'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 24 September 2018

Review: Our Birds

Sienna Stubbs, a young Yolnu woman, was 12 years old when she took up photography using her iPad. 

Her aunt gave her a camera as a present, and from then on, what she loved most opened up to her. 

With Our Birds, a gorgeous gift book of photography, the now fifteen year old Sienna shares the beauty and culture from around her home in Yirrkala, in North-east Arnhem Land.

The book begins with a Pronunciation guide. As there are six letters in Yolnu Matha that don’t exist in English, I respectfully use whatever is closest to the letter in English in this review.

The guide is followed by a biographical page with a photo of Sienna now, an explanation of how the book came about, and some information on her place. This shares the opposite page with a photo of the first bird standing at the edge of the sea looking towards us.

Each stunning photo is accompanied by a strong intelligent narrative that describes the bird and area in detail. The pictures include the native name of the bird with the English translation beneath. One side of the double spread is a photo depicting the landscape or sea at various times of the day, or the natural world, or trees and branches. The other side depicts a bird. This is how Sienna shares with us, the beauty of her land and her artistic flair for photography.

The pictures are clear and full of light and brilliant colour; some more subtle and soft. The Black Cockatoo preens against a blue background with its red inner feathers visible.

This is a unique book, full of beauty and life both in the images and text. To learn more about Sienna, there is an NITV interview available on the Magabala website, where she talks about the original book she self published. Audio of Sienna pronouncing bird names in Yolnu can be downloaded, here.

With each book sold a donation will go to the Small Seeds Big Reads: Magabala Books for Little Hands philanthropic initiative.

Title: Our Birds
Author: Sienna Stubbs
Publisher: Magabala Books, $17.99
Publication Date: April 2018
Format: Flap cover
ISBN: 9781925360981
For ages: 10+
Type: Non Fiction