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Mentone Girls' Grammar School | Kerferd Library

Middle Years Reading

Source: Digital montage by Black, S. (2019). Images sourced from Canva.

 

Growing up Aboriginal in Australia

What is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? This anthology, compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, showcases many diverse voices, experiences and stories in order to answer that question.
Accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities sit alongside those from newly discovered writers of all ages. All of the contributors speak from the heart – sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect.
This groundbreaking collection will enlighten, inspire and educate about the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia today.

Napangardi's bush tucker walk

Gorgeous illustrations combine with a delightful bush narrative featuring Australian animals and bush tucker. A surprising twist at the end. The story is told in such a way as to delight young children through repetitive phrases and humour. It informs about the culture of contemporary Indigenous Australians.

Mrs White and the red desert

When a group of desert children invite their school teacher, Mrs White, home for dinner to show her why their homework is always grubby, no-one expects what is to come! They are happily showing Mrs White their higgledy piggledy garden when suddenly a big red sand storm comes billowing over the hill. Sand and spinifex whips at their legs and flies at their heads. They can hardly see through the storm. They hurry back home, only to discover that everything is now red. Their lovely clean house is covered in red dust. The beds are red. The washing on the line is red. The table is red. Their delicious dinner is red and ruined. And Mrs White's clean white dress has turned into a dusty red dress. Now Mrs White finally knows why the children's homework is always so grubby!

On the way to Nana's

Frances and Lindsay Haji-Ali take us counting backwards from FIFTEEN to ONE on this spectactular journey in the far north of WA. When Frances and Lindsay lived with their family in Broome, they often set out to visit Nana in the tiny outback town of Wyndham over 1,000km north. These road trips took them across the magnificent Kimberley landscape and inspired this counting story.

The spotty dotty lady

There once lived a sad lady whose only friends were the flowers in her garden. By chance she discovers a mysterious plant growing by her house and decides to water it. So begins the magical and unexpected adventure of a plant that changes the very essence of people's lives. Starting with a spotty dotty flower, to a spotty dotty kettle, to spotty dotty walls and the journey down the footpath, the sad lady begins to paint her way to happiness and is soon joined by many new friends. A children's tale full of charm and gentleness paired with stunning watercolour illustrations, The Spotty Dotty Lady offers a glimpse of how the natural and emotional worlds can connect in making the ordinary extraordinary.

The Sugar Bag

The Sugarbag is the adventure story of Jimmy and Max, two young brothers, who are on their way to visit their grandfather. Walking through the bush, they encounter an Australian native stingless bee buzzing around their heads. This gives Jimmy the opportunity to teach little Max all he has learned from his grandfather about hunting for sugarbag. Sugarbag is the European word for the honey produced by the stingless bee.

Bush Tracks

What can you see? Follow the clues that landscape, seasons, weather, the stars, the moon and the sun give to navigate bush tracks and find the Australian animal. A lyrical, fun story about tracking animals in the bush featuring vibrant illustrations by Balarinji, Australia's leading Indigenous design studio. 

Summer Rain

A joyous serenade of the wet and dry seasons and Australia's distinctive animals and landscape, Summer Rain is illustrated in full kaleidoscopic glory by Balarinji, Australia's leading indigenous design studio.

A Home for Bilby

A Home for Bilby is an engaging picture book that takes children on a journey through the Australian outback and the habitats of the animals that live there. Join Kangaroo, Emu, Platypus, Wombat and Koala as they help find a home for their new friend Bilby.

Two ways strong : Jaz's story

Going to boarding school can be a difficult transition for many students, but for Indigenous students from remote communities, it can be quite a culture shock. In Two Ways Strong, Indigenous students from Concordia Lutheran College have combined to tell their experience in a story about Jaz a young girl from Palm Island who goes to boarding school at the age of fourteen.

Walking the Boundaries

All Martin wants to do is walk the boundaries and the farm will be his. It seems like a huge joke when his great-grandfather tells him that he doesn't even have to walk all the way around the fences. It is a bright and sunny day when Martin sets out but suddenly he finds himself being swept away in a flash flood! Meg rescues him, and Wullamudulla saves them both from a bushfire. What kind of strange boundary has he crossed?

