Alfred Lalara and his wife Alice Durilla, are an integral part of passing on knowledge embedded in traditional stories and thus a critical part of the book as a whole.  The stories of how Alfred and his wife learned to paint in the traditional style, and Rhoda’s motive for writing When We Go Walkabout make fascinating reading at the end of the book.  Clearly it is one of those rare titles that entertains, informs and persuades at the same time.

The book itself is the first of the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project a partnership between the Little Big Book Club and Allen & Unwin in which six previously unpublished Indigenous writers and illustrators will have their work showcased in four picture books during 2014.  Each creator has been partnered with a renowned mentor in children’s publishing including Nadia Wheatley, Ken Searle, Nick Bland, Ann James, Bronwyn Bancroft, Boori Monty Pryor and Ali Cobby Eckermann to share ideas, techniques and inspiration for their first published work. The project has been funded by the federal government through the Australia Council and it means that not only will our cohort of children’s writers be enriched but our students will have access to authentic texts that will work towards the understanding and harmony between our cultures that is at the heart of so many of the Australian Curriculum outcomes.

Even though the publishers suggest this is a book for the 0-5 brigade, Miss Nearly 8 and I shared and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It sparked a discussion about how other Australian children speak different languages and how much fun that could be and because we live where we do, we see some of the creatures like wallabies and cockatoos daily, we tried saying the new names we had learned.  It helped that we could listen to Rhoda Lara read it to us at https://soundcloud.com/#allenandunwin/yirruwa-yirrilikenuma-langwa (There’s a QR code in the back of the book.) We also talked about how the story was written so the language and knowledge could be passed through the generations on Groote Eylandt and what she had learned from her grandmother (me) and what of that she might pass on to her own children.  That was a fascinating insight and showed that getting children to talk about such things is a critical way of helping them understand both their family history and their place in it.

Usually I give my review copies to a local school, but Miss Nearly 8 asked if she could have this one.  She wanted to read it again and think about it some more – and then write a story for her grandchildren!!  The best stories always go beyond the lines, and this has clearly done that.'
Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, Cooma, NSW

'When We Go Walkabout is a remarkable and beautiful book not only for the amazing artwork but the text written in  both Anindilyakwa and English.  Having both English and Anindilyakwa is a great way to expose indigenous and non indigenous children  to both languages.  The story starts off with the Anindilyakwa mother tongue - Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa, amiyembena yirrirringka yirruwa?
When we go walkabout, what do we see?. The story invites the readers to look at the beautiful  and colourful landscapes of the fauna and animals of  Groote Eylandt. The Illustrations show untouched scrub, landscapes, frill necked lizards, green frogs and billabongs plus many more. I really enjoyed this story as my class were impressed by the mother tongue  Anindilyakwa and had fun trying to recite the sentences themselves. This lead to a discussion about the different languages Australian children speak. As well as animals having different names such as the green tree frog being called Dilyaburnda  . The story also introduces children to the natural wonders of where we lived and shares the differences and the similarities. As a class we made our own story about the animals and fauna we could see at our kindergarten. The book is used at stroy time as well as being added to regularly by the children as soon as they find something new and exciting to draw about. We also created our own aboriginal artworks.
When We Go Walkabout is a story that can be shared with any age, however I found the children aged 5 and up in my class became engaged and interested in the illustrations as well as the story. A captivating, inviting story that showed us a little insight into the Groote Eylandt.'
Claire Evans, Palmwoods Kindergarten

'This beautiful picture book is suitable for children and adults to share together. The story is written in both Anindilyakwa and English, bringing both languages together to celebrate the walkabout, an important part of Indigenous Australian culture. For young children, the bilingual story is about the narrators going on a walk and their delightful discovery of animals and stars in their country before returning home to Grandma. For older children, the traditional Indigenous Australian walkabouts can be discussed using this text, and compared with other traditions held by different cultures.

The book contains a QR code so readers can listen to Rhoda tell the story in Anindilyakwa, the ancient language still spoken on Groote Eylandt. Rhoda’s brother Alfred (and Alfred’s wife Alice) created the bright and engaging illustrations based on the traditional line and raak cross hatching of the Warnindilyakwa people. The book is a beautiful way to teach children the importance of passing down family stories so that they are not lost, and allows Rhoda and Alfred to do this with their own families and community.

This book was used with an upper primary class during Reconciliation Week as a springboard to discussions on Australian history and the importance of reconciliation in Australia. The students enjoyed the bilingual story and being able to hear a native speaker of the Anindilyakwa language. The students were interested in exploring more about the Groote Eylandt people and also discussing how the land we lived on had altered since the Europeans settled on Indigenous Australian land. We also explored the importance of knowing more about and respecting ancient languages and cultures, and keeping them alive for traditional communities around the world. We discussed important traditions that the students’ families participated in and the students worked towards creating their own texts (many were bilingual and used art styles from their own cultures) that could teach others about their traditions.

This vibrant text could easily be used across the Australian K-6 curriculum in English, The Arts, Science, History and Geography.'
Kristina Delbridge, Teacher, Garran Primary, ACT

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