The Yarning Strong series by Laguna Bay Publishing, an Oxford University project, features stories written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers on subjects such as identity, family, law and land. The books are suitable for upper primary to lower secondary and are relatively simple in presentation and language, though some scaffolding will still be required. Jali Boy in particular has some rich language that needs to be unpacked for kids, as well as conversational language that plays on Aboriginal English.
The Yarning Strong series can be purchased in packs in the abovementioned topics of identity, family, law and land (containing all the Yarning Strong novels plus an anthology of poems, artworks, historical information, primary sources and plays).
Teacher guides are also available for purchase and contain fantastic little clips which could be shown at staff meetings as part of cross-cultural awareness training.
Ricky Macourt is a Gumbaingirr man from the north coast of NSW. As a teenager he spent six years at St Joseph’s College in Sydney. After completing a law degree at Bond University, Ricky began working in Canberra in 2012 in a Federal government department.
At the end of 2011, my school were lucky enough to have Ricky come in and run a 2 day writer’s workshop, culminating in an anthology of the students’ stories. Before Ricky came, we studied Jali Boy, and here are my lesson plans for the novel study. These plans are for lower secondary students who require support in literacy.
Find out more about Yarning Strong at http://www.oup.com.au/primary/literacy/yarning_strong
Hear a feature about Ricky on Triple J’s Hack: http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/stories/s2985391.htm