Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3rd November Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920 - 1993) Janell Cannon (1957)

Oodgeroo Noonuccal was an Australian Aboriginal poet, writer and artist. In fact, she was the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of poems. When I was at school and started teaching she was still known as Kath Walker, but as an Aboriginal activist with strong principles, she changed her name in 1987 as a statement to the Australian Government objecting to the Bicentennial celebrations which were glorifying the arrival of the First Fleet. Her strong affinity with her heritage, the environment and children led to the publication of Father Sky and Mother Earth, a book that never fails to instil in children a love for the environment and send them an important message. She wrote other books for children too, such as Stradbroke Dreamtime and The Rainbow Serpent, from which these powerful words come -
Perhaps she will come again
when the sprits of men
and the spirit of this land
are once more together as one

Janell Cannon is the American author illustrator responsible, among other things for Stellaluna and Verdi. These two books are extremely popular in my library and Stellaluna, in particular almost has a cult following. Children who read these books find it easy to empathise with her characters because despite being animals they experience feelings that the children have.

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