Idjhil

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UWA Publishing, 2003 - Fiction - 40 pages
From earliest childhood Idjhil knew that he was destined to be a leader of his people. As his father and grandfather taught him traditional hunting skills, he savored the joys and challenges of living a Nyungar way of life in the bush that was his home. Secure and content, Idjhil was unaware that his life was about to change forever. Idjhil is the moving story of a Western Australian Aboriginal boy who, at the age of nine, is taken from his family in accordance with the official government policy of the time. Although written as fiction, it is based on the memories and experiences of people still alive today. It won a Western Australian Premier's Book Award in 1996.

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An awkwardly written account of an Aboriginal child's forced separation from his parents. The same situation as in The Burnt Stick (but set in the Swan Valley region of WA) this attempts to be ... Read full review

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This book is full of fantastic imagery and is an excellent way to model good descriptive writing to school children. Children are able to relate to the life of this young boy through this descriptive writing and then, when he and others are taken away from their parents, are able to have empathy for his situation. Unless Australians know what happened to the aborigines they cannot understand why things are as they are now. To know that they lost all hope and sense of who they are explains a lot and also shows why it is so important now to help them find their true identity and recover the pride in their culture that they once had.
Helen Bell has done this in an amazing way. As a teacher who is responsible for developing understandings of our society in primary school children in Australia, I pay tribute to Helen Bell for the wonderful way she has enabled positive discussion and appreciation of the Aboriginal situation.
K.C.
 

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