Birrarung Wilam: A Story from Aboriginal Australia
Birrarung Wilam: A Story from Aboriginal Australia

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Annotation: Travel along Melbourne’s twisting Yarra River in a glorious celebration of Indigenous culture and Australia’s unique flo... more
Catalog Number: #238921
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-536-20942-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8640-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-536-20942-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8640-9
Dewey: 994
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
A gentle, descriptive portrait of a lush and well-loved land.Created by Joy Murphy Wandin Ao, Senior Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri people of the Melbourne area, in collaboration with Kelly and Kennedy, also of the area, this #ownvoices picture book is one of a kind. Beginning with carefully painted endpapers that feature patterned stones and platypuses at the front and fish in waves at the back, the story follows the Birrarung (Yarra River) as it weaves its way from creeks to rivers, verdant bush undergrowth to valley pines beneath a pale blue sky, farmland to city. Animals identified with their Woiwurrung names are described in their various habitats: warin (wombat), marram (gray kangaroo), wallert (possum), waa (raven), and many others. Each layered spread features life of all forms—human, flora, and fauna—portrayed in a dynamic, vivid style. Intricate dot- and line-based art punctuates the lush illustrations drenched in vibrant greens, earthy browns, and watery blues, immersing readers in Aboriginal art. Extensive backmatter features a spread-by-spread glossary of Woiwurrung words used in the book accompanied by a reminder that “The Woiwurrung language does not translate directly into English.” This text perfectly captures the intersection of culture and science, making this an excellent text for an elementary-level unit on animal habitats, artistic portrayals, and cultural depictions of ecology.Wilam, home, takes many forms for a plethora of animals in this striking Aboriginal story. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A gentle, descriptive portrait of a lush and well-loved land.Created by Joy Murphy Wandin Ao, Senior Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri people of the Melbourne area, in collaboration with Kelly and Kennedy, also of the area, this #ownvoices picture book is one of a kind. Beginning with carefully painted endpapers that feature patterned stones and platypuses at the front and fish in waves at the back, the story follows the Birrarung (Yarra River) as it weaves its way from creeks to rivers, verdant bush undergrowth to valley pines beneath a pale blue sky, farmland to city. Animals identified with their Woiwurrung names are described in their various habitats: warin (wombat), marram (gray kangaroo), wallert (possum), waa (raven), and many others. Each layered spread features life of all forms—human, flora, and fauna—portrayed in a dynamic, vivid style. Intricate dot- and line-based art punctuates the lush illustrations drenched in vibrant greens, earthy browns, and watery blues, immersing readers in Aboriginal art. Extensive backmatter features a spread-by-spread glossary of Woiwurrung words used in the book accompanied by a reminder that “The Woiwurrung language does not translate directly into English.” This text perfectly captures the intersection of culture and science, making this an excellent text for an elementary-level unit on animal habitats, artistic portrayals, and cultural depictions of ecology.Wilam, home, takes many forms for a plethora of animals in this striking Aboriginal story. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 1-4

Travel along Melbourne’s twisting Yarra River in a glorious celebration of Indigenous culture and Australia’s unique flora and fauna.

As ngua rises, Bunjil soars over mountain ash, flying higher and higher as the wind warms. Below, Birrarung begins its long winding path down to palem warreen.

Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly and Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri people Aunty Joy Murphy join to tell the Indigenous and geographical story of Melbourne’s beautiful Yarra River — from its source to its mouth and from its prehistory to the present day. The writing dazzles with poetic descriptions of the trees, plants, and wildlife that thrive in harmony along the iconic waterway. Lush and vibrant acrylic paintings from Indigenous illustrator Lisa Kennedy make the mighty Yarra come to life — coursing under a starry sky, drawing people to its sunny shores, mirroring a searing orange sunset. Jewel-like details in the illustrations offer opportunities for discovery on every page. As gorgeous and powerful as the river itself, this stunner invites all to come to Wilam: home.

End matter includes an authors' note and a glossary of the Woiwurrung words used in the story.


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