Frances and Lindsay Haji-Ali (text), David Hardy (illus.) On the Way to Nana’s, Magabala Books, June 2017, 34pp., $17.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781925360301
This is a counting book, in fact a counting-down book, beginning at fifteen and marking a journey from Broome in Western Australia through Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Katherine to Darwin. Each number is posted as a typical Kimberley sight: brolgas, road trains, boab trees, gorge falls, weary travellers, and wild brumbies. The rhymes will make it a book to read aloud, and join in with as it’s read, to small children.
Magabala books are to be congratulated for celebrating the country of the Kimberley in a way that children can access and enjoy so thoroughly. The illustrations are detailed, dramatic, richly coloured and inviting for those little fingers that will want to count those termite mounds, those magpie geese and the grazing cattle. This book will be informative for children from the South, and exciting for children in the North to see their land depicted so proudly. Recommended for 0 years olds through to 5 or 6 year olds.
Lindsay Haji-Ali is a descendent of the Yawuru/Karajarri people of the Kimberley. Frances Haji-Ali has worked in schools across the Kimberley, and David Hardy is a descendent of the Barkindji people of north west NSW.
Reviewed by Kevin Brophy