What a privilege it was to spend the past week with Walmajarri people in such unique country! We visited two small communities in the Fitzroy Valley, in the Kimberley region of WA, which is surrounded by salt lakes, ranges and rivers.
For the local Indigenous peoples, song and music is a big part of the culture and Yakanarra community requested that we bring a talented musician. Jordie Lane, a Melbourne-born artist who is now based in the US, jumped at the chance to join us on this trip. His presence in the community was well received as he performed and facilitated song workshops. The children took pride in showing off their community and sharing stories of the people and the land. It was a time of two-way learning through common interests: story telling and song.
We continued to share the joy of reading by launching Book Buzz 3 and gifting over 400 books. The whole community took part in the celebration and book-giving ceremony and were treated to a performance by Jordie Lane and song by local elder Mary Vanbee.
“The community was very excited about the celebration. Children and adults enjoyed the opportunity to choose their very own book to take home. It’s important to highlight that reading and sharing a book is for everyone, young and old,” said Tina Raye, Program Manager.
“This is good for our little ones, and for us,” said Jessie Moora, Teacher at Yakanarra School.
While in the region we also travelled two hours south west to Wulungarra Community School. It was our first visit to this community and we celebrated the occasion with a similar book-giving ceremony, gifting about 200 books to the children at the school.
More and more exciting projects are coming out of the region. We’re working on translations of Book Buzz titles such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Cranky Bear. There will also be more books written by children including a Yakanarra songbook and a book that was created during workshops with Alison Lester.
We would like to sincerely thank all the staff at both schools and other members of the communities who put in a tremendous effort to make our visit so successful and memorable.