Updated: Feb 19, 2022
Today, I would like to acknowledge the Yuggera people as the Traditional Custodians of the beautiful land I am standing on today. From the mountains to the river, I open my heart and my eyes as I walk this land, listening, learning and caring for Country. I want to extend this respect to Elders; past, present and emerging and to all First Nations peoples reading this post today. We are all remembered here.
* Please know that this post is not sponsored. Each blog post is based on my own experiences, opinions, and what I have been taught, and does not represent all First Nations peoples. Connecting with your local First Nations Community is always the most respectful way for you to embed First Nations content specific to your area.
Now more than ever, the importance of the Cross Curricular Priorities of; First Nations Perspectives and Sustainability in the Australian Curriculum, is shining through. As teachers we are always looking for new ways to embed the deep knowledge and understanding of First Nations peoples and cultures onto our students education and learning in respectful and meaningful ways that resonate with them.
Today, I want to share with you an incredibly special book, that will take both you and your students breath away and plant seeds in your heart that guide your thoughts for the future and our way forward together..
As a part of the Wingaru Heal Country Challenge and the focus area of 'Sustainable Environment', I feel so honoured to share with you today; Bindi by proud Gunai woman, Kirli Saunders and illustrated by Dub Leffler, a descendent of the Bigambul people of the South -West of Queensland, and along the way I include some truly amazing lessons that I adore and that you can embed straight into your programs.
Alright, if you're ready... let's go and admire, Bindi!
© Magabala Books © Kirli Saunders © Dub Leffler
'Mother Nature does nothing haphazardly, she is a master puppeteer, pulling strings to have all things meet in their place - and what better place and time to stumble upon one another, than under tumbled trees.'
Under tumbled trees and the voice of Mother Earth's cries, I want to welcome you here with me today, as I very humbly share with you, a poetically stunning verse novel crafted by the incredibly talented, Kirli Saunders; a proud Gunai woman and award - winning children's book author, poet, teacher and emerging artist.
Written through the eyes of 11 year old Bindi and based largely on Kirli's own childhood growing up and learning on Gundungurra Country. Bindi is a cleverly written, playful verse novel with a strong message that speaks from First Nations ways of being, knowing and belonging and highlights the importance of caring for Country and living in sustainable ways.
Through the devastation brought by fire to Bindi's close knit community and the connection and love for a baby black cockatoo, your students are taken on a journey shared in three artfully alliterated titled parts; Seedlings, Cinders and Sprouts.
"She (canbe - fire in Gundungurra) has been living unloved for too long unable to burn back gummunang daore (Mother Earth) and welcome growth at the hands of our Old People."
'Written for those who plant trees', Bindi covers the themes of 'climate change, bushfires and healing' through the Cross Curricular Priorities of First Nations perspectives and Sustainability and will fit seamlessly into any year 4, 5 or 6 program (See the Magabala Books Teacher Notes for lesson ideas).
Your students will find Bindi's friendships and adventures during and after school so relatable and along the way, they will be excited to learn an array of Gundangurra words that are so beautifully woven into the fabric of this timely children's fiction novel.
The stunningly telling sepia and charcoal esque illustrations, are the notable work of highly esteemed, and one of Australia's most sought after children's book illustrators, Dub Leffler; a descendent of the Bigambul people of the South - West Queensland. With the restraint that is needed for illustrations within novels, these captivating illustrations will give your students the support they need for the emotional understanding captured in the text and really draw them in and allow them to connect with Bindi and all that she shares.
The poetic style of writing and playful way that the words capture the essence of each sentence, make Bindi an easy and enjoyable book for all students to read and in my opinion would be a perfect opportunity to explore language, poetry and writing styles particularly with older grades.
Bindi is a truly special gift to us all and the educational levels and opportunities for learning within this incredible First Nations read, are a testament to Kirli's teaching roots.
Personally, I have read this book twice since having bought it myself and both times, I found myself utterly captivated by the storyline and flooded by memories and emotions from my own times at school and my childhood of; burning off and the many bushfires we managed to survive and the heartbreaking devastation of the bushfires of 2019, where our childhood family home, that was hand-built by my Dad, couldn't be saved.
I know you and your students will absolutely adore Bindi and I cant wait to see all of the incredible lessons and learning that happens in your classrooms from reading this magical novel.
