Storytelling through illustration was the theme of our trip to Tjuntjuntjara last week as we travelled out with illustrator Ann James.
“It’s a great privilege to be invited as a guest to a remote community,” said Ann. “Cooking up fun with words and images is a perfect way in to story and reading and I always enjoy it as much as the kids do. These kids at Tjuntjunjara School love stories and reading.”
Over three days, the children developed their skills in different art techniques, and used a huge variety of materials such as water colour, charcoal, crayons, salt, paint brushes, pencils, googly eyes and paper clay. I’m a Dirty Dinosaur and It’s a Miroocool, both illustrated by Ann, were among the many books used as inspiration for the workshops.
Reading and sharing stories is part of the daily routine at the school and playgroup at Tjuntjuntjara and the books provided by our Foundation have helped make this possible. Every day after recess, boxes of ILF-supplied books are brought out along with artificial grass mats (it is the desert after all). The children are captivated by stories and enjoy sharing books with one another.
It was interesting to see the children even more excited about books after getting to know Ann and learning more about the role illustrations play in children’s books. To read and share books Ann had illustrated was a real treat and highlight for many of the children!
The visit was truly a special one – partly because it took 7 hours by plane and 8 hours by road to get there (by far the longest journey we’ve done), but largely because the Coman family was also spending time in the community. It was Lachie Coman who initiated the relationship between ILF and the community over three years ago which resulted in the book How Does Your Garden Grow? And it will be certainly one that will continue to grow for years to come. The trip would not have been possible without the incredible amount of support that we received from Principal Wilbur Klein and all of the teaching staff.