Author Jasmine Seymour and artist Leanne Mulgo Watson have teamed up to release Cooee Mittigar, a beautiful children's book that aims to teach primary school children about Aboriginal songlines, out this November through Magabala Books.
A songline is a map of Country and helps one feel like they belong.
In Cooee Mittigar, meaning "Come here, Friend", the reader is greeted by Mulgo (the black swan) who welcomes you to yana (walk) on Country and walks the reader along one of the Darug songlines; she shows us its path. Journeying through the seasons, Mulgo describes the land, skyscape, birds, plants, animals and totems. It is a gentle guide to how Darug people read the seasons, knowing when it is time to hunt and time to rest. It is a beautiful exploration of what you might see along the songline as you walk through Nura (Darug Country).
With Darug language interspersed with English and an extensive glossary throughout, Cooee Mittigar presents an important tool for learning, told as a tender story with exquisite illustrations. It is Jasmine and Leanne's wish that with this book, everyone will know that the Darug mob are still here and still strong.
Jasmine and Leanne are both Darug mob and are thrilled to keep their culture alive through books. Says Jasmine, "The Darug mob were the first in Sydney, and all school children deserve to know the true history of the place in which they live. This book gives a view into how it was, how it is and how it will always be to Darug people.
"Acknowledging and recognising our history is important for reconciliation. Our culture deserves to be championed by all people who live on Darug lands. We all belong to this beautiful country and I hope this book teaches young ones how to belong and feel at one with Country".
Jasmine Seymour is fast becoming renowned for her beautiful Darug stories, weaving the native language in with English text making Indigenous stories and words accessible to children and families, as she has done so once again with this stunning creation, topped off by Leanne's beautiful artwork.
Family, seasons, songlines, culture and tradition are the themes of this stunning picture book that is bound to become a classic.
Jasmine Seymour is a Darug woman and descendant of Maria Lock, who was the daughter of Yarramundi, the Boorooberongal elder who had met Governor Phillip on the banks of the Hawkesbury River in 1791. Maria was the first Aboriginal woman to be educated by the Blacktown Native Institute. She was married to carpenter and convict, Robert Lock and their union resulted in thousands of descendants who can all trace their Darug heritage back past Yarramundi. It is Jasmine's wish that through her books, everyone will know that the Darug mob are still here, still strong. Jasmine is a primary school teacher in the Hawkesbury area of NSW. Baby Business was published by Magabala Books in 2019.
Author: Jasmine Seymour