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My Little Barlaagany Sunshine (Melissa Greenwood, ABC Books)

Teeming with vibrant artworks centred around the healing of intergenerational trauma, My Little Barlaagany Sunshine is a picture book created by artist and author Melissa Greenwood, a Saltwater Country woman from Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung nations. With gentle colours of dreamlike quality, the images depicting the author’s interpretation of the sun, moon and native wildlife highlight the connection between Dreamtime and the gift of Country, which reinforces to parents and children the need to care for land. All Australians will appreciate the Gumbaynggirr translation included as a reminder that the true languages and nations that make up this complicated continent are numerous and diverse. It is a joy and privilege to see the use of First Nations languages and translations becoming common practice within mainstream Australian publishing. My Little Barlaagany Sunshine is also technically admirable with its exploration of rhyme. ‘The moon helps us get sleepy under his glow. Your sweet little eyes close and back to the Dreamtime you go,’ for example, uses rhyme to show the passing of time while also referencing the connection between Dreamtime and child. Young readers will adore the endearing lullaby and educators can lean on this book as a useful tool to discuss First Nations culture and sophisticated language techniques. Parents can, as I have done with my Lebanese-Australian children, utilise this picture book to honour First Nations people by passing along lessons from Country and Dreamtime to the next generation of Australians.

Books+Publishing reviewer: Meyrnah Khodr is a Lebanese-Australian writer and educator from Bankstown. Books+Publishing is Australia’s number-one source of pre-publication book reviews.


Category: Junior Reviews