Review Blog

Jun 06 2012

First Australians: Plenty Stories (series) by Trish Albert

cover image

National Museum of Australia, 2009.
Life at Mulga Bore.
Indigenous sporting heroes.
24/32pp, col ill.
First Australians: Plenty stories is a series of books showing what it means to be an Aboriginal or Toorres Strait Island person in Australia today. Through different modes of storytelling, we are given some of their history and culture through stories, snapshots of people, photographs and a fact file. Each book is colourful, easy to read with large print and wide margins, with a brief but useful index, contents page and glossary. For classes looking for two most accessible books to give their students when researching Aboriginal life today, then these would be most useful.
I was only sent these two, but looking at the National Museum of Australia website, you can see that there are many more. 2 packs are made for primary students with 9 books and teacher notes in each. A teacher resource book and a poster pack can be bought as well. All can be ordered online from the National Museum of Australia.
The first, Indigenous sporting greats, has Nicky Winmar on the cover in what is now a famous photo of him showing his skin to people who were racially abusing him. Inside the book are outlines of a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island sports people, Jerry Jerome, Eddie Gilbert, Sir Doug Nicholls, Evonne Cawley, Cathy Freeman, Michael Long, as well as the front cover person, Nicky Winmar. Each double page gives a potted history of that person, with a small fact file and several photos. Each is informative and tells of the struggles that person had to achieve what they did.The introduction, Against the odds, frames the stories, showing that these people did in fact achieve against the odds, and the final section poses the question about sport being a place where all players can respect one another.
Life at Mulga Bore is part of the upper primary set group of books and has 32 pages, with many more illustrations and information. Mulga Bore is a small community north of Alice Springs, and is home to seven related families of the Anmatyerr group of people. One of their number, Lindsay Bird Mpetyane is a painter, and through the book, we are shown him painting Bush Plum Dreaming. Through this painting we see and hear about his lifestyle, his painting methods, his background and how the community survives. It is a bird's eye view of the strength of a small community and its central figures, and will enrich primary students' understanding of the lives of some Aboriginal people today.
Fran Knight

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