Welcome To Country (Board book)

Lisa Kennedy, Aunty Joy Murphy

Welcome To Country (Board book)
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Welcome To Country (Board book)

Lisa Kennedy, Aunty Joy Murphy

An Aboriginal ceremony of Welcome to Country is depicted for the first time in a stunning board book from two Indigenous Australians.

Welcome to the lands of the Wurundjeri people. The people are part of the land, and the land is a part of them. Aboriginal communities across Australia have boundaries that are defined by mountain ranges and waterways. Traditionally, to cross these boundaries, permission is required. Each community has its own way of greeting, but the practice shares a common name: a Welcome to Country.

Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin, the senior Aboriginal elder of the Wurundjeri people, channels her passion for storytelling into a remarkable and utterly unique picture book that invites readers to discover some of the history and traditions of her people.

Indigenous artist Lisa Kennedy gives the Wurundjeri Welcome to Country form in beautiful paintings rich with blues and browns, as full of wonder and history as the tradition they depict.

Review

Finally, Melbourne has its very own picture book celebrating the original inhabitants of the city – the Wurundjeri people. Welcome to Country is a spectacular celebration of Indigenous land and culture that takes us through a beautiful Wominjeka (welcome) ceremony which gives yannabil (visitors) permission to enter traditional lands. Each community has its own way of welcoming to country, but in this book we learn about the tree sacred to the Wurundjeri – the River White Gum. We also learn of the creator spirit, Bunjil the eagle. The story has been written by well-respected Senior Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Joy Murphy. The stunning illustrations by Lisa Kennedy are painted acrylic depictions of waterways, night skies, native flora and fauna of the area, and images of the ancestors around campfires, gathering food and celebrating.

Welcome to Country is a resoundingly beautiful book that invites us to recognise the traditional lands that lie beneath our feet and to celebrate local Indigenous culture. This book belongs on every home bookshelf and in every library so that all Australians can learn about and respect the cultural importance of a welcome to country.


Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Carlton.

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