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Andy Griffiths makes a splash at Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s 2024 Great Book Swap launch

Callan Morse -

Renowned children’s author Andy Griffiths made a splash at the Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s 2024 Great Book Swap launch, held at Sydney’s Sea Life Aquarium on Tuesday.

The event raises money for Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s (ILF) programs which assist remote Indigenous communities publish culturally relevant books.

At the launch, First Nations primary students from five Sydney schools had the opportunity to learn about and meet a dugong (or Marntuwunyini in Tiwi language), the marine mammal representative of one of four new Indigenous Language houses that schools will be allocated when they register for the 2024 Great Book Swap.

Griffiths, an ILF lifetime ambassador, spoke highly of of the Foundation’s initiative.

“The Great Book Swap is a really fun way to swap one of your preloved books for another book that (who knows?!) you might end up loving even more,” he said.

“And, even better, for the price of a gold coin you’ll be raising funds to ensure that kids in remote communities have the chance to fall in love with books and reading as well.”

The launch was hosted by the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. (Image: Joseph Mayers)

The four new language houses are designed to engage students in a region of Australia, a First Nations Language, and an animal from that region. 

They include Marntuwunyini (dugong in Tiwi, Northern Territory), Yari (humpback whale in Yawuru, Western Australia), Girrganyi (brown falcon in Bunuba, Western Australia) and Bigibigi (pig in Kriol, Northern Territory).

The language houses are based on recently-published ILF texts Tiwi Seasons with Marius by Tiwi College with Shelley Ware and David Lawrence, Country Tells Us When by educators Tsheena Cooper, Mary Dunn, Dalisa Pigram-Ross and Sheree Ford, Winthali :Fire by Joe Ross and Stacey Bush and Moli det bigibigi| Molly the pig and recently released sequel Moli bin git stak: Molly Get Stuck by Karen Manbulloo.

ILF head of programs, Zoe Cassim, said the Great Book Swap is a great opportunity to raise money for the ILF and a means for readers to connect with each other. 

“Seeing people’s face light up when they start sharing how much they love a book, character or author, and why someone else may like it is so heartwarming,” Ms Cassim said.

The Great Book swap raises money for ILF's Indigenous literacy programs which provide culturally relevant books to Indigenous communities across Australia. (Image: Joseph Mayers)

“It becomes a shared experience, and that deep connection we so often miss out on.”

Schools and early learning centres who host a Great Book Swap and submit funds raised by 1 November 2024 will automatically win a virtual visit from ILF Lifetime Ambassador Andy Griffiths.

Further, those that host a swap and submit their funds by 30 June 2024 will automatically go in the draw to win the early bird prize; a book pack consisting of ten ILF titles.

In addition to schools and education facilities, ILF encourages corporates, organisations and social groups are also encouraged to host a Great Book Swap.

The charity says hosting a swap is a fantastic way to celebrate reading locally, learn more about Indigenous Languages and culture, while raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

This year, the ILF are aiming to raise $180,000 to gift 18,000 culturally relevant books to remote Indigenous communities across Australia.


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