Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa|When We Go Walkabout by Rhoda Lalara
Illustrated by Alfred Lalara
Published by Allen & Unwin
Date: 27 November 2017
Yirruwa Yirrilikenuma-langwa (When We Go Walkabout), is a beautiful celebration of indigenous culture, where each picture is a work of art and celebrates the Aboriginal way of passing on knowledge through the traditional stories of their ancestors.
Rhoda spent time with the communities of Groote Eylant and Bickerton Island to bring us this story in both the ancient Anindilyakwa language and English language. And, while many of us won’t know how to speak the traditional language, but are interested in how it sounds when spoken, there is a recorded version by the author herself on the Allen & Unwin website.
The book begins with the start of walkabout and on this journey we see what is being discovered along the way, such as a Dukwululuwawa! Frill-necked lizard! The story also mentions in what type of environment the animals have been seen in, such as the Frill-necked lizard being seen on the big rock running away from the people.
This book reminds me of “I Went Walking” by Sue Williams, which is one of my favourtie books. Combining these books for a Storytime session would engage children in conversation about the differences in each, including the variety of animals.
This book can be appreciated by all people regardless of their age, because there is something in it for everyone. For babies and toddlers shortening the story to just the names of the animals will assist with keeping their interest. For anyone older, reading through the story and discussing the Aboriginal language used, as well as learning the Aboriginal terms for the animal species will introduce the readers to Indigenous Australian culture which they may not have previously known about.
Overall, this book identifies what is unique about Australia, and how our country is made up of diverse people and species of animal. Most of all it allows us to connect to communities around us as we develop an understanding of their traditions and understanding of the world. In its simplicity it is a book about animals which children are familiar with and enjoy reading about.
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read and review this book
Did you know…
This book was produced through a project called the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Program. This project is a joint initiative between the Little Big Book Club and Allen & Unwin , which is funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.