Books from Australia’s oldest independent Indigenous publisher.
Alfred’s War is a powerful story that unmasks the lack of recognition given to Australian Indigenous servicemen who returned from the WWI battlelines.
Alfred was just a young man when he was injured and shipped home from France. Neither honoured as a returned soldier or offered government support afforded to non-Indigenous servicemen, Alfred took up a solitary life walking the back roads billy tied to his swag, finding work where he could.
Alfred was a forgotten soldier. Although he had fought bravely in the Great War, as an Aboriginal man he wasn’t classed as a citizen of his own country.
Yet Alfred always remembered his friends in the trenches and the mateship they had shared. Sometimes he could still hear the never-ending gunfire in his head and the whispers of diggers praying. Every year on ANZAC Day, Alfred walked to the nearest town, where he would quietly stand behind the people gathered and pay homage to his fallen mates. Rachel Bin Salleh’s poignant narrative opens our hearts to the sacrifice and contribution that Indigenous people have made to Australias war efforts, the true extent of which is only now being revealed.
At the Beach I See
This delightful book for Early Childhood will mesmerise young children and older readers. The black linework and colourful wash backgrounds work beautifully with the lyrical text. Together they introduce extraordinary creatures and birds that we can discover and observe around our Australian coastline. ‘Dancing jellyfish’, ‘scuttling crabs’, ‘beautiful shells’, ‘tangled seaweed’ and a ‘soaring kite’ evoke the wonder of our beaches and the treasures to be found.
Black Cockatoo is a vignette that follows Mia, a young Aboriginal girl as she explores the fragile connections of family and culture. She feels powerless to change the things she sees around her… until one day she rescues her totem animal, the dirran black cockatoo, and soon discovers her own inner strength. Black Cockatoo is a wonderful small tale on the power of standing up for yourself, culture and ever-present family ties. Teachers’ notes available here
My Father’s Shadow
WINNER – 2015 black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship
Kaya is completing her Higher School Certificate when she is woken in the middle of the night by her mother. They are to pack immediately and go to their holiday home in the Blue Mountains. Her father is ‘not coming back’. He has been involved in a court case to give evidence against some dangerous criminals.
Months later, they are still in hiding and the mysteries are multiplying. Kaya is not sure who to trust: her mother’s new friend, the policeman or her new friend, Eric, from the local store. She is also recovering from memory loss caused by PTSD after a chilling encounter with the criminals. She is seeing a psychologist in an attempt to recall the evidence she might have to give in a forthcoming trial.
Her best friend, Jenna, has gone overseas and Kaya is trying to make sense of what is really happening. Jannali Jones has crafted a thrilling story which stays on the edge right to the end.
Removed from her loving parents under government policy at the age of five, Ing was placed in a mission and denied her heritage. Her name was changed to Helen, and she needed all her strength to survive. When Ing’s parents died, she had the responsibility of her younger brother and sister. Returning to her community on a nearby reserve when the mission closed, Ing learnt what it meant to be Noongar after being brought up as a whitefella. Her family taught her culture and language. Ing has lived through many family tragedies. Her honest experiences reflect her indomitable spirit and give insight into the lives of Aboriginal people.
The Wounded Sinner
Matthew’s father, Archie, is dying and he spends three weeks out of four caring for him in The Wounded Sinner, his grand, decaying family home. Whilst Matthew is away, Jeanie stays and works as a teacher and looks after their five children. On a hot desolate day in the West Australian hinterland, Matthew’s car finally breaks down. Vince, whose own family is falling apart in unanticipated ways, stops to pick him up and, in amongst the chaos of their lives, an unlikely friendship is formed.
James can fly, though his landings need some work. However, that’s the least of his problems when he crash lands into a city in the clouds. Soon James is drawn into a race against time to find the SAFFIRE, a new technology designed to save the city from the effects of climate change. Finding his way home seems impossible but with the help of Aureole, a young girl determined to save her city, James just might be able to fly away and help save the city in the process.