The Guardian 29 July, 2023 by Fleur Connick
There were no children’s books at the Moonahcullah mission near Deniliquin, where Jeanette Crew grew up. They had a reader, but no stories. Fairy tales and fables – stories other children grew up knowing – were left untold.
“One of the most read things was a catalogue, one of those mail-order catalogues,” Crew says.
The Wamba Wamba elder, known to locals as Aunty Jenny, wants children now to have access to the stories that she never read. She chairs the Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre in the New South Wales Riverina region, which just launched a series of children’s books written in the Wamba Wamba language.
Called the Pembengguk Wamba Wamba read-aloud books, they are designed to help children maintain a connection to culture.
“We didn’t have any sort of reading resources,” Crew says of her time growing up on the mission. “There was nothing for us.”