Our Birds: Ŋilimurruŋgu Wäyin Malanynha

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Siena Stubbs, Our Birds: Ŋilimurruŋgu Wäyin Malanynha, Magabala Books, April 2018, 48pp.,  $17.99 (pbk),  ISBN: 9781925360981

This is an inspiring book for budding young writers and photographers. Author Siena Stubbs was only twelve when she began taking photos of the birdlife and landscapes around her home in Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land, using a camera gifted her by her aunty. Siena wrote about each of the bird species, and compiled her words and photos into a self-published book, which led to this title published by Magabala Books.

Each double-page spread features a photo of a particular bird species, and another of the local landscape. Siena names the bird in Yolŋu, English and the Yolŋu moiety. She also gives an interesting account of the bird, which may include a description of how she came to photograph it, what it does, how it lives, and its significance to Siena, her family and her indigenous community.

Audio of Siena speaking the birds’ names in Yolŋu is available for free download on the Magabala Books website.

This information book makes great reading for young bird lovers and those interested in life in the top end. Siena is an inspiring role model for young writers and photographers, and more generally, children seeking to follow their passion. A portion of each book sold will go to the Small Seeds Big Reads: Magabala Books for Little Hands philanthropic initiative.

Reviewed by Julie Murphy

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