The Walya class at Borroloola School has created About Us - a new book in English and Garrawa.
The book was created in Term 4 this year by the largely Aboriginal class of years 5 and 6 students. Walya is a Yanyuwa word for dugong.
The remote Gulf of Carpentaria school promotes the use of Aboriginal languages, focusing on the four clan groups of Borroloola: Yanyuwa, Garrawa, Marra and Gudanji.
Assistant teacher and project leader Daphne Mawson, who is a Garrawa first language speaker, said the concept was developed in a set of lessons over two weeks.
"Topics in the book cover things the students would normally experience in their lives, in both Standard Australian English and Garrawa," she said.
"All members of the class helped illustrate the book and design the layout; they feel a strong sense of pride in About Us.
"I have high hopes this is the start of producing children-oriented texts in local languages, expanding on works I have already translated."
Class teacher Lydia LalMalSawmKim drew parallels with Gambana, the unique school-wide positive behaviour program.
"The kids wrote about the people in Borroloola, what they do, and how we should all get along together," she said.
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"While many children come from other - even mixed language groups - generally the lingua franca of Borroloola and this Gulf Region is Aboriginal English.
"This is quite distinct from the more widely spoken Roper Kriol of the Katherine Region. The book shows off our kids' creativity, and they see the value in their own language.
"They got particular pleasure from videoing themselves reading the story in both languages."
Principal Stephen Pelizzo said cherishing traditional languages leads to a level of reciprocal respect that helps us in getting a commitment to learning Standard Australian English.
"A great strength of About Us is its positive outlook on life, learning, and on the students," he said.