Reviews and media coverage for the Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Resource
Dr Belle Alderman ACCESS Volume 34, No 4 November 2020
Reprinted in Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)
SCIS Edublogs 16 December 2020
‘The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature is a treasure house. As a doctoral student researching Australian Aboriginal books written by Australian Aboriginal people, I found it to contain a unique collection of books that have been thoughtfully curated. Their compilation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander books is outstanding. Their catalogue search engine is easy to use and enables you to search books by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Each book on their website also has links to themes, comprehensive annotations, and teaching resources.
The collection is primarily staffed by enthusiastic volunteers who are not only extremely hospitable but also knowledgeable and highly qualified. As a researcher, they not only provided me with an uninterrupted space to work in but located the 80 books that I was interested in and put them aside for my arrival.
For any researcher of Australian children’s books, a visit to NCACL is likely to be highly productive as not only do they hold a comprehensive range of books, but many of their books also have a range of associated materials including some original manuscripts and artworks. I look forward to seeing how their collection continues to develop.’
Ruth Nitschke, National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature Reading Time September 27, 2020
Created for educators and parents alike, this rich and comprehensive database of Australian titles, suitable for children through to 12 years old, (stage 2 will reveal books for older children) is the perfect place to find the evolving compilation of published Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s literature.
The database, created by a team of experts including Aboriginal People and culturally diverse librarians, academics, booksellers, creators and parents, includes very many subjects (and I picked out just a few that intrigued me) such as Dreaming, Babies, Anangu, Dinosaurs, Alphabet, Languages, Greed, Cooking (Damper), Hairy Men, Quarrelling, Sheds, Sugarbag, Witchetty Grubs, … even as refined as Animal Migration. All the themes reveal connected Indigenous literary titles.
Easily navigated, it has a comprehensive list of curriculum links and resources that may also include information about the creators, interviews, reviews, publisher notes and much more. Traditional stories as well as modern daily life are told with the illustrations ranging from photographic, to the traditional and more contemporary art styles. It is also searchable by a wide range of fields including subject, age range, publication year, and curriculum links.
It is thrilling to see so many Indigenous creators supported and promoted in such a thorough and outstanding way. This resource must be a first port of call for any person wanting to dig deeper and be immersed in the rich and varied culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.’
‘I’ve used the database in my position as a children’s librarian at an Adelaide Public Library as we often have specific themes for Storytime etc and like to make sure we have Indigenous content. In fact we are going though the database and purchasing more books from the content provided. I also do work with the Children’s Book Council of SA and recently shared this on our Facebook page – the post has been very popular with our Teacher Librarian. I work at Unley Libraries as a children’s librarian. I am also on the committee of the Children’s Book Council of SA’
‘The database is nothing short of exceptional! It’s a one-of-a-kind one-stop-shop for everything anyone would need to assist them with their information. The search functions are specific and helpful to direct relevant results. The curriculum mapping to the Australian Curriculum/Early Years Learning Framework are clear and very thorough. As well as this, of particular interest to educators is the ‘Teaching Resources’ section which has taken all of the link sifting and presented them in a tidy list ready for exploration. This is a most wonderful resource for schools, libraries, teachers, and family members as we seek to share and celebrate culture together.’
‘Congratulations to the NCACL on the launch of this exciting and important resource. The National Agreement on Closing the Gap, published in July of this year, stresses the importance of culturally appropriate education in early childhood. This can’t happen without the publication of books by Australian First Peoples, and without Australia’s teachers knowing about these books, finding them and sharing them. I know that this resource will be enjoyed by preservice educators at the University of Canberra, and it will also provide great help with studies and lesson planning. There are over 300 books by and about Australian First Peoples in this data base, which is impressive enough, but the extensive filters expands the possibilities for students to research and engage deeply. There are more than 80 filters given in the language category, with the filter function using the ‘Austlang’ coding system. The ‘English’ offering is just one choice in the middle of a long list of languages in Australia. Students can search for subjects as diverse as The Daintree, dingo attacks and the Djajua warrang people – as well as making more conventional searches for author, illustrator and publisher. The ability to search using Australian Curriculum and Early Learning Framework links is also invaluable.
There is so much more for everyone to learn about children’s stories in Australia. As this database makes amply clear, books in English about city life are only a small part of the collective Australian experience. Using the database will allow many educators to both reaffirm the life stories of their students and to open up possibilities and experiences that they are yet to encounter. I will be strongly recommending this resource at the University of Canberra as an important tool in lesson planning, literacy activities and embedding the perspectives of Australia’s First Peoples across the curriculum.’
