The Indigenous Literacy Foundation has undertaken a project to translate into at least fourteen First Nations languages several well-known early childhood literature titles such as ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘Where is the Green Sheep’. Seeing your First Nation’s language in published books is important in developing identity, pride, culture and a connection to Country and community and provides a strong message about the importance of acknowledging and maintaining the language.
One title selected is Helen Oxenbury’s ‘Say Goodnight’ which is a simple happy story and an excellent book to share with the very young. Featuring four double page spreads, it is beautifully illustrated. Each illustration shows the everyday activities of a group of culturally diverse young babies interacting with family members, playing on swings and finally sleeping soundly and comfortably in their bed.
Currently the book is available in three First Nations languages. The Garawa translation is by Daphne Mawson, Katie Mawson and Alan Baker. The Kriol translation is by Josie Lardy and Denise Angelo. The Ngaanyatjarra translation is by Beryl Jennings. Other languages may become available in the future.
Helen Oxenbury is a London based illustrator. She has won the UK’s prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration twice and been a runner-up four times.