Hello! begins by introducing us to a group of Australian children. They all speak English but they also all speak another language too. Three indigenous languages are featured — Murrinhpatha, Kaurna and Kala Lagaw Ya — as well as nine other languages that are commonly spoken in Australia: Vietnamese, Thai, Lebanese Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Indonesian, Greek and Chinese.
Each language is featured over four pages, as a child introduces the reader to their language and culture. We learn, for example, that Ivy comes from Badu Island in the Torres Strait. She speaks Kala Lagaw Ya, loves eating akul (mangrove mussels), and sometimes watches her aka (grandmother) make wakul (mats) out of palm leaves. Chinese Hua likes to fly her feng zheng (kite), Indonesian Budi loves eating nasi goreng (fried rice), Italian Sophia plays calcio (soccer), and Lebanese Amal plays taweleh (backgammon).
The numbers from one to ten are also given for each language, as well as the basic greetings of hello and goodbye. There's even a handy pronunciation guide for each language, so that everyone can have a go at speaking them.
As with all National Library publications, a resource section at the back of the book features photographs from the library archives that are relevant to each culture.
This is obviously a fantastic book for schools and libraries, but it's also great for the home bookshelf, and will hopefully encourage children (and adults) to call out a cheery 'Yiasou!' next time they see their Greek neighbour!
Author: National Library of Australia
Illustrator: Tony Flowers
Publisher: NLA Publishing, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: April 2016
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book