Jobs Events Advertise

Pilbara Palyku mob share opulent illustrations; tense questions

Madelaine Dickie -

Crocs, kookaburras and a dingo howling in the golden light of the moonâ€"these are some of the creatures that populate mother-and-son team Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina's gorgeous book for infants We All Sleep.

The book spans a day and takes youngsters on a journey from mangrove-trimmed lagoons, to red rock ridges alive with snakes. The illustrations vibrate on the page, opulent colours that bring to life country and its creatures.

It's one of two new editions recently released by Fremantle Pressâ€"the other, I Love Me, by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina, is full of joy, elation, and encourages infants and children to celebrate and trust in the uniqueness of the self.

'I love my eyes, I love my nose, I love the way my curly hair grows!' Sally Morgan writes.

Both stories are in the form of board books, with thick card pages perfect to resist bumped-over liquids or smeared food, and great for weekends camping or on country.

Sally, Ezekiel and Ambelin are all Palyku people, from Western Australia's Pilbara region.

In addition to these two children's books, Ezekiel and Ambelin have also been involvedâ€"as a poet, and illustrator/editor respectivelyâ€"in another recent publication by Fremantle Press, a collection of short stories, memoir, and poetry titled Meet Me at the Intersection, released at the start of this month.

The anthology opens with the voices of First Nations' people and then widens to incorporate other marginalised Australian voices, including writers who live with disabilities or mental illness, and LGBTIQA+ writers.

The book's editors, Ambelin Kwaymullina and Rebecca Lim, were prompted to found the anthology when considering the under-representation of diverse Australian voices in children's and young adult literature.

The results are fresh and important. In Kyle Lynch's memoir 'Dear Mate' we learn of his attempts to snag a job in Kalgoorlie, WA.

'You gunna help me or what?' he asks his aunty in the KACC office.

She helps him build a solid résuméâ€"but that's only the start.

The next tricky thing is trying to find a lift into town so that he can drop it off. There's a hot thread of tension running through this pieceâ€"the checking and rechecking the phone, the disappointment when the first job doesn't come throughâ€"and it's a tension apparent in the other pieces too.

The writers ask: how does one form a strong Aboriginal identity in the wake of colonisation? How does one form a strong, queer Aboriginal identity? And in the case of Ezekiel Kwaymullina, how does one overcome dyslexia, when the teachers are completely oblivious to the Aboriginal boy at the back of the class whose mind is a 'fading star'?

All three books are available at or you can check in with your local bookshop.

By Madelaine Dickie


Children's book “Kaal Tackles Eczema” aims to help families manage skin condition
Eczema affects a significant number of Aboriginal children residing in urban regions, with nearly 20 per cent being affected by...
Rhiannon Clarke 20 Feb 2024
NRL champion shares inspiration behind children's book
Growing up, South Sydney star Alex Johnston was inspired to reach for the NRL after playing backyard footy with his cousins. Bu...
Eelemarni Close-Brown 11 Dec 2023
Melbourne's newest library, narrm ngarrgu celebrates Kulin culture
Melbourne's newest community hub, narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services, has unveiled a collection of public artworks and co...
Rhiannon Clarke 1 Dec 2023
Tiwi Islands girls write a book in a week at Indigenous Literacy Foundation's Create Initiative
Eight Indigenous girls from the Tiwi Islands have written a picture book in just one week after visiting Sydney to participate i...
Callan Morse 22 Nov 2023

   Madelaine Dickie   

The songs that went viral through the desert
Please note, this story contains the names of people who have passed away. In modern terms, it would have been a chart topper...
Madelaine Dickie 16 Sep 2020
Beale offers spark in Springboks clash
The Wallabies are en route to Brisbane to play the second game of their Rugby Championship campaign, after a disappointing start...
Madelaine Dickie 2 Apr 2020
Wallaroos winger makes a statement against Japan
Wallaroos winger Mahalia Murphy scored two tries to help the Australians to a 2-0 victory in their series against Japan. Emot...
Madelaine Dickie 16 Aug 2019
The broken man who battled the State—and won
Please note, this story contains the name of a person who has passed away. During Christmas-time in 1957 an Aboriginal baby...
Madelaine Dickie 16 Aug 2019