Review Blog

Jan 12 2009

Nyuntu Ninti (What you should know) by Bob Randall and Melanie Hogan

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ABC Books. ISBN 978 0733 32049 1
(Age: Primary school) A stunning book of photographs for younger children, Randall shows how the Anangu people of Uluru related to their land as he was growing up. The book was produced in conjunction with a documentary film, Kanyim, an Aboriginal word which ties love and responsibility. These twins of life in the desert ensured that the land was cared for and now Randall is hoping that the negative attitudes of today can be erased with Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people working together showing love and responsibility for their environment.
Each double page spread shows an old photograph, taken a generation or two ago, paralleling the culture today. So we have a wonderful photo of an arid landscape coming alive with everlasting daisies, small shrubs and trees after some rain has fallen, while on the next page is a group of children taken several generations ago, showing how they use part of the land. Further on, an older picture of an Aboriginal family digging under a tree for food, is contrasted with a photo of Bob Randall holding some grubs and wild peach that he has collected. Today and yesterday are again contrasted. Each page shows the reader in some way about the struggle for existence then and now, and makes the dedicated reader look more closely at the land on which these people lived.
The book, with Randall's simply wise words on each page underlines the ancient culture that is at the heart of Australia, and impels those who spend time reading and thinking about the book, to seek a better future for all.
Fran Knight

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