Dr Julie Owen
Photo: Indigenous library
A rich tradition of storytelling
While building literacy is a key target of the collection, so is the authenticity of the storytelling.
“Aboriginal people have a rich tradition of storytelling,”
says Julie. “Our history is storytelling, it’s drawings, bark, sand and cave paintings. In Aboriginal storytelling, often the visual image is the story.”
So for children who are learning to read or struggling to grow their reading ability, Julie says the story is just as important. “If you can't read, you can still relate to the pictures and build a connection that your story is valued.”
The books will be written in English, but Julie hopes they’ll soon be translated into local languages.
“We're aiming to get as many stories as we can written in English by Aboriginal people so that the kids can see reflected in the books their ways of doing things. They’ll relate to stories about hunting, fishing, family connections, ceremonies and community life. Then we are hoping we can get the books translated into local Aboriginal languages. Unfortunately, many Aboriginal languages are critically endangered, or have been lost completely. It may be difficult to get books translated in some languages, because many of the elders, who can speak fluently are gone.”
No barriers to kids’ reading
Library For All’s digital library
is available for free via an app through Google Play. The app contains a unique, curated collection of high-quality children’s books developed by authors and illustrators across the globe. The books are age appropriate, culturally relevant and engaging for kids.
The Our Yarning collection of Aboriginal books will also be available to all on the Library For All app. Julie is optimistic about Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children having access to the collection through the app.
“It’s a whole library that can be downloaded for free, available on a phone,” she explains. “Children without access to a physical library or bookshop, can read whenever they want. It’s making books available for those kids that would otherwise miss out.”
With the collection set to grow in the coming years, there’s no doubt,
“Our Yarning” will help make the literacy journey for Aboriginal children a success.