The Indigenous Literacy Foundation works as an initiative of the Australian Book Industry with the support of:
Community Literacy Projects
Community Literacy Projects focus on publishing books that are written or developed by community members. These books, many of which have been written by children, recognise the importance of community stories, respond to the requests from community, and have positive literacy outcomes.
There are two distinct categories of books that ILF has been involved in publishing. These include stories written by children, and parenting or educational books, written in consultation with community members. To date, the ILF has published – across different partnerships – 42 books, of which 11 were published in Indigenous languages.
“It’s a wonderful, positive experience for the young authors. It creates self-worth and identity for them to know their stories are important and who they are as individuals. They can become anything they want when they’re older and know what they’re capable of doing.’’Jacinta Price, Warlpiri woman, singer/songwriter and Imparja TV presenter
2016 Community Literacy Projects
See details about these specific books and previous publications below. Click here to order.
How do these projects work?
All potential publishing projects have to go through a proposal process. They need to be in-line with our vision and strategy, and approved by our Board.
Each project is different. Some involve working with the community, others involce translators, linguists, authors, illustrators, editors and artists. Once a book is published, the ILF organises an official launch with all relevant parties.
Copies of the books are often gifted back to the community, and included in the following year's Book Supply program.
Why publish stories from community?
There is great value in publishing stories from community. Children involved in the writing process feel excited about literacy, and when the whole community, and surrounding communties get involved, there is a buzz around reading and writing.
The young authors become role models for other children – and this instills a sense of achievement in the whole community. The books show community members that their stories and experiences are valid and just as important as any other story that is published.
The books give other readers, from other communities, a glimpse into the life of young people and their communities. Some of the ILF's resource books (Reading with Children, Mangarrayi and Yangman Plans and Animals) have been written to empower parents and community members to be involved in literacy development.
“The book, Bangs 2 Jurrkuk, is absolute Gold. Not only Tiwi context – but Tiwi College context! A massive round of applause.”- Ian Smith, Principal, Tiwi College.
“I would like to thank the ILF for helping us to make the book in Walmajarri because it’s very important to us and for our kids to have English and Walmajarri.”- Jessie Moora, Walmajarri Elder and Teacher, Yakanarra School.
What language are the books published in?
We allow community members to help decide what language the books should be written in. Of our books published, 22 have been written in nine Indigenous languages and English, while another five include key words in first language.
“These books are so important for the future of the children and for the elders of the community. To have their language recognised and respected is something that their culture can look on and be so proud of. We’re proud of the kids, they have worked so hard on their books and are proud of them!”- Helen Unwin, Principal, Yakanarra School
How are the projects funded?
While some Community Literacy Projects are funded by the ILF, some have received funding grants, sponsorship, or been published as a result of partnerships with other organisations.
Community Literacy Program catalogue
THE HONEY ANT READERS: Central Australia, NT and WA, 2012
How Does Your Garden Grow?
How Does Your Garden Grow features 15 stories from children aged 6 to 9 who live in a very remote community Tjuntjuntjara in WA.
A Student's Idea
In 2011, ILF received an email from Lachie Coman, a primary school student at Firbank Grammar in Melbourne. He had heard a little about remote communities and the difficulties of living in them and wanted to "do something".
With the assistance and support of his school principal and his father, he organised a visit to a remote community. To fund the trip, Lachie, who was head of the school's environmental group, grew and sold vegetables from his school garden. Lachie approached ILF asking for advice on the best choice of books to take to the community and we gave him a range of books for the children.While visiting the community Lachie spent a significant amount of time at the school. He worked in the school's garden, which became an important meeting point for him and the students at Tjuntjuntjara. The entire group wrote a book about the usefulness of a garden and some of the great things that can be grown – in this case, friendship.
This wonderful book is wholly the work of children. Any adult involvements in this project have only been as support mechanisms. Children have been in the driving seat from the start of this project to the production of this great story.
Books in Dual Language Wilcannia and Menindee, NSW, July 2013
In July 2012, ILF launched two books written and developed in dual language with the support of local community members at Wilcannia.
The books, No Tharlta on the Bus and Lenny and the Big Red Malka were written and published by Faith Baisden with the support of the Cultural Agency Literacy Fund, and were launched at a series of workshops in Menindee and at Wilcannia with children aged 5 to 9 years.
BUTCHER PAPER TEXTA BLACKBOARD AND CHALK
A songbook written by Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach, illustrated by Ruby Hunter, 2012
"A huge thank you to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation for your generous donation to the Butcher Paper Texta Black Board and Chalk songbook that Ruby illustrated and which also has the CD of children’s songs written by Ruby and myself, inspired largely by children we met in Australia’s remote far north throughout Cape York and a documentary of the tour we took to those communities where the songs came to life. You have helped to make Ruby’s dream of releasing her children’s album come true." - Archie Roach, June 2012.
