Aboriginal children's book launched at Wallaga Lake

A BOOK launch for the picture book “Our little Yuin” was held last Tuesday at Little Yuin Aboriginal Preschool at Wallaga Lake.

Children, family members from the community, teachers and supporters gathered to celebrate the children’s message in this special book written and illustrated by a group in their transition term at the end of 2013.

It was written and illustrated by seven children at the pre-school and tells of a day at Little Yuin and what makes it such a special place.

The authors Chloe, Kadee, Leo, Madison, Mimosa, Skarlette, and Sophie were aged four or five at the time.

“This will be the best Aboriginal book ever,” said Madison, one of the delighted authors.

The book is one of the significant outcomes from a literacy transition project in the children’s final term at Little Yuin in 2013 before starting school, guided by literacy consultant/volunteer Beth Wilson.

Four of the authors returned to Little Yuin for the launch.

“Their stories and paintings came from workshops and were then shared with their families and the community,” said teacher and preschool director Lea Sutherland, acknowledging the ‘tireless efforts’ of Mrs Wilson in seeing the project through.

The words and paintings show that Little Yuin is a special place of belonging for them.

Yuin is a sleeping language and the writing includes Yuin words that became very familiar to them in their time at the preschool.

“With this book the children hope to share and celebrate Yuin culture and identity with new children who come to Little Yuin and with people in the wider world they have entered,” Beth Wilson said.

Their stories include words from the local language that had become familiar to the children during their time at pre-school, thanks to Uncle Warren Foster who helped with language

They also included a special animal totem each child had chosen from the special stone sculptures in the pre-school’s stone dreaming path.

The cover features a wonderful painting by Sophie of janan-gabitch, the echidna.

The book was made possible thanks to support from Little Yuin’s special patrons including the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, indigenous author and artist Bronwyn Bancroft, Professor Fiona Stanley and Professor Deborah Brennan, Eurobodalla Shire Council and several community groups.

Ms Sutherland said Little Yuin hopes to soon secure Federal funds from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy which would enable Little Yuin to continue.

Our Little Yuin is for sale at $20 to raise funds for the preschool and assist children’s literacy and learning.

You can purchase it online at www.ourlittleyuin.org.au and there are copies at libraries, the Narooma information centre, The ABC Cheese Factory at Tilba and other local outlets.

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