Cherbourg kids love Books, Books, Books

Kids at Cherbourg, an Indigenous community of approximately 2000 people in south-east Queensland, love creating stories and have become published authors and illustrators.

When a Cherbourg child starts primary school, it may be the first time in their lives they are listening to non-indigenous people and not speaking in their home language. The school rules and expectations are very different from their community life.

So to encourage learning and to value home language and community identity, Cherbourg State School involves people from the community in the classroom. This approach helps students when reading or looking at books and writing. But it's important to have books that reflect the students' own unique experiences.

Students creating their own stories and books, does just that. With the help of their community and teachers, the students are telling their stories and those of their local community. Along the way, they are developing skills in language learning, literacy, media, research, computer skills and art. As well as encouraging a love of learning and literacy, the books cultivate pride in Indigenous culture.

This exciting literacy project has now evolved into the not-for-profit community organisation Budburra Books Inc. With the help of the talented local community, there are now 11 books in the range, and they have been professionally published for everyone to enjoy. They are fun to read and are filled with beautiful illustrations that will appeal to all ages.

Students have also produced short films of Can You Find?, Mundagarra, Cherbourg Seasons and Budburra's Alphabet, and they have had screenings nationally, in London and Pakistan, and have won many awards. The films are available on DVD, or as a package deal with their complementary books. There is also the documentary Budburra Books, which details the literacy project journey, and would be of interest to anyone involved in Indigenous Education.

For more information, or to order the books or DVD, email or visit the website

Dingoes Are Not Dogs: Guest author, Indigenous Education expert Dr Chris Sarra, tells the story of Budda the Dingo, and Winston the Labrador, and how a friendship can be born in spite of our differences.

Budburra's Alphabet: follow Budburra's path through the alphabet with text and illustrations by Cherbourg children. Budburra's Alphabet was named on the Children's Book Council of Australia Early Childhood Notable Books List for 2011.

Where's Nana? Find Nana, and learn positional words along the way. A collaboration between students of Cherbourg State School, Murgon State School and St Joseph's Primary School.

Catching Blueys: a special family story about catching crawfish down at the local creek.

Cherbourg Seasons: tells of hot months, windy months, cold months and dry months - season changes are the cycle of life.

The Ration Shed: a delightful historical record reflecting on some of the early days in Cherbourg.

Mundagarra: tells about the day Aunty Venus met the Rainbow Serpent at the waterhole.

Walking through Cherbourg: retells a popular children's story using the students' own words, context and beautiful artwork.

Can you find?: Lesleigh's search for her missing friends leads to a magical birthday surprise.

My Body: Cherbourg's pre-Prep children pose for photographs and demonstrate Standard Australian English names for parts of the body.

Counting: Children paint and count some familiar things from their world, including snakes, hands, feet, boomerangs, crabs and clap sticks.