Shallow In the Deep End was written and illustrated by Tiwi College Senior girls, with ILF ambassador Jared Thomas and published by Scholastic Australia through the ILF Create Initiative.
The story is about the friendship and adventures of Shallow the baby water buffalo and Bruno the dog – and still a classroom favourite on Tiwi.
Recently, we heard from Tammy Abala and Shane Tippa from Tiwi College with a story of how Shallow in the Deep End is still enjoyed by students!
“Last week, we were locked out of our room, so I knew our routine for reading group would be disrupted,” explained Tammy, “and therefore I had a chance to introduce something different.”
So Tammy grabbed Shallow in the Deep End off the reading resource shelf.
“We read page-by-page taking turns. When we got to the part where it said ‘Milikapiti’ and ‘Nimpangi’ – one of the boys looked up in shock.”
“Hey?! Is this? What? Is this Tiwi?” he asked.
Tammy laughed, showed him the cover and explained who had written the book and where it had come from.
“Then the boys had a big convo about other dogs in community named Shallow and how there really was a buffalo in Mili that acted like a dog,” says Tammy, “We all laughed.”
“The boys loved reading this book, and it really filled my heart with joy to see the impact it had on them."
They continued to read Shallow in the Deep End, and after reading time Tammy ran a comprehension quiz with the boys.
“And what happened when the dad took Yingkiti to the old ladies at the card ring?” Tammy asked the boys.
Well, little Albert sprang into action, retelling the Tiwi version of the story with full actions of the cards going everywhere and old ladies running for it!
“I had tears (of love and laughter at this),” Tammy tells us.
When the book was finished, all boys gave it 10/10, and Tammy asked each one to tell us why. Their answers were:
"It is Tiwi."
"It was funny."
We couldn’t ask for better feedback than that!
The Create Initiative partners young Indigenous women with publishers and mentors. You can purchase your copy of Shallow in the Deep End here.