Now in board book format, this is the story of one day in the life of the vital, flourishing Birrarung (Yarra River).
As ngua rises, Bunjil soars over mountain ash, flying higher and higher as the wind warms. Below, Birrarung begins its long winding path down to palem warreen. Wilam – home.
Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly joins award-winning picture book duo Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy to tell the Indigenous and geographical story of Melbourne’s beautiful Yarra River, from its source to its mouth; from its pre-history to the present day.
Aunty Joy Murphy is a respected Wurundjeri Elder and author of Welcome to Country. She is passionate about using story to bring people together and as a conduit for understanding Aboriginal culture.
Andrew Kelly is the Yarra Riverkeeper, part of an international organisation of Riverkeepers. He has written numerous books for children and adults.
Lisa Kennedy is a descendant of the Trawlwoolway People on the north-east coast of Tasmania. Lisa was born in Melbourne and as a child lived close to the Maribyrnong River. Here she experienced the gradual restoration of the natural river environment alongside cultural regeneration and reclamation. Through sense of place she feels connected to the Wurundjeri country and all that entails – the water, the land, the animals and the ancestors. The experience of loss and reclamation is embedded in her work. Welcome to Country was her first title with Walker Books.
Wilam: A Birrarung Story is an absolutely stunning picture book that explores the teeming wildlife that exists along Birrarung. It teaches us Woiwurrung language for the river and its inhabitants, and asks us to reflect on the importance of the river not only to animals but also to the humans who live in its vicinity. This book is a must-have for every school, library and home in Victoria
Wilam is a truly beautiful story in both its words and pictures…This is a joyful book that returns much to the thoughtful reader, and offers a great deal for classroom use.
CBCA: Reading Time Blog
This beautiful book adds to the growing number of books encapsulating our Aboriginal heritage, demonstrating our shared history and culture. Each page resonates with meaning, begging to be looked at closely while pondering the enormous time span represented by this river’s being home to so many, in the past, now and into the future…Highly Recommended
This is a highly significant work, distinguished by the seamless blend of Woiwurrung language and English…The text is superb, with a carefully chosen blend of words from each language.
2019 has been declared by the UN to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages and this is the perfect addition to a collection celebrating this. Not only does it embed the language of the people whose lands were focused around Birrarung into a context that makes sense to all readers, it also exemplifies the connection between text and illustrations as readers must use the one to understand the other. A must-have.
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