Thursday, August 4, 2022
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Counting Our Country

Counting Our Country
Jill Daniels
Magabala Books, 2020

Bakarra (long-necked turtles), jinma (bull sharks), and gundhurru (olive pythons) are three of the ten animals children will love counting as they turn the pages of this delightful, bilingual board book.

Artist Jill Daniels is a Ritharrnu and Madarrpa woman from South East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. In Counting Our Country she uses each double-page spread to offer her stylised painting of a particular animal along with its name in Ritharrnu (her traditional language) and in English.

Daniels’ lives in Ngukurr, a remote community nestled on the banks of the Roper River. All the animals depicted can be found on her country and each set of creatures she offers is both colourful and distinctive – with ten djatja (kangaroos) being one of my favourites.

The book’s benefit to a young mind includes numerical education, language development, cultural literacy, learning about the natural world, and cultivating an appreciation of art and colour.

I also loved the guide to pronouncing Ritharrnu animal names which makes this a good reference book for use both in and beyond early childhood.

The whole package is so marvellous, I’m itching to see if Magabala will provide an interactive module online where parents and teachers can check their Ritharrnu pronunciation.

#magabalabooks, #countingourcountry, #ritharrnu



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