Illustrating Books in Fitzroy Crossing with Alison Lester

Illustrating Books in Fitzroy Crossing with Alison Lester

Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) Lifetime Ambassador Alison Lester has been a valued mentor to many remote Communities, supporting them to create books for publishing.

She has provided the rights to translate her book Run Like a Rabbit into Garawa, and has held workshops over the past decade with remote Communities to write and illustrate their own stories. 

Alison says it was a privilege to see her book translated. "It makes my heart sing to see Run Like a Rabbit published in Garawa, such an honour. I can’t wait to hear it being read."

Run Like a Rabbit in Garawa

In her time with the ILF, Alison has also helped develop commercial titles No Way Yirrikipayi! and Yakanarra Song Book, and non-commercial titles Ngaripirtangaya and Kunbarlanja Kunbolk.

No Way Yirrikipayi!

From 2018, along with children’s author and publisher Jane Godwin, Alison worked with debut author Marshia Cook and her children, Tamua Nuggett and Cazarus Baker, and debut author Emma Bear on the writing and illustrating of Jarrampa and Purlka ngamagi Kakaji (Big Fat Mummy Goanna). 

These two books were written in Walmajarri and English, and were recently released by the ILF. This project was organised and facilitated by Vicki Hynam, Education and Development Lead at the Baya Gawiy Buga yani Jandu Yani u Centre in Fitzroy Crossing.

These two bilingual books were launched amidst much celebration at the Centre’s NAIDOC Week celebrations in 2021, and are evocative of daily life and language in Fitzroy Crossing.

Jarrampa and Purlka ngamaji Kakaji (Big Fat Mummy Goanna)

“Jane Godwin and I worked at Baya Gawiy, the children and family centre at Fitzroy Crossing, in 2018. Vicki Hynam had invited us to work with a group of women with the idea of creating some words and illustrations for books. It was a great time and a lot of creative stuff happened, but no actual books,” explains Alison. 

“Over the following 12 months Vicki and the ladies worked together on stories and by the time we went back in 2019 Emma and Marshia had written their books Jarrampa and Big Fat Mummy Goanna.”

Alison expresses that she had a marvellous week working with these authors and illustrators, finessing the text and experimenting with illustrations until they finally settled on the style they liked the best. “The little boys, Tamua and Cazarus, worked alongside us and helped with Marshia’s illustrations,” she says.

“It was an absolute privilege to spend time with these two authors as their books came to life. Often as a facilitator it’s all about just getting somebody’s confidence up, especially with illustrating. Most adults are very embarrassed about their drawing when often what they are putting on paper is fabulous, but it is a very personal thing. Sharing different techniques and methods of illustrating is a great way of giving power and control to the illustrator,” says Alison.

We are so grateful to have Alison Lester as a part of our team and we are excited to keep working with her to produce stories by and for Communities.

Check out these books in our online bookshop, via

  • Posted 21 May, 2022

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