Thursday, May 10, 2012

Special Collections Fossickings 2: Black Ink's rainbow colours


Townsville’s own Black Ink Press is a business this city should be very proud of. Established by Jeanie Adams in 2000, with a mission to produce “contemporary illustrated books especially for young indigenous readers”, it has published a colourful array of children’s books by indigenous writers and illustrators.  With their bright, attractive illustrations and easy to read text these books have instant appeal. The narratives address many common themes of children’s literature – family relationships, friendships, holidays and adventures – but also topics of particular relevance to the indigenous community, such as community life and expectations, traditional practice and knowledge. Indigenous children must find it refreshing to discover themselves at the heart of these lively and engaging stories and their portrayal of familiar landscapes, situations and activities.

Black Ink’s support for indigenous languages is clear from the way ‘language’ words are often incorporated in the text, or simple vocabularies appended. For example Turtle egg day features words from the Mamu language of the Innisfail coastal and hinterland region, while Aukam has parallel texts in English and Kalaw Kawa Ya from the Torres  Strait. Our pet pelican, is written in Torres Strait Kriole.

Holding copies of these titles within the North Queensland Collection ensures the preservation of this commendable venture into providing a body of literature of particular value to indigenous children, along with the work of many gifted indigenous writers and artists from our region.
Expect more about Black Ink’s products in future Fossickings!

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