A story about a piglet who ate so much Weet-Bix she grew into a huge pig has won the hearts and minds of young children around Australia.
‘Molly the Pig’ (‘Moli det bigibigi’) was written by Karen Manbulloo, a bilingual children’s author who writes in English and Kriol, the Aboriginal pidgin English spoken in her community of Bingari, near Katherine.
“I am so happy to be here with your mob,” Karen said today, surrounded by children from La Perouse Public School and Gujaga Childcare.
‘Molly the Pig’ is based on a real story about a lost black piglet found in the bush by Karen’s brother.
First published in 2017 by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, ‘Molly the Pig’ has been republished for Australian Reading Hour. Karen is an ambassador for the annual event where all Australians are today encouraged to read a book for one hour.
Karen told the children she was encouraged to write a book by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. “Can I write a book about anything? Alright, I’ll write a book about Molly the Pig,” she said.
She chose to write the book in English and Kriol because she wanted children outside of her community to learn about Kriol.
The principal of La Perouse Public School, Lisa Haller, said it was a wonderful experience for the students from Kindergarten to Year 2 to hear an author read her book in language.
“Her message that anyone can write a book was great for our children to hear,” Ms Haller said.
La Perouse Public School will next term start a Dharawal language program in collaboration with Gujaga Childcare.
The chairman of the Gujaga Foundation, Ray Ingrey, said La Perouse children had been learning Dharawal at the childcare centre for more than a decade and the school program would give all school students “the opportunity to learn about the world’s oldest living culture”.
The pilot program will be delivered by staff from Gujaga through a team-teaching model so that classroom teachers also learn local language, history and culture to use this knowledge in their daily teaching.
Two-thirds of the 54 students at La Perouse Public School identify as Aboriginal and the Aboriginal community has an unbroken connection to the land for more than 7,500 years, according to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.