Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Flying High tells the story of Larni who, with her three brothers, Jimmy, Jinti and Ty, lives in Perth. Larni dreams of flying and is going up north for the school holidays to visit her grandma. Larni does not think she is good at anything, however, while spending time with her grandma and aunty, Larni discovers she is very good at something. Larni is great at being herself. While primarily focused on Larni’s personal journey of discovery, the story also provides an insight into the life and holiday adventures of a young indigenous girl.
Flying High is the latest book written by mother and son, Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina. They are from the Palyku people of the Pilbara in the northwest of Western Australia. Morgan and Kwaymullina have released a number of books written both independently and collaboratively. They have also collaborated with Kwaymullina’s siblings, Blaze and Ambelin, on picture books and novels. Flying High is a short chapter book, with simple monochromatic illustrations by Craig Smith scattered throughout the text.
Feedback from three seven year olds in my class indicated that they felt the story ended too abruptly. Olivia wondered, “What happens when Larni returns home?” While Amos would have liked to learn more about Larni and suggested making a series of books. Isabelle believed the book could be improved with “more detailed pictures and colour”.
Teachers could ask their students to compare and contrast Larni’s school holiday experiences with students’ own in order to identify the similarities and differences. The story could also be used as a stimulus to promote thinking about writing collaboratively. What are the challenges and benefits of writing a book with another person? Could students imagine writing a book with a family member?
This book is suitable for modelled reading in the early years or would suit independent readers in the middle years of primary school.
Oliver Woollett – Classroom Teacher, Wesley College, Elsternwick