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Sam's Bush Journey


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About the Author

Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina are a mother-and-son team. They descend from the Palku people of the Pilbara, in the north-west of Western Australia. Sally is well known for her best-selling book My Place, which documents the journey of her family back to their people and country. Sally Morgan is an Ambassador of Indigenous Literacy Day. Bronwyn Bancroft has illustrated several award-winning books for children. As well as being a children's illustrator, Bronwyn is a leading Australian artist. Her work is held at the National gallery of Australia, in state galleries and in the Australian Museum. Bronwyn is a descendant of the Bundjalung people.


K-Gr 2-Living in Australia, Sam's grandmother loves the bush that surrounds her house. On their long walks into the gum forest to the waterhole, spiky shrubs scratch the boy's legs and mosquitoes bite him. Though Nanna tells him about the many good things there, Sam would be happy if they all disappeared. One night he dreams of wandering in the bush lost and alone. Remembering what Nanna has told him, he finds edible berries when his stomach grumbles and shelter in a hollow gum tree during a storm. The singing of birds leads him to fresh water at the waterhole. Worn out from his adventure, he sleeps in the shade of a tree and wakes in his own bed. With a new awareness of his surroundings, Sam gladly accompanies his grandmother on her next journey to the waterhole. Bright, full-color spreads are filled with mammals, birds, and reptiles among tall gum trees while the waterhole, filled with fish, seems to rise out of the landscape. Stunning illustrations feature thick black outlines and intricate patterns, evoking the Aboriginal culture of the book's creators. The story can be read independently, and the vivid illustrations will nurture an appreciation of the ecology of the Australian bush.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This cleverly written story, a collaboration between Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, and illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft, carries a couple of telling messages for young people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike. The concrete jungle and world of digital technology shelters and screens us, young people in particular, from the natural environment. The consequence of our sheltered existence is a lack of appreciation and understanding about the bush, its plants and animals, and for Indigenous Australians a lack of cultural knowledge, and the diminishing of their oral narrative tradition. Sam is one such kid, reliant on the mod-cons to get him by. A visit to his Nanna who lives in the bush is painful for him--too many mosquitoes and spiky bushes. Sick of Sam's complaints his Nanna schools him with cultural knowledge about bush tucker and survival without Google maps. His negativity causes something strange to happen, transported from his bed one night, Sam awakes to find himself in the bush. Forced to use his newly acquired knowledge, Sam gradually starts to appreciate the inherent value of the natural environment. This is a great book, suitable for lower to middle primary school students. Julia Jackson is a freelance reviewer and bookseller at Readings in Carlton

"This intergenerational tale is warm and infused with an appreciation of nature and tradition." --Kirkus
"Morgan is a gifted storyteller." --Library Journal on My Place

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