Anna Low

Indigenous Literacy Day - Wednesday 5th September

With Indigenous Literacy Day on the horizon, Anna Low discusses the work the ILF does and why it's so important. 

Wednesday the 5th of September is Indigenous Literacy Day and we will be donating 10% of our sales for the day to the ILF. Over the past few years the Potts Point Bookshop has donated more than $20,000 to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and we are really proud to be supporting their work.

Established by Brisbane bookseller Suzy Wilson, the ILF has become the book industry charity that supports Indigenous children in Australia’s remote communities get access to books and the resources to learn to read in English and in their first languages. 

There is much talk of closing the gap but how do we actually do this?  In remote communities only 1 in 4 children can read and write at the most basic level.  How do you learn to read if the books aren’t in your language or as in many communities there are no books.  The ILF provides culturally appropriate books to communities via play groups, health centres and schools to give Indigenous children the resources to learn to read.

Providing the books is just one part of the story.  The Book Buzz program has been developed to help instil the pre-literacy skills that a child needs before starting school.  It started with a playgroup in Warburton and this program is now being expanded to many other communities.  Many of the books are firm favourites in any household but they have been translated into the local languages so that the kids are learning in their first language.  Storytime is extremely popular at the playgroups and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

The ILF travels over 50,000 kilometres a year to many remote communities like the Tiwi Islands, Tjuntjuntjara in the heart of the desert and to the Torres Strait Islands in Queensland to work with Elders and the community to write and publish books.  So far they have been able to publish over 70 books in 11 home languages.  The goal is to publish books in home languages for children right across Australia.  It is hard to put into words the sense of pride that is shared by the entire community when a book that they have worked on is launched. 

On Indigenous Literacy Day this year, the ILF will be launching a series of board books written in Kriol, including Moli det bigibigi (Molly the Pig!).  I will be one of the lucky ones at the Opera House seeing these books being read for to the public for the first time.

We are not the only ones that think the ILF is a great organisation.  Dame Quentin Bryce is the Patron and  Justine Clarke, Andy Griffiths, Deborah Cheetham, Alison Lester, Josh Pyke and David Malouf are some of the ILF’s Ambassadors.

In the interests of full disclosure, I have been a Board Member of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation since 2016 and a long time supporter since 2007.

We have a selection of the ILF books in the shop for you to buy. If you would like to look at some of the translated books, we have a selection in the shop that you are welcome to come and look at.

All our gold coin donations for gift wrapping are given to the ILF.