My Internship Featuring the Barrumbi Kids NITV Series

My Internship Featuring the Barrumbi Kids NITV Series
By Sally Allen

While undertaking my Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship) at Charles Sturt University, I completed a ten-day Professional Placement Program (internship) at the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (the ‘Centre’). At the time, the Centre was in consultation with the Australian Children’s Television Foundation about creating a complementary resource for the Barrumbi Kids television series under production by National Indigenous Television (NITV). The TV series is based on the Barrumbi Kids books written by Leonie Norrington. The Centre’s resource could be used in conjunction with the NITV series. In the series, which premiered in November 2022, two children learn about cultures in their remote Northern Territory community.

The Centre team focused on creating a digital teaching resource for their website. The aim was to promote and celebrate the Barrumbi Kids middle grade book series as well as two picture books by this author illustrated by Dee Huxley. The Centre’s web-based resource would include two sections:

  1. An information section on the Barrumbi Kids book series
  2. A digital exhibition based around two picture books, ‘Look See, Look at Me’ (Allen & Unwin, 2010) and ‘You and Me: Our Place’ (Working Title Press, 2007), both written by Leonie Norrington and illustrated by Dee Huxley. The purpose would be to showcase the illustrator’s creative process.

During my first week at NCACL, I wrote annotations for Leonie Norrington’s chapter books for younger readers now included in the Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Resource database. These annotations feature in the Barrumbi Kids resource. The Centre could thus promote the Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander People’s Resource database to teachers and parents and also showcase the illustrator’s creative process.

Dee Huxley had donated her sketches, preliminary and final artworks for ‘Look See, Look at Me’ and ‘You and Me: Our Place’ to the Centre. I was very privileged to work in the team to identify and organise which sketches and final artworks would be used to showcase the creative process involved in creating a picture book. It was a fantastic process to witness how one picture could change so dramatically from the initial sketch to the final image in the book.

The next component of the project was considering which preliminary artworks, final artworks and book pages might be reproduced for the online exhibition. Belle Alderman, the Centre Director, requested permission from the publishers and illustrator to feature the artwork and published pages from the books on the Centre’s website. Dee Huxley, the illustrator, granted permission for her preliminary and final artworks to be included. The publishers of each book also granted permission for the final artworks and book pages to appear on the Centre’s website.

In conclusion, I feel so lucky to have been involved in this unique experience, and I can’t wait for the project’s next phase. Thank you to the team at the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature for such an incredible internship.


Sally Allen is a teacher librarian at the Narrabundah Early Childhood School and the Lyons Early Childhood School in the ACT. She has been teaching for over 20 years, all in the ACT public education system, mainly in primary schools with students across all the grades from preschool to year 6.  She has worked in a broad range of roles in her teacher career including a classroom teacher, a reading recovery teacher, an EAL/D teacher, a learning support teacher for literacy and maths and a teacher in ASD units. Sally says that children’s literature has always been a key focus and often the initial prompt to her lessons. In her current role as a teacher librarian at two early childhood schools in Canberra she loves helping students to explore children’s literature to build their love of reading and critical thinking skills.

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