No Way Yirrikipayi is a funny, delightful rhyming story about a hungry crocodile who chases his next meal: dugongs, turtles, stingrays and more, with no success. It was one of two books written by students, this one from Milikapiti School, with the aid of author Alison Lester during our annual Ambassador Visit to the Tiwi Islands.
This was our second visit to the Tiwi Islands organised by our Program Manager, Tina Raye, who taught and lived on Melville Island for a few years. We were honoured to be invited back and to stay at Tiwi College. Four authors/illustrators from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne came with us including Dub Leffler, poet Sam Watson, David Lawrence and Alison Lester along with Patricia Genat, President of the Australian Booksellers Association and James Kellow, CEO of HarperCollins. We were also joined by members of our board including Juliet Rogers, Chair of ILF, Suzy Wilson, our Founder and Nick Bowditch.
During the week, more than 200 students read and experienced a variety of writing workshops. Some students learned how to illustrate and put together a book. Others were taught to write ditties about salty plums, ghost stories, or brainstorm and illustrate a story about Fox Swift and what could happen if he visited the Tiwi Islands.
During the trip, we were privileged to visit Pularumpi School and art centre, join traditional ceremonies at Milikapiti, visit the Jilamara Arts & Craft Centre, swim at Turracumbi water falls and pick fresh vegetables growing in the Hayden/Reynolds Garden at Tiwi College. Sadly (or gladly), there were no yullee worms or buffalo hunting. Some of the highlights of the week were the book celebrations where our authors read and each student got to choose his own book and a t-shirt. Our huge thanks go to Ian and Annie Smith at Tiwi College who not only organised transport across the island but gave us a fantastic introduction to Tiwi culture and life.
Dub Leffler, author & film maker
"I love the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Working with them in the field as an Ambassador during the 2014 trip to the Tiwi Islands, i got to see how they really work with communities and engage with the kids on their level.
Not only do they foster an awareness of literacy levels among the broader community,they also facilitate on-going learning tools and opportunities for remote schools, children and families. They understand how to connect with Indigenous communities and get lasting results. They have an amazing team who work beyond their means."
DUB LEFFLER, AUTHOR of Once There was a Boy