ILF was very proud to help sponsor the publication of this book of children's songs, beautifully illustrated with paintings by Ruby Hunter. Published in September 2012, the book includes a CD/DVD and continues to be an important resource for teachers and parents, building early-literacy skills through song, rhyme and rhythm.
MANGARRAYI AND YANGMAN Plants and Animals, 2011 and 2012
This part of the NT is home to the magnificent Elsey National Park and the country where the iconic book (and film) We of the Never Never was set. This resource book is significant, as the community was losing many of the local elders who held the plant and animal knowledge specific to the area.
The book, which took over 15 years to write and publish, was delivered to elders and the community at the beginning of February 2012. It is used at the local school and in workshops run by members of the community.
2011 Jarjums Yarning, North Stradbroke Kids’ Literacy Projects, QLD, 2011
On Tuesday 25 October 2011, the Quandamooka people of North Stradbroke Island celebrated the launch of two books written and illustrated by the jarjums (children) at Dunwich State School. The publication of the two books, What Is A Disaster I Hear You Say and Alphabet Antics, was funded by our Foundation.
What Is A Disaster I Hear You Say was developed by Volunteering Queensland's Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Natural Disaster Resilience Project in partnership with the Jarjum Yarning Project. The books arose from an initiative that aimed to get the whole community engaged in literacy and to ensure the presence of Indigenous books in the school, playgroups, the learning centre Yulu-Burri-Ba and children’s homes.
ILF Founder Suzy Wilson launched the books along with the Dunwich State School staff and students. Guests included the State Member for Cleveland Dr Mark Robinson, Rotary Governor Debbie James and Rotary representatives, as well as representatives from the State Library, local emergency services, non-profit organisations and community, and elders.
Jennie Schoof, Aboriginal Community Resilience Project Coordinator, said that the students worked hard to develop the stories. "It felt amazing to watch their beautiful smiles and such pride in the step. What a boost to celebrating literacy for the island. All of the community were so excited about the work that the students did."
The books were published by Kids' Own Publishing.
GRUG LEARNS TO READ
Translations, Borroloola, NT, 2011
The Ted Prior title Grug Learns to Read has been translated into the language of the Garrawa people in the Northern Territory's Gulf of Carpentaria.
With the very kind permission of Ted Prior, Simon and Schuster published Grug Learns to Read in Karrawa. The book was sent to Borroloola, NT, where it is used in language and culture groups to help children develop greater knowledge of the Karrawa language.
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation also provided English language translations of this book in the form of robust transparent stickers that are placed on the pages beside the Karrawa language in the book. As they read, the children can see both languages and thus have the opportunity to learn both. There are four language groups at Borroloola including Yanyula, Mara, Gudanji and the Garrawa peoples.
GurrindinDalmi Community Based Play, Katherine, NT, 2010–2011
This project brought together the Katherine Regional Arts and Katherine Indigenous community members to produce installation art and a play that records a significant local Dreaming story about GurrindinDalmi Rainbow Serpent who lives in caves under the Katherine township.
The project aimed to build strategies to embed Indigenous knowledge across the broader community. Writing the script and play provided the opportunity for young Indigenous people to learn some of their own language, as well as to develop their skills in Standard Australian English. This was a combined community project with financial support and other contributions from several sources.
Leonie Norrington Project, Maningrida, NT, 2010
This project involved working with community members to develop a manuscript for a children’s book. An illustrator visited the community to run illustration workshops, the products of which were then used to illustrate the book. The project involved children working with parents and grandparents to produce a book written in Standard Australian English.
The children’s sense of ownership and responsibility for their book encouraged them to read it, thereby enhancing their literacy skills. When the book was complete, a publisher was approached. Leonie Norrington is an ILF Ambassador and the author of children’s books Barrambi Kids series, You and Me: Our Place and The Devil You Know. She has conducted workshops with several Arnhem communities to produce these books.
Junjuwa Women’s House, Kimberleys, WA, 2010
Tablelands Ringers' Stories, 2010–2011
This project aimed to record the stories of ringers and other Indigenous station workers from around the Barkly Tablelands in the 1960s and 1970s, and to include young people in the process and technologies of recording.
The stories were recorded in word, verbal and pictorial forms to encourage interacting with SAE and AEL. The older members of the community feared that the younger ones were in danger of forgetting the significant contributions made to the development of the Australian cattle industry and their history. These stories will be added to the recorded histories of the Barkly Tablelands.