2024 Book of the Year Award Notables List

28 February 2024


The Children's Book Council of Australia announced the 2024 Book of the Year Award Notables List on Tuesday.

Congratulations to Professor Felicity Meakins from the School of Languages and Cultures and Dr Anita Heiss, Professor of Communications, who both had books featured in the Eve Pownall Award category, with the prime intention of documenting factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style. 

Professor Meakin’s book ‘Tamarra: A Story of Termites on Gurindji Country’ (Hardie Grant) is a collaboration between Ngumpin (First Nations) and Kartiya (non-Indigenous) cultures that resulted in the creation of this glorious book. 

The Tamarra Project involved over 30 Gurindji Elders, artists, storytellers, scientists and linguists. From the visually stunning front cover to each glorious page after page of magnificent culturally significent paintings, the reader is drawn into the text. The visual organisation of the text, with the three languages featured colour coded, makes the information easily digestible. 

The glossary provides a guide to pronunciation, with each word featured in colour in the story also listed in the Glossary. A QR code allows the reader to hear the story read in language. The interweaving of culture and detailed information of termites is cleverly done and ‘Did You Know?’ sections throughout encourage engagement. Truly a labour of love. 

Bidhi Galing was skilfully crafted by renowned First Nations author and academic Dr Anita Heiss, the synergy between word and image is facilitated with captivating illustrations by Samantha Campbell. 

The true story of the Great Flood of Gundagai in 1852, this narrative unfolds through rich characters and offers a unique perspective on Wiradyuri heroes Yarri and Jacky Jacky. The digital illustrations, rich in blues and greens, immerse readers in the landscape, enhancing the storytelling. 

The integration of Wiradjuri language throughout, accompanied by a well-executed glossary, adds authenticity and understanding. The QR code for listening to the author and accessing educational resources elevates the reading experience. 

Bidhi Galing not only explores the historical narrative but also serves as a crucial lesson on the consequences of disregarding Indigenous knowledge. The book’s relevance extends with parallels to modern floods, making it a compelling and informative read for all ages.