This book was a collaborative effort between author Margaret James and cultural Elders - MK Turner, Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens, Marjorie Nyunga Williams, Coralie Nampitjimpa Williams- and many Middle School and secondary students in the NT and WA. It suits readers from the reading age of 8 years. Although a fictional story, the facts of how an emu father raises his chicks, how he is hunted and susequently cooked, are accurate.
Margaret James, M.Ed (TESOL), is the winner of several awards and accolades including NT Australian of the Year finalist, QUT Faculty of Education outstanding alumni, Courier Mail 50 Brightest and Best. She was shaped by her multilingual rural childhood in Southern Africa where Indigenous languages surrounded her. This significantly influenced her choice of tertiary studies - among these were linguistics, languages, education, Teaching English as an Additional Language, choral conducting and voice. This background was to prove invaluable when, after a fulfilling and varied career in several countries, she moved into Indigenous Education in Australia. The paucity of engaging, early-reading material for EALD learners and her relationship with Elders of several Australian Nations, led her to develop several linguistically and culturally appropriate books and resources in English and several Aboriginal languages. Her first series is the innovative and highly successful Honey Ant® Readers. While visiting schools and communities in order to deliver Professional Development for the Honey Ant® Readers, Margaret became increasingly aware of the similar need for engaging, early-reading material for older learners as well. She worked closely with Elders, students and illustrators to develop linguistically and culturally appropriate learn-to-read story books for older readers, and books which could be enjoyed by non-Indigenous readers equally, while teaching them about the cultures and food gathering practices of Australian First Peoples. This included trips to the desert and the coast with Elders and children who shared their knowledge about tracking, hunting and fishing for food. Reading Tracks® - stories about hunting, tracking and fishing - is the result! Coralie Nampitjimpa Williams is a Western Arrernte Elder who speaks and writes several Central Aboriginal languages. Coralie is a community development graduate. She developed this story about Father Emu with her mother, Marjorie, and Mum, Margaret. Coralie gives cultural advice to the Reading Tracks team, takes them out bush to teach them about plants and animals, and assists Margaret at workshops. She is passionate about teaching her children, grandchildren and other people about her culture, language and country. Marjorie Nyunga Williams is a language teacher, translator, artist, singer and Arrernte Elder. Marjorie is a cultural advisor and mentor to Margaret, and has inspired many people when co-presenting at national conferences and working in schools with her. The students thrive on her use of their languages in their classrooms. Marjorie co-authored, illustrated and edited this book. Marjorie loves to tell her grandchildren traditional stories while they fall asleep at night. She also likes to talk about the experiences she had growing up with her grandparents, learning their traditional ways, so that she can pass this knowledge on to the next generation. In order to provide information for the Reading Tracks® books, Marjorie took the team out on cultural excursions with her family.
This unique book was developed with Indigenous Elders and community to be an accurate, but fictional account of hunting and for an emu. It instils pride and confidence in Indigenous readers. The methods of tracking and hunting emu are authentic, contributed by Elders Marjorie and Coralie Williams, other Elders and students. They are embedded in a fictional, but realistic, story that Indigenous people can identify with. The topic covers contemporary hunting and cultural practices, as well as history. The book raises awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures for non Indigenous readers. For such a unique resource developed with many contributors, the book is good value. FOR: All readers, Indigenous and non Indigenous of all ages, as a good story and also to learn about Indigenous hunting practices. Broadens awareness, deepens understanding and changes attitudes towards Australias first peoples. WHY: Fun, colourful, humorous illustrations designed to engage readers. Brochures, website, speak at conferences, promotional material to stakeholders, media - radio, video, TV, newspaper. Social media. Flyers.