December 29 2020
Bindi by Kirli Saunders and Dub Leffler
What a wonder this book is! Bindi by Kirli Saunders is illustrated by Dub Leffler and it’s as beautiful as you’d expect from his work. In Leffler’s signature muted, detailed style, the illustrations create an embracing sense of the land and community that fill the narrative. And what a narrative it is. An upper-middle grade verse novel, Bindi tells the story of a family and community impacted by the spectre of bushfires.
The use of Gundungwarra language as an inherent part of the way that Bindi sees and talks about her family, traditions and community is a powerful signal as to one of the key concepts of this book – how integral Indigenous culture is to our First Nations people, and by extension, how integral it should be to the way we (non-Indigenous) see and treat the land on which we live. I found this books incredibly moving, and I highly recommend it.
Often books that deal with potentially complex and sensitive subject matter such as this for younger readers can feel heavy-handed, preachy, or overly mature, but there’s a subtlety and sensitively to Kirli’s poetry that balances the serious and the light-hearted so incredibly well. Great for the upper primary readers in your life, right through to adult. A multilayered visual and poetic feast.