‘It is wonderful to have resources like this. I was happy to see that there are so many books written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The first book that comes up in the database is A is for Aunty by Elaine Russell. It is one of my favourite books and inspired me to write W is for Wiradjuri, which is a colouring-in book with a few words in Wiradjuri. Our children are the Elders of the future so it is wonderful to see so many beautiful books to inspire them.’
‘Congratulations to the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature on its recent launch of the outstanding K -12 years of age Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resource.
With conversations so focussed on issues such as Black Lives Matter the need for diverse and balanced reading material has been bought to the forefront. And wow, possibly not the most academic descriptor to use in providing a critique on this first-class resource, but it is the word that aptly summarises my initial reaction.
The resource will be a bonus for educators and caregivers alike. Educators are not only provided with numerous titles to be explored but also a host of support features that will certainly enhance the educative process. These features include links to national curriculum and the EYLF, teaching resources such that the book can be used as an anchor point for topics as diverse as ANZAC Day to Dreaming stories, as well as handy summaries pertaining to the author and in most cases the illustrator. As a planning tool it really does enable the embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content into everyday teaching. For parents it provides easy access to a range of exciting Titles that reflect contemporary Australian society.
The day after I reviewed the site I made recommendations that every pre-service teacher at our University be provided with information such that they could access the material. First class and congratulations to NCACL for providing such a practical tool.’
Robert Somerville is a Martu Aboriginal man from WA, an educator and academic.
Carmel Richardson, Director, Wiradjuri Preschool Child Care Centre
‘..I’ve just spent a very happy hour or so totally immersed in this new literacy resource for early childhood educators. I’ve only looked at two randomly selected books so far, but I was compelled to look at all the educator resources linked to each of these. These ranged from videos, news articles and author websites and each added layers of understanding to the content of the children’s picture books I viewed. I know we will use this resource often to support us in using our own small library of Indigenous children’s books. We’ll also use it when searching for new resources to complement our library. The depth and range of linked resources is such a highlight and I know it will be well used to support curriculum planning in early years settings. Early childhood educators are eager to include Indigenous perspectives in their curriculum planning but often feel under-equipped to know where to start. I know this resource will be warmly welcomed in the sector. From my personal perspective, I feel I’ve already learnt more about connection to country after reading several of the links to Lorrayne Gorey’s, Alkngarrileme = Warnings.
Congratulations to everyone involved in creating this valuable resource. I’ll certainly recommend it to my undergraduate students and we will assuredly be using here at Wiradjuri Preschool Child Care Centre. With warmest wishes and deepest gratitude for this wonderful project.’
‘Congratulations to the NCACL on the launching of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Resource. This resource gives educators, parents, carers and anyone who works with children such a valuable resource through which they can freely find the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s literature along with teaching and information resources.
This resource will be invaluable to my own research into cultural diversity in children’s literature and to that of the pre-service teachers in my university classes and, ultimately, the children at the heart of all we do as educators.
The importance of all children being able to see in books reflections of themselves, their own culture and those of others who may be different to themselves cannot be understated. This resource brings together 300 books which can give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children from all cultural backgrounds opportunities to develop understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
This is a very exciting and timely release given the recently announced National Agreement on Closing the Gap. Showcasing and supporting the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s literature through this resource can be a powerful way to assist in working toward the targets of Closing the Gap.’
Ros Moriarty, business owner, social investor and author
‘It’s an honour to have my early years picture books listed with the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature. There is so much collaboration going on between authors and illustrators – in my case Balarinji – to bring a deeply Indigenous perspective to stories like mine of Australia’s natural world. Knowing where to find such books offers a bridge of understanding to everyone involved with children and reading. With a global spotlight on the value of diversity, and so much aspiration for reconciliation with Indigenous Australians, this database will point us all to books that introduce even our youngest readers to a formative experience of race. Timing could not be better for this rigorous, comprehensive and user-friendly resource. Congratulations to Belle and everyone involved.’
Kids’ Book Review:
News: National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature New Free Resource Announcement
25 July 2020
Molly Rhodin Early Childhood Director, Teacher and Consultant:
“The NCACL has provided a much anticipated resource that respectfully advocates for thought-provoking literature experiences for children, and advocating and showcasing the diversity and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. This invaluable resource, connects deeply grounded learning elements in an easy and very practical way to navigate.
After 30+ years in the early learning profession, I am so glad this resource has come to fruition in my lifetime. This resource enables anyone to access a comprehensive and functional database to enrich the lives of children, families, teacher and our community”
Janine Jol (Early Childhood Educator)
“The NCACL is such an amazing resource for teachers and schools. The database of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s literature supports the diverse learning of children today as well as our amazing Indigenous writers and artists. Current and Ancient stories to cater to all ages”