Ruby Moonlight

Tells the story of a young Aboriginal woman in the late nineteenth century who survives the massacre of her entire family. Wandering alone through Ngadjuri land, in South Australia, she encounters a luckless Irish trapper whose loneliness matches her own. Drawn together for comfort, they discover a momentary paradise along riverbanks and across arid plains that proves fragile in the face of frontier violence and colonization.

Becoming Kirrali Lewis

Set within the explosive cultural shifts of the 1960's and 1980's, Becoming Kirrali Lewis chronicles the journey of a young First Nations Australian teenager as she leaves her home town in rural Victoria to take on a law degree in the city of Melbourne in 1985. Adopted at birth by a white family, Kirrali doesn't question her cultural roots until a series of life-changing events force her to face up to her true identity.

Songs that sound like blood

Roxy May Redding's got music in her soul and songs in her blood. She lives in a small, hot, dusty town and she's dreaming big. When she gets the chance to study music in the big city, she takes it. In Roxy's new life, her friends and her music collide in ways she could never have imagined.

Deadly sisters of Worawa

Deadly Sisters of Worawa, written by thirteen young women from Worawa Aboriginal College, was produced during a writing workshop that was facilitated by our Lifetime Ambassador Anita Heiss and the equally passionate literacy advocate Shelley Ware. In their book, the students write about themselves, their families, their sacred places and the things they've achieved that make them proud.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book

Originally published in 1994 and written from an Indigenous perspective, this highly illustrated and accessible introduction covers a range of topics from history, culture, and the Arts, through to activism and reconciliation. In this fourth edition, readers will learn about some of the significant contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made, and continue to make, to the Australian nation.

Dark Emu : aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture

Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the 'hunter-gatherer' tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retelling's of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required.

Young dark emu : a truer history

Young Dark Emu - A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia's history pre-European colonisation - a land of cultivated farming areas, productive fisheries, permanent homes, and an understanding of the environment and its natural resources that supported thriving villages across the continent.

Birrung : the secret friend

Birrung, a young indigenous girl, befriends orphaned Barney and his friend Elsie. Birrung is living with Mr Johnson, chaplain to the Australian colony in 1790, and his family. Generous in spirit, the Johnson family also take in Barney and Elsie who have only just been surviving on their meagre daily rations. Despite living with the Johnsons, Birrung's connection to her people remains strong, and when Mr and Mrs Johnson see how Barney's feeling for Birrung are growing, they gently explain that his friendship with a 'native' girl and all that she taught him about her language and lore must remain a secret - forever.

The secret of the black bushranger

By the 1790s, orphaned Barney Bean finally has his own farm in the early NSW colony. All his dreams are coming true! But now we are to learn of Barney's biggest secret yet: how he helped Australia's first bushranger escape. Was Black Caesar a wronged man, an ex-slave who vowed to be free? Or was he a laughing villain, a trickster who planned to terrorise the colony? And in helping him, did Barney do right or wrong? You decide.

Welcome to country: an introduction to our first peoples for young Australians

Welcome to Country is a completely new and inclusive guidebook to Indigenous Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. In its pages, respected elder and author Professor Marcia Langton answers questions such as 'what does 'country' mean to Indigenous people?' A detailed introduction covers such topics as Indigenous languages and customs, history, native title, art and dance, storytelling, and cultural awareness and etiquette for visitors. This book is for everyone travelling around this fascinating country who wants to gain an insight into the culture that has thrived here for over 50,000 years, and enjoy tourism opportunities that will show you a different side of Australia - one that remains dynamic, and is filled with openness and diversity.

What's That There?

What's that there? That's the rushing river's curly bend, cried the sea eagle perched on a knotted branch, swaying. There, look! What's that there? That's the cliff face sharp with sun-scorched stones, glinting, shrilled the hawk, gliding on summer winds. There, look! An exhilarating celebration of the Australian landscape as seen from the sky featuring.

Who Saw Turtle?

Who saw Turtle? Did the whale with the slapping, splashing tail? Or the octopus with the dangly, stretchy tentacles? Maybe the fish with the glittery, shimmering scales? A glorious exploration of the amazing migration of Turtle as she travels the world and then returns home to lay her eggs, illustrated by Balarinji, Australia's leading Indigenous design studio.

