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Doomadgee authors launch new health books to strengthen children’s literacy

Local authors for Save the Children’s Library For All program in Doomadgee will today release three new original books in local languages to support the health and wellbeing of the community.
07 September 2022

Local authors for Save the Children’s Library For All program in Doomadgee will today release three new original books in local languages to support the health and wellbeing of the community.
 
Supported by Save the Children partner GSK, the books explore health-related themes and include Let’s Brush Our Teeth, Being Me – Emotional Intelligence and Healthy Self-Image and Germ Monsters. The books are published in Gangalidda and Waanyi, the most widely used languages in the community, and are being released at a book launch in Doomadgee today.
 
These books will be included in Library for All’s Our Yarning library, Australia’s first free library of books authored by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to grow children’s literacy through culturally relevant stories. Our Yarning aims to publish 500 books over the next five years that will reach 95,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
 
Doomadgee is a remote Aboriginal community in the Gulf of Carpentaria in North Queensland and home to about 1,500 people. A history of forced child removal and attempts to extinguish connection to culture means the community experiences intergenerational trauma and, as a result, some childhood development indicators, school attendance and literacy rates can be very low.
 
Isabel Toby, the Manager at Doomadgee’s Children and Family Centre, said:
 
“Stories are an important part of Aboriginal culture, and we know that children engage more when they see themselves reflected in the characters in the books they are reading.
 
“Our Yarning not only empowers Aboriginal communities to create and share stories with their children but can also improve health literacy.
 
“These new books will teach children about germs and how they can lead to infections and sickness, the importance of brushing their teeth and mental health.
 
“The community of Doomadgee have really valued this opportunity for young people and elders to connect through their culture and create something they are rightly so proud of.”
 
Merrilee, the author of the Dreaded Net in the Our Yarning collection, said:
 
“I did not have access to books at home whilst I was growing up, just what we were exposed to at the school. The books I can recall reading were just not relevant.
 
“The importance of books in preserving our stories and more importantly our cultural information and language for future generations.  Also, the importance of learning to read and that it can open doors to the future and can be fun too – we just need to ensure our children see themselves and their experiences in books. 
 
“We wrote the Dreaded Net to educate our readers about the importance of looking after country.  We all need to play our part in taking care of our Mother Earth.”
 
For eight years GSK have partnered with Save the Children to help make a difference to some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Since 2020 our partnership has focussed on working alongside the community of Doomadgee with the aim of building and strengthening relationships between health services and community members, increasing the number of children who have health checks, and providing opportunity to improve children’s literacy and keep traditional languages alive through Library For All Writers Workshops. Library for All became a Save the Children Australia not-for-profit enterprise in 2020. 
 
ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: Joshua Mcdonald on 0478 010 972 or media.team@savethechildren.org.au.

NOTES TO EDITORS:
 
Doomadgee’s Children and Family Centre is operated by Save the Children’s Australian service delivery arm, 54 reasons, which works in almost 200 communities and locations in every Australian state and territory. 54 reasons delivers quality services to children and families to support child development, divert young people from the justice system, respond to domestic and family violence, and amplify children’s voice and participation in decision making.

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