This is a story of a rich indigenous food source and of traditional life that traces a young boy’s instruction in food-gathering. With his mother he learns from their Indigenous family, how to collect the edible seeds of lilies and learns how to prepare this bush food.
Book Review from Jane Anlezark, November 2007
‘Waterlilies’ by Diane Lucas and Colwyn Campbell
As a teacher I am pleased to find a resource that simply and yet powerfully supports learning and investigations in the classroom. The implicit science and social sciences sing from each page. For literacy educators Waterlilies creates a quality model of recount and procedural texts as well as giving strength to developing descriptive writing.
‘Their strong breath stinks like rotting fish.’
It is also warming to find a text that brings to life Indigenous perspectives. In a past position, implementing the Australian Indigenous Studies Policy across the curriculum, Didamain Uibo, a Nungubuyo woman from Nubulwarr, and I would search for books like Waterlilies because we knew that educators and students not only needed them but wanted them.
As a mother and an aunty I am delighted to find the book that will give joy to my family. Each page underscored by the lilting text is richly drawn in a way that encourages discussion and discovery. It is a book to be shared. Colwyn’s paintings take us there and into there and under there. You can smell it and feel it as well as see it. The decorative images enliven and give depth to the documentary elements of Waterlilies.
Importantly for me from a very personal level I believe this book to be significant. So many books incorporating such themes approach the topics from an ‘us’ and ‘them’ socio-cultural divide. Perhaps this is a hangover from an inability to appreciate who we are and where we are. This gentle book is truly a book about ‘us’, people who live together, here and now, on this land.