Bush Secrets, by Tjalaminu and Jessica Lister

I’ve got a secret and I’m so excited!
Actually, I’ve got two secrets and that makes me feel really happy inside.
‘What are you grinning at, Debbie?’ my brother Billy asks.
‘Nothing.’ I don’t want him guessing my secrets.
‘You’ve got a secret, haven’t you?’
‘No I haven’t.’
‘Yes you have! I can tell! What is it, Debbie?’
‘I’m not telling you, Billy!’

Debbie is excited that she has two secrets but she doesn’t want to tell her younger brother Billy, because he’s too young to understand how important secrets can be. When Dada Keen comes to visit, he understands. He and Debbie go into the bush for a day, and he shares secrets of his own. There are black and white illustrations scattered throughout. The cover is bright and enticing and suggests but doesn’t reveal the secrets.

Bush Secrets is a title in a new series from Fremantle Press. They are early chapter books written by indigenous writers bringing new stories to all. For indigenous people they are stories that continue a long history of oral storytelling. For non indigenous people these stories provide access to a rich storytelling practice. Bush Secrets is a marriage of traditional style and modern stories. It is written by grandmother and granddaughter team, Tjalaminu Mia and Jessica Lister, giving new interpretation to the storysharing tradition. Chapters are short and accessible to the newly independent reader. Recommended for 6-8 year olds.

Bush Secrets (Waarda, Nyungar)

Bush Secrets, Tjalaminu and Jessica Lister
Fremantle Press 2009
ISBN: 9781921361593

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review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author