Birrarung Wilam: A Story from Aboriginal Australia is an #ownvoices book that brings the Birrarung to life. The Birrarung is a river in Australia that was the original home to the Wurundjeri people before being colonized by Europeans. The story follows the river from dawn to evening as it takes its journey as “parnmin [rain] falling on djerang [leaves]” and eventually mixing into the bay. It is written in poetic language and Woiwurrung words are scattered on every page with a glossary in the back. Throughout the book, we encounter numerous animals indigenous to the river and people enjoying the river’s solitude and beauty. The illustrations are great visuals of diversity surrounding the river and its grandeur. I love how the reader is able to experience bits of Aboriginal Australian culture. It is also an ode to the environment and shows its importance and interconnectedness in all of our lives. The city and its tall skyscrapers are seen in the background, but it is pale in comparison to the Birrarung. Letting the reader know the great wealth that comes from nature.
To pair with the book we used the glossary in the back to create our own Woiwurrung dictionary. We also spent time talking about deforestation and other ways that humans negatively impact our environment. My daughter then created a poster to bring awareness to this.
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Author: Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly
Illustrator: Lisa Kennedy
I was kindly given this book for my honest review, but all opinions are my own.
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