Review Blog

Jul 16 2012

Black fella, white fella by Neil Murray

cover image

Ill. by students at various primary schools. Scholastic, 2012. ISBN 9780 9807948 9 2.
(Ages: 8+) Picture book. Aboriginal themes. Subtitled 'An Indigenous Australian story' this colourful book is a rendering of the ballad, Black fella, white fella, written by Neil Murray and sung by the Papunya band, Warumpi. Written out, the ballad makes thin reading, but is eye catching enough with its illustrations drawn by students from schools around Australia. The endpapers show the variety of illustrations done by these students and from which those chosen for the book were taken.
It is an admirable ballad, written by Neil Murray after working at Papunya for 12 months, and it promotes the idea that we are all the same beneath our skin colour. In a classroom a copy of the band's song would be appropriate to use alongside the book and its message, and children could learn the song to sing at assemblies or in the classroom. The book and song would make a strong addition to a unit on indigenous culture and discussions around prejudice or being equal. The illustrations will make a talking point both for studying Indigenous culture, and looking at various types of art and how they can produce.
Supported by Ian Thorpe's Fountain for Youth project, the book has supportive statements by Ian Thorpe and Jeff McMullen, and a foreword by Martin Flanagan as well as an introduction from Neil Murray.
Fran Knight

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