"Indij Readers wants to produce books that truly interest Indigenous students and inspire them to pick up a book, have a go, see themselves, learn and have fun along the way. They also want non Indigenous students to have the same experiences and to learn more about the first Australians at the same time."
|Scooped by Thea Manning|
Me and My Mum is part of the Indij Reader series for young children in the early stages of primary school. The story is located in the “Little Fellas” collection. These readers are used to explore Aboriginal culture and assist with the implementation of Aboriginal perspectives across the Key Learning Areas of the curriculum. Me and My Mum is designed to be read independently by children, with only a few words on each page.
The story is about a young Koori girl and her Mum who shop, eat, ride their bicycles, work and dance together. It’s a positive look at the everyday life of a single mother and her daughter. The fact that the book uses basic sentences, with only a few words on each page “My mum is riding, so am I” and accompanying illustrations, means this book is perfect for children to take home and read to their parents as part of their homework, or read to their peers in class. Obviously this book has cross-curricula links with English, but also has strong relevance for the HSIE strand, social systems and structures, and the exploration of different family structures.
Many children could read this story by early stage one, but I also think it’s an appropriate text for the beginning of stage one. As the language in the book is quite basic, I think it would be great to extend the book, by using the words to help form the script of a short play, which could be performed in small groups to the class. I think it would also be beneficial to use this book as a model for how children could write their own short story about their family structure and the activities they do with their family. Each child could make their own short text, with illustrations and then read it to the class. This could be a good assessment task for the end of this unit of work.
Me and My Mum is written by Anita Heiss and illustrated by Jay Davis. Anita is a Wiradjuri woman and Jay is a Biripi man which is significant because as with all of the other Indij readers, this story is written from an Aboriginal perspective. Having texts such as Me and My Mum in the classroom allows children to understand different cultures and perspectives by identifying with characters, places and circumstances, and “one of the strengths of Indigenous self-representations is the opportunity they provide to develop empathy in students in classroom activities.” (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2014, p.350) The unique nature of these readers means that children are exposed to a context that will deepen their overall understanding of Aboriginal people. As articulated on the Indij Reader’s website, “Through story the reader will gain insight, understanding, appreciation and perspective of Aboriginal Australia, its diverse richness stimulating thought and building knowledge through difference and perspective.”
INDIJ READERS (2014). Indij readers: Story.
Retrieved April 11, 2004 from http://www.indijreaders.com.au/
Gilbert, R. & Hoepper, B. (2014). Teaching Humanities and Social Sciences: History, geography, economics & citizenship in the Australian curriculum. 5th Edition. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia