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Nedingar: Ancestors

By Isobel Bevis and Leanne Zilm

Reviewed by Lara Cain Gray

Nedingar: Ancestors is the debut picture book for Noongar creators Isobel Bevis and Leanne Zilm. A young child, depicted here as a bird, wants to meet their Ancestors. Their mother gently explains that their ancestors are everywhere, whenever they are walking on Country, observing animals, or listening to the wind in the leaves. You saw them yesterday, you saw them today and you will see them tomorrow. This is a quiet book highlighting the deep connection to land, history and ancestral stories for Aboriginal Australians.
Zilm’s hand painted illustrations bring the Australian landscape to life, making this both a respectful exploration of family, and a lovely conversation starter about flora and fauna. In her bio at the back of the book, Zilm cites changing light as one of her artistic inspirations. This is especially evident in the book’s first spread, which bursts with sunrise colour.
This book is presented in Noongar and English, and demonstrates some important growing trends in the language resource space. On each page Noongar comes first, in bold, with English below. This protocol ensures this is read as a Noongar story, with English version included – as opposed to an English story, translated into Noongar, as was frequently the case in older publications. The clean sans serif typefaces, along with the QR code linked to the audio story, makes this a true dual language publication, with literacy development in both languages as the goal.

Teaching Notes

Nedingar: Ancestors – Fremantle Press 2023
Isobel Bevis – Fremantle Press
Leanne Zilm – Fremantle Press
Lara Cain Gray’s book A Grown Up’s Guide To Picture Books is being published soon
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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