If you’re looking for a book to teach your child about colours, numbers, animals as well as a secondary language skill, I’ve found the perfect book for you.

Artist, Jill Daniels, a Ritharrnu and Madarrpa woman from South East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, has produced a brightly coloured book which highlights the importance of early childhood learning in the best way.

Counting our Country engages a young audience with Ms Daniels’ traditional language, Ritharrnu, by identifying animals found on Country such as barramundi (mirritju) and bull sharks (junma).

For those of us who struggle to get their tongue around some of the traditional words, Ms Daniels has cleverly included a pronunciation guide explaining, for example, that ‘dj’ should be pronounced ‘as in j-udge’ and a few others.

This guide allows the adults to keep appearing like they know all the answers instead of stumbling through some words as usually happens when learning new languages.

One of the bright Counting our Country illustrations. Photo by Caris Duncan.

However, nothing will keep your child glued to the pages like the colours that pop from the pages of this book.

Beautiful reds, oranges, teals and yellows keep children’s eyes on the page and their fingers tracing all the brightly coloured animals which helps to keep them engaged with counting.

Counting from one through ten provides the initial numerical education, but the benefit of this book is the cultural literacy and the language of colour which are crucial developmental skills for early childhood.

This makes Counting our Country well-suited to the Australian Curriculum for early childhood.

Counting our Country provides developmental skill building, while being engaging and entertaining for any child in early childhood.

It allows the reader to strengthen the literacy and numeracy skills needed in Australia’s current early childhood education and would be an asset to any library or home.

Counting our Country is available in all good bookshops and online from Magabala Books from February 28, 2020.

By Caris Duncan