The Rainbow

The land bakes . . . RED. The sun sets . . . ORANGE. The dawn glows . . . GOLD. The flowers burst . . . YELLOW. This joyous serenade to colors showing the outdoors before a storm is illustrated by Balarinji, Australia's leading Indigenous design studio.

Cunning crow

Way back, before once-upon-a-time, there was the Dreamtime when all the birds were white. One of those white birds was a crow called Waan. One day a big storm came through and a magnificent rainbow appeared. When the birds passed through the rainbow, one by one, their feathers took on its beautiful colours. Waan flew through the rainbow too and his feathers became a beautiful red and orange. But Waan was jealous of the other birds. He wanted to be more beautifully coloured than anyone. So Waan hatched a cunning plan. But things did not go the way Waan wanted...

Ninu grandmother's law : the autobiography of Nura Nungalka Ward

Ninu Grandmothers' Law is a definitive account of a traditional lifestyle and way of thinking. Accompanied by exceptional archival photographs, it is an evocative, compelling chronicle and cultural philosophy of a time almost forgotten. Part biography, part customs manual and food guide, part traditional social history and women's customs and governance, it is a rare testament to one woman's advocacy for her family, people and culture.

Dark emu in the classroom

A resource for teachers of Geography Years 9 and 10 to use in the classroom. Based on the concepts in Bruce Pascoe's acclaimed book Dark Emu, this resource presents lesson content for the topics: Biomes and Food Security (Vic Year 9) / Environmental Change and Management (Vic. Year 10). This resource offers both new and experienced teachers a supportive and fresh approach to teaching geography through its well-organised lesson structure and high-interest, inquiry-based activities for students.

Us Mob Walawurru

A unique collaboration between non-Indigenous Queensland author David Spillman and Northern TerritoryAboriginal woman Lisa Wilyuka. Us Mob Walawurru explores cultural difference and untold history through the eyes of Ruby, a young Aboriginal girl. Set in Central Australia in the 1960's, Ruby's journey is a a heart-warming tale that focuses on the importance of family, culture, education, friendship, and self-respect.

My father's shadow

Kaya is completing her Higher School Certificate when she is woken in the middle of the night by her mother. They are to pack immediately and go to their holiday home in the Blue Mountains. Her father is ‘not coming back’. He has been involved in a court case to give evidence against some dangerous criminals. Months later, they are still in hiding and the mysteries are multiplying...

Calypso Summer

Calypso is a young Nukunu man, fresh out of high school in Rastafarian guise. He finds work at the Henley Beach Health Food shop where his boss pressures him to gather Aboriginal plants for natural remedies. Growing up in urban Adelaide and with little understanding of his mother's traditional background, Calypso endeavors to find the appropriate native plants. The support of a sassy, smart, young Ngadjuri girl helps Calypso to reconsider his Rastafarian façade and understand how to take charge of his future.

Yinti : desert child

The first book in the Yinti series of three books. The stories are linked in a sequence that shows Yinti's development from a young bushie to a competent station worker and adult. Yinti is a traditional Walmajarri Aboriginal boy growing up Great Sandy Desert in the remote North West of Australia - one of the most marginal environments on earth. This is the story of Yinti's coming of age.

Yinti's desert dog

The second book in the Yinti series of three books. When the dingo, Spinifex, is taken from her mother, she expects to be killed. Instead she is adopted and becomes a prized hunting dog. She eventually companies her human family, including Yinti, on their journey through the Great Sandy Desert. When Yinti leaves the desert, Spinifex goes with him.

Yinti : desert cowboy

Gradually, Yinti and Wara grew accustomed to station life. They no longer ran and hid when they saw a motorcar coming along the road towards them. Desert Cowboy is the story of Yinti's return to the cattle station and of his life as a stockman. Over these years Yinti experiences joy, excitement, loss and tragedy, but never loses his sense of fun and inclination to mischief.

The indigenous understanding fiction collection is located in the Kerferd Library special collections. Look for the books that have the kangaroo icon on the spine with the words "Indigenous Understanding".

Click on the book cover or title in the gallery at the bottom of this page to borrow fiction from the indigenous understanding collection, or use the following link to browse the indigenous understanding fiction collection in the library.

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