ILF | UPDATING | News from the Indigenous Literacy Foundation | May 2023

[Edited extract from public address]

Yamandhu marang

The ILF would like to acknowledge Sorry Day on 26 May, followed by the Anniversary of the Referendum on 27 May. This marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week (NRW), a time for us to reflect on and learn about the history, culture, stories, and knowledge of First Nations peoples.

This month, two team members travelled to Weipa to celebrate the launch of We Look, We Find, a beautiful book created by women and children from Napranum Early Childhood Centre. This is the first time a children’s picture book featuring Thanynakwith language has been commercially published. Learn more and order your very own copy!

We are delighted to announce that this month we also published a collection of nine stories from nine different regions in the Northern Territory in NT Mob Sharing Stories in Language. Each story in the book is bilingual and includes the language from the region the story is from, including Murrinhpatha, Kunwinjku, DjambarrpuyŇču, Dhuwaya, Anindilyakwa, Wubuy, Kriol, Warumungu, Arrernte and Warlpiri. This collection is a rich one and a rare one. Order your copy here.

This End of Financial Year (EOFY) we need your help. We are working hard to support remote Communities with books that inspire curiosity, spark imaginations, and promote a love for reading and learning. No matter how big or small, your donation makes a difference. A $100 donation allows us to put 10 culturally relevant books into the hands of children in a remote Community. Please help us to continue our important work by making a donation this EOFY here.

Lastly, it is time for primary schools to sign up for Busking For Change AND put a placeholder in their calendars for our Indigneous Literacy Day celebrations on Wednesday 6 September.

Thank you for joining our journey and sharing our vision that reading opens doors to opportunities and choices.

Mandaang guwu,
Ben Bowen, Chief Executive Officer

SPOTLIGHTING | Word of the Month

To celebrate UNESCO's second year of the Decade of Indigenous Languages, each month we encourage readers to learn a new word in either an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language.

This month's word is wombat in Wiradjuri language! Wiradjuri Country is in central New South Wales.


SAVING | The Date for Indigenous Literacy Day | 6 September 2023

In collaboration with Sydney Opera House, we are proud to present a 15-minute film celebrating Indigenous Literacy Day with stories and songs from remote Communities. 
  • Learn more here and download a Save the Date banner to share within your networks. 

ATTENDING | BookPeople Conference

We are pleased to be attending the BookPeople Conference next month which is a great opportunity for us to connect with our supporters from the books and publishing industry. Please make sure to pop by out booth to learn more about how booksellers and publishers can get involved with our Book Supply program.

SHOWCASING | 2023 Reading Opens Doors Library | available now!

We are very excited to showcase our new 2023 Reading Opens Doors Library! This specially curated bookshelf includes 18 titles from some of Australia’s best First Nations authors such as Bruce Pascoe, Anita Heiss, Ash Barty as well as many more books for adults, young adults and children. 

ASKING | Would your school love a visit from Andy Griffiths?

It's not too late to host a Great Book Swap and automatically go in the draw to win a virtual visit for your school from ILF Ambassador and children's author, Andy Griffiths! Simply host a Great Book Swap before 30 June to go in the draw to win. 

SIGNING | Up for Busking for Change!

Our newest musical fundraiser, led by ILF ambassador Josh Pyke and designed for primary students is open for registration. It's a simple and fun - kids learn to sing a song in English and Kriol or play an instrument of their choice, and ask family and friends to sponsor them. Money raised helps remote Communities access and create books in languages of their choice. It's a joyful celebration of music, song and language. 

CLICKING | For More Stories

 Work in Community 

ATTENDING | The Yirriwinari Festival

ILF Programs Manager Tictac and Regional Coordinator (Tiwi) Bella attended the first ever Yirriwinari Festival in Pularumpi! Over 150 books and Family Packs were given away to the Community. Bella organised games for kids, while Tictac drove the Ngarukuruwala ladies to find pandanus and the tree root used to dye the pandanus for weaving into baskets and mats. The highlight of the festival were the performances and the disco. We look forward to attending the next one!

PUBLISHING | Shordi Krik (Shorty Creek) | pre-orders available now!

At Shordi Krik, life is sweet. Our newest book, Shordi Krik (Shorty Creek) is a joyful song book written and illustrated in Kriol and English by Students from Barunga School with support from ILF Lifetime Ambassador Justine Clarke. We are proud of this beautiful book and excited to share it with you!

LAUNCHING | Country Tells Us When...

This month our team travelled to Broome and Bidyadanga for the Community launch of Country Tells Us When..., a book published in three languages; Yawuru, Karajarri and Mangala. Our heartfelt congratulations to the authors, illustrators and everyone else involved in helping bring this gorgeous book to life. The Yawuru edition of this book is available for purchase.

 Ambassador News 

Anita Heiss AM

We warmly congratulate ILF Lifetime Ambassador Anita Heiss on her powerful and moving book, Bidhi Galing (Big Rain). The book celebrates the Wiradyuri heroes of the Great Flood of Gundagai in 1852, told through the eyes of a young girl who is rescued from the raging floodwaters by her father. Hot off the press - Anita has also a finalist for the 2023 NAIDOC Creative Talent Award! 

Shelley Ware

Congratulations to ILF Ambassador Shelley Ware on the publication of We Are Matildas, an energetic picture book celebrating football and the team spirit of the CommBank Matildas, which will have you cheering from the sidelines! Check out the book here.

Dr Jared Thomas

The shortlists for the 2023 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards have been announced. A massive congratulations to ILF Ambassador Jared Thomas, his book Uncle Xbox has been shortlisted for The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and Young Adult Fiction.

Debra Dank

A big congratulations to ILF Ambassador Debra Dank, her book We Come with This Place won the prize for major book of the year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and was also named winner of the Indigenous writers’ prize, the prize for non-fiction and the award for new writing.

 Special Thanks 

We are very grateful to HubSpot Academy who generously donated $5USD from every certification completed during World Certification Week (15-19th May) to support us in getting culturally relevant books to remote Communities.

A big thank you to Mills Oakley who supported the ILF at their annual Partners’ Conference in Singapore. Mills Oakley has a long-standing tradition of raising money for charity at the conference and this year was no exception with a total of over $28,000 raised.

We are indebted to our partner Australia Post for their support with the delivery of Book Supply packs to remote Communities and their ongoing fundraising.

 Community Fundraisers 

We would like to thank Wildwood Maps who are donating a percentage of proceeds to different First Nations charities each month, with this month's donation generating $3,287 for our Foundation!

A big thank you to First Nations Film Festival (30 May–3 June 2023) who are raising funds for the ILF. Audiences will have various opportunities to donate throughout the online screenings. The festival features award-winning features, documentaries, and short films, accessible over five days. Check out more information here.


Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF)
Address: 17/207 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9280 0644
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