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

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Review: luwa tara luwa waypa

Down the vast eons of time, comes the story luwa tara luwa waypa, about the transformation of a boy to a man and the search for courage and inner strength. 

The book’s title roughly means 'Three kangaroos, three Tasmanian Aboriginal men’. 

Dave mangenner Gough, a proud trawlwoolway man, shares his family’s connection with tara (male forrester kangaroo), linking readers to ancient Tasmanian culture. 

Gough’s rhythmic language vivifies the story, his background as writer, director, performer and producer evident. The story is further enriched by niyakara’s strong internal dialogue.

Gough uses palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) language, shown in lowercase to differ with English. You can hear the author read the story here and via the QR code featured in the book. My 9-year-old and 11-year-old children were fascinated to hear the palawa language. We read the story a few times to ensure we fully understood its language and message. Written for readers 7 years and older, this book will be most appealing for upper primary through to older teenagers. Please refer to the teaching notes here. 

Samantha Campbell, descended from the Dagoman people from Katherine, has created expressive illustrations. I especially love the way niyakara’s facial expressions have been portrayed, his emotions jumping from the page.

Gough and Campbell have created an important book that plays a part in bringing all Australians together using vivid and evocative storytelling. I hail from Gundungurra and Darug country in the Blue Mountains NSW and I sincerely thank Gough and Campbell for allowing me to connect with lutruwita (Tasmania).

Title: luwa tara luwa waypa
Author: Dave mangenner Gough
Illustrator: Samantha Campbell
Publisher: Aboriginal Studies Press, $26.95
Publication Date: 1 July 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781922752062
For ages: 7+
Type: Picture Book