State Library of Queensland, 2021
0-2yrs, 3-4yrs, 5-8yrs
AC Links/EYLFEYLF1, EYLF2, EYLF3, EYLF4, EYLF5, ACELA1428, ACELT1575, ACELT1783, ACELT1580, ACELT1831, ACHASSK011
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- Children as artists
‘My People’ is one child’s story of love and devotion within her large Aboriginal family. Shaylah is the five-year-old illustrator who proudly shares stories about her family members and what each one means to her. The images are full of joy and energetic. Two hands on the front cover feature the red, black and yellow colours of the Aboriginal flag with endpapers repeating the welcoming invitation to meet her family. Shaylah gives us special insights into each person. For example, she reveals a brother who is ‘very naughty’. Nanna Rosie Posie gives the ‘best hugs’ whenever Shaylah is sad. Her ‘favourite’ relative is an Uncle who took her yabbying and fishing and together they played ‘shake-a-leg’. This favourite Uncle is now an ‘angel’, whom Shaylah reveals she ‘loves and misses with all my heart’.
Artworks throughout feature simple line figures and occasional decorative touches, with a single exception. The illustration for her beloved Uncle is a very soft, evocative splash of colours that perfectly conveys her love for him. The catalogue of much-loved family members continues throughout. Sissy is the ‘dancing queen’ in the family. Cam is like a big sister who helps with Shaylah’s hair every morning. Nennox and Dill are favourites because they share their lollies. Through her minimal text and simple drawings, we feel Shaylah’s love for each member of her family including her heart-felt concluding declaration of love for everyone in the family: ‘We are all one Mob, on one Land and we all have one Love’. The final illustration is an Aboriginal flag inside a very large heart.
There are 12 books in the First 5 Forever series developed by the Queensland Government to support families in promoting children’s literacy development from birth through five years. A range of subjects and varying artistic styles showcase writers and artists with a Queensland connection. The State Library of Queensland’s black&write! editorial team supported this development. More information is available at wwwslq.qld.gov.au/first5forever.
Billie-Jean Taylor is a proud Mithaka woman. Shaylah Dod is the five-year-old featured in this story. She is also Billie-Jean’s daughter.
Series title: First 5 Forever
- State Library of Queensland, Stories for Little Queenslanders (website includes a reading of the story with music and sound effects https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/first5forever/books
- State Library of Queensland, ‘My People: a book about what families mean to you’, 8 April 2021 (ideas for sharing this book) https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/blog/my-people-book-about-what-families-mean-you
- Queensland Government, ‘The meaning of family in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures’ https://cspm.csyw.qld.gov.au/practice-kits/safe-care-and-connection/working-with-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander/seeing-and-understanding/the-meaning-of-family-in-aboriginal-and-torres-str
- Watarrka Foundation, ‘The Role of Family and Kinship in Aboriginal Culture’ http://www.watarrkafoundation.org.au/blog/the-role-of-family-kinship-in-aboriginal-culture