Kirli Saunders (text) and Dub Leffler (illustrator), Our Dreaming, Scholastic Australia, August 2022, 24 pp., RRP $22.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781742995113
Goodjagah, little one, walk with me… I want to tell you our Dreaming as the Elders told it to me…
And so, we start a gentle journey through Country under the knowledgeable guidance of echnidna who tells us of Country in English and the Gundungurra/Gandanguura language of the nation within which the story is set. Every indigenous nation has their own language, particular songs, stories, and art which the Elders hand down as knowledge through the generations. This is the way of teaching respect and responsibility for people and land—past, present and into the future. The Dreaming reminds indigenous people of their belonging to Country where the spirits ensure they are never alone.
Award-winning storytellers, Gunai woman Kirli Saunders who has written the text and illustrator Bigambul man Dub Leffler, are the creators of this most beautiful picture book, Our Dreaming—a story of love and respect for Country and all her spirits. Cleverly and carefully, this talented duo has introduced indigenous language within the English text to teach us ‘new’ words within the context of our vocabulary enriched by the delightful illustrations. In this way, we embrace these new words and delight in the sounds of different letter combinations as they bubble from our tongues. Generously, a word list is included at the back of the book should we need help with the pronunciation of the indigenous words.
I am so pleased to have been sent this book to review. As with so many of us, I am gradually learning about indigenous languages—one word at a time—and teaching myself about a new set of phonics. Our Dreaming is an enriching experience. This is a book for all ages.
Reviewed by Jennifer Mors