Flying High, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Craig Smith

Flying HighIf a set of wings suddenly grew out of my back, I’d be over the moon! I haven’t told any of my friends about my dream of flying. They’d just laugh at me. Every kid knows there are good laughs and bad laughs. I’m sick of the bad laughs.

Larni struggles at school. Words and letters don’t keep still on the page, and the other kids laugh at her – even her friends. So she can’t wait for the school holidays, when she is going on a plane to visit her Gran up north.
Gran is delighted to see Larni, but sad when Larni says she isn’t good at anything. Gran assures her that she will find the thing she is good at. Sure enough, when Gran sits down to her sculpture proejct, Larni finds that she has a special talent for making things.

Flying High is a short chapter book about self-confidence, and family ties, especially between grandparents and grandchildren.

This is the latest of several books by Morgan and Kwaymullina, a mother-son team, and illustrated by Craig Smith. Each story is a stand alone tale, but all feature indigenous chidlren and their families doing things which all children will relate to – family outings, holdiays, spending time with extended family and so on. As such, these books are not only a wonderful opportunity to engage indigenous children, but also for children of all backgrounds, who are offered so many books with anglo-saxon characters, or where non-anglo characters confront issues of difference. The issues here – learning difficulties, self-belief and family closensess – are universal.

With lots of illustrative support and accessible text Flying High is suitable for junior primary or for older readers who require extra support.

Flying High, by Sally Mprgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Craig Smith
Omnibus Books, 2015
ISBN 978174299070

Available from good bookstores and online.

The Memory Shed, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Sheds don’t move on their own. Did Grandma have a bad dream? Is she feeling a bit muddled? Just to keep her happy, I peer through the glass. All I can see are two old cane chairs sitting empty on the back verandah.
‘Don’t worry,’ I say. ‘I’m sure the shed hasn’t moved.’

Grandma wants to clean out er cluttered back shed, and Annie is helping her. But the shed seems to have other ideas. Every time Grandma plans the clean-up, the shed seems to resist. Annie helps Grandma uncover some of the treasures the shed holds – and the memories they bring back – and in the process, they realise that the shed just might be right.

The Memory Shed is a gently humorous story about family, about remembering the past, and about connections between generations. A contemporary story, it also explores the effects of the Great Depression, and life in bush camps.

Illustrations, by Craig Smith, are in grey scale, and appear on every spread. Comprehensive teaching notes are available on the Scholastic website.

Suitable for classroom use and for private reading by emergent readers.

The Memory Shed, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Omnibus Books, 2015
ISBN 9781742990347

Available from good bookstores and online.