A group of playgroup mums in remote La Grange/Bidyadanga, WA have just spent four days developing some board books in traditional languages for the kids in their community.
ILF Lifetime Ambassador Alison Lester was instrumental in facilitating this exciting new publishing project, along with long-time local educator and language advisor Aunty Maureen, renowned photographer Wayne Quillian, author Jane Godwin, and Tina Raye and Nicole Whiles from the ILF team.
Five Indigenous languages are spoken in La Grange/Bidyadanga, as well as English and Aboriginal English. Aunty Maureen, who has been creating language books for the students over the years, was very keen to have some board books available for use in the playgroup and pre-school, as well as in family homes.
There will be different editions of the two board books, in each of the different languages spoken in the community, with English translations in the back.
“It’s so important for children to be able to read in their own language,” says Alison.
The playgroup at La Grange has been receiving books and other early childhood literacy resources through our Book Buzz program for several years. And now, the writing and illustrating workshops conducted by Alison and Jane at La Grange have become an intergral part of our ongoing – and growing – relationship with this remote community and its playgroup program that is run by KindiLink.
After four days of tossing around ideas, creating artwork and nutting out words, the mums and kids from the La Grange KindiLink Program can’t wait to see the two finished board books. One is about colours, the second book is about different parts of the body.
“Wayne took some photos, for example of the kids’ hands,” Alison explains. “Then the kids did line drawings. The resulting artwork is gorgeous.”
Alison says the playgroup mothers really loved the whole process of creating a book and were very enthusiastic about being involved in the workshop.
“Some came back day after day. They were so excited and couldn’t wait to get cracking.”
The whole process was pretty exciting for Alison too.
“It was great to work with [the women in the community] in this creative way … a nice marriage of experience and ideas. And proper relationships with the community are being developed over time … It’s making something out of nothing. There’s no book, and then there is a book!”
Along with the two board books, some of the students at La Grange Remote Community School with the support and guidance of Aunty Maureen and teacher Sheree Ford are working on a potential picture book, all about fishing.