First Nations storytellers honoured for sharing tales of connection to Country, language and community by the Wilderness Society

Nedingar: Ancestors, a bilingual picture book by Isobel Bevis and Leanne Zilm, has been shortlisted for the Karajia Award by the Wilderness Society of Australia.

Launched in 2022, the Karajia Award for Children’s Literature celebrates the First Nations authors illustrators who create children’s books that honour a connection to Country and tell stories exploring land, community, culture and language.

Isobel Bevis, a Wilman, Ballardong Noongar writer who was born and raised in Collie in the south-west of Western Australia, said being shortlisted was an achievement she was very excited about. Isobel said, ‘It’s an acknowledgement of the deep love for Boodja (Country) that shines throughout the book that I am privileged to share with children, families and community … It is unbelievable that my first bilingual children’s book has been shortlisted. To make it that far is incredible, and I whole-heartedly thank Leanne for the beautiful illustrations that have brought the book to life and shown us the beauty of Boodja.’

In Nedingar: Ancestors, a young child wants to meet their Ancestors. Their mother gently explains that they have already met their Ancestors — yesterday, today and tomorrow — and that they are everywhere in Country, walking close behind them.

Fremantle Press children’s publisher Cate Sutherland said Fremantle Press is based in Walyalup, a significant area for the Whadjuk Noongar people. She said, ‘It’s important to us that our program reflects the place from which we operate. We are proud to work with Isobel and Leanne in their efforts to bring language and culture to the fore.’

Appointed by the Wilderness Society, the judges for this year’s Karajia awards include previously shortlisted author Jasmine Seymour, educator Danae Coots, and academic and author Dr Amy Thunig.

More information about the complete shortlist is available on the Wilderness Society’s website:

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