AustLit logo
Best Book for Language Development – Indigenous Children
Subcategory of Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


2018 winner y separately published work icon Sorry Day Coral Vass , David Leffler (illustrator), Canberra : National Library of Australia , 2018 13183134 2018 single work picture book children's

'There was a hum of excitement.
Flags flickered in the breeze as Maggie’s heart danced with delight.
‘This is a very special day!’ her mother said.

'Maggie holds tight to her mother as they await the long anticipated apology to show a willingness to reconcile the past for future generations. In the excitement of the crowd Maggie loses touch of her mother’s hand as is lost.

'In a time ‘long ago and not so long ago’ children were taken from their parents, their ‘sorrow echoing across the land’.

'As the Prime Minister’s speech unfolds Maggie is reunited with her mother. But the faces and memories of the stolen generation are all around them.

'Two stories entwine in this captivating retelling of the momentous day when the then Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, acknowledged the sorrows of past and said ‘Sorry’ to the generation of children who were taken from their homes.

'The book includes a foreword from Lee Joachim; Chair of Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative and Director of Research and Development for Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation.' (Publication summary)

2017 winner y separately published work icon Mad Magpie Gregg Dreise , Broome : Magabala Books , 2016 9024984 2016 single work children's fiction children's

'Mad Magpie is the third book in this successful series of morality tales from award-winning author and illustrator, Gregg Dreise. Inspired by wise sayings and the knowledge of his Elders, Mad Magpie tells the story of Guluu, an angry magpie who is being teased by a gang of butcher birds. The more he is teased, the angrier he becomes. When Guluu seeks advice, his Elders tell him to stay calm like the river, ignore the butcher birds and to be strong on the inside. Guluu tries this, but the cheeky birds just laugh at him. One day, when Guluu is at the river looking for worms, the butcher birds arrive and steal his food. He remembers the words of his Elders and he tries again – and this time Guluu has a different outcome. ' (Publication summary)

2016 winner y separately published work icon The Pearl-Shell Diver : A Story of Adventure from the Torres Strait Kay Crabbe , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2016 9190032 2016 single work children's fiction children's historical fiction

'Engaging and authentic historical fiction about one boy from the Torres Strait trying to work his way up in the pearl-shell industry.

'Sario lives with his family on a remote Torres Strait island, which he never wants to leave - but the winds of change are stirring. The year is 1898 and the pearl-shell trade is at its height. When his father is coerced to join a white trader on his pearling lugger, thirteen-year-old Sario must go to work as a swimming diver to support the family. He can earn more as a pump diver, and is excited by the idea of walking on the sea floor, but the competition is fierce, and the only captain who will take him on runs the worst outfit in the fleet. With the constant danger of shark attack and the storm of the century approaching, can Sario provide for his family and realise his dream?' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon Deadly D and Justice Jones : Making the Team Scott Prince , Dave Hartley , Broome : Magabala Books , 2013 6183684 2013 single work children's fiction children's

'Eleven-year-old Dylan has to move from Mt Isa to Brisbane and he’s not happy. But as soon as he gets to Flatwater State School he finds a former Mount Isa Miner’s footy supporter in his principal and a ‘Broncos tragic’ as a teacher. He also makes a friend in Justice Jones and an enemy in Jared Knutz. Dylan is cursed with an abnormality transforming him into a fully-grown man whenever he gets angry. Always a worry, the ‘curse’ proves to be a blessing in the city when his alter ego attracts the interest of the Broncos during a class excursion to watch the team train. Dylan becomes ‘Deadly D’ – a star player with the fire to rival even the great Prince! But how will he continue to keep the ‘curse’ a secret?' (Source: Newsouth Books website)

2013 winner y separately published work icon Two Mates Melanie Prewett , Maggie Prewett (illustrator), Broome : Magabala Books , 2012 Z1909905 2012 single work picture book children's (taught in 3 units)

'Two Mates is the true story of the special mateship between two young boys who have grown up together in the coastal town of Broome in Australia's north-west.

'Jack is Indigenous and Raf is a non-Indigenous boy who has spinabifida.

Jack and Raf take the reader on a journey of their daily life growing up in Broome. Together they search for hermit crabs, go hunting for barni, fish for salmon, explore the markets, eat satays and dress up as superheros.'

'The fact that Raf is in a wheelchair is only revealed at the end of the story.' (From the publisher's website.)

2012 winner y separately published work icon The Snake and the Boy Azmen Sebastian , Azmen Sebastian (illustrator), Broome : Magabala Books , 2011 Z1744360 2011 single work picture book children's 'The Snake and the Boy is a tale of the school playground with an intriguing twist. As children play football beneath a sea-blue sky, one boy takes to the bars in the playground, only to have a cunning green tree snake sneak in and steal his apple. Author Azmen Sebastian's vibrant illustrations using acrylic paints capture the wide-open spaces of a country schoolyard, such as those in and around his home in the remote Kimberley region, where you never know when a wild creature might pay a visit. Children everywhere will relate to this endearing story.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)
2011 winner y separately published work icon Our World : Bardi Jaawi Life at Ardiyooloon One Arm Point Remote Community School (editor), Broome : Magabala Books , 2010 Z1727607 2010 anthology autobiography children's (taught in 3 units) 'Ardiyooloon is home to the Bardi Jaawi people and sits at the end of a red dirt road at the top of the Dampier Peninsula, 200km north of Broome in the north-west of Western Australia. Also known as One Arm Point, the community is surrounded on three sides by the saltwater that plays such an integral part in the people's lives. Our World: Bardi Jaawi Life at Ardiyooloon takes readers inside the lives of the children of a remote Indigenous community. Source: (Sighted 24/11/2010).