Awards and accolades
Winner, 2019 Western Australian Premier's Book Awards, Daisy Utemorrah Award
Winner, 2021 Australian Book Industry awards, Small Publishers' Children's Book of the Year
Shortlisted, 2021 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, Younger Readers
Shortlisted, 2021 Australia Book Design Awards, Best Designed Children's Fiction Book
Shortlisted, 2021 Readings Children's Book Prize
Longlisted, 2021 Colin Roderick Award
Invitation to embed
Here are some lessons that I personally love from the Magabala Books Teacher Notes. I have combined these lessons with the Australian Curriculum and also the 8 Ways Aboriginal Pedagogy to make embedding Bindi as easy as possible for you and I invite you to use and embed them into your program wherever you see fit.
If you are apart of my Community email list then you will receive a PDF version of all of these Invitations to Embed lessons for FREE into your email inbox along with a link to this blog post. For anyone wanting to receive future freebies and resources you can do this by joining my Community email list.
Year 4 - Invitation to embed
This lesson gives year 4 students the opportunity to unearth the connection and responsibility First Nations people have for caring for Country and shares ideas on how we can all live more sustainably and care for the Country that we live and work on.
Year 5 - Invitation to embed
This lesson gives year 5 students the opportunity to learn about the how First Nations people have traditionally used back burning and firestick farming to care for Country and prepare for fire season.
Year 6 - Invitation to embed
This lesson gives year 6 students the opportunity to use the Gundungarra language celebrated throughout Bindi to get a better understanding from the Gundungarra words featured throughout the book.
I really hope that today's post has given you some practical lessons and resources and has made embedding First Nations perspectives into your daily teaching a little bit easier and that you accept my invitation to embed a lesson or two into your daily teaching. If you haven't already been over to the Magabala Books website, then you can do that by clicking here to check out all of the resources they have available.
I also really encourage you to check out Magabala Books on instagram @magabalabooks and to also join their mailing list to keep up to date with all of their new releases. They have so many incredible resources coming out ready for you to use in your classroom.
Want to buy Bindi?
You can purchase Bindi directly from Magabala Books, which helps support their growth as a not for profit organisation, to share our mobs stories with the world, and to help you to embed First Nations perspectives into your teaching.
I want to take a minute to express how deeply grateful I am to Kirli, Dub and the incredible team at Magabala Books for allowing me to share Bindi with you today and thank you for continuing to create and share all of your work and talents with us! I would like to extend this thanks and appreciation to acknowledge all of the Ancestors, Elders and Community for passing down the knowledge to to both Kirli, Dub and the incredible minds and hands that have blessed this book. Having a novel as special and timely as Bindi to share with our students is just so important given our current climate and to be able to celebrate our people, cultures, histories and languages in the classroom by embedding incredible books just like Bindi, really do positively shape our students and the way they will shape and lead our country for the future.
I would also like to thank Aunty Lesley Woodhouse and her deadly as team from Wingaru Education for creating and inviting me to be a part of the Wingaru Heal Country Challenge. It is always an honour to work with you and I am always in awe of the support you provide to teachers on their journey of embedding First Nations perspectives and your resources are just incredible! Thank you.
Share, like and comment
If you found today's post useful, please like this post and share it with your colleagues and I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below on what you loved about Bindi? Have you shared it with your class yet or are you planning to? What matching resources resources did you use or plan to use with it? And, anything else you loved or other ways you have embedded Bindi into your teaching.
Do you know of a great First Nations teaching resource?
I love seeing and sharing all of the new First Nations resources that are coming out, so if you know and use a great First Nations website or resource, that I haven't mentioned or featured in a blog post before, then I would love for you to send it through to my email so I can share it with everyone else.
Want your business or resources featured?
On the flip side, if you are a First Nations business or organisation who is interested in being featured on my blog please pop over to my contact page and send me an email, I would love to hear from you.
Want to be sent FREEBIES, new blog posts, resources and updates?
Remember, to keep up to date with all of the new and exciting First Nations teaching resources, books and freebies I want to share with you, don't forget to join our Community email list to get these updates sent straight to your email.
Finally, I have truly loved sharing Bindi and all of these incredible resources with you today, and as always... Happy embedding!