Kids’ Book Review: Review: My Little Barlaagany Sunshine


A beautiful picture book featuring the stunning words and art of Melissa greenwood, Indigenous artist and founder/ director of Miimi and Jiinda.

It explores life, family and adventure through day and night as Greenwood takes you on a cultural journey across the land to her bari (special place) where the ancestors live. 

Written in a lyrical, whimsical flow of words, it’s a message from mother to child about the family land and the joy and support it provides. Greenwood invites readers to be part of this message, and this journey, providing a welcoming opportunity to learn about Gumbaynggirr culture and some of its beautiful language.

Through the book, Gumbaynggirr language is used in moments to help children learn.

As the sun sets in the evening sky,
Say, ‘Yarri Yarraang, goodbye.’
Now it’s time for Giidany (the moon) to rise
and we say, ‘Darrundang, thank you,’
for the gift of the night skies.

In a very natural and engaging way, Greenwood makes it really easy to understand the English translation. At the back of the book, you’ll also find the full translation of the book into Gumbaynggirr language. It’s truly, truly special.

Greenwood’s art is stunning. Gorgeous colours, shapes and patterns fill every page, each with precise and special meaning that helps tell the story. This is art that speaks to your soul, and combined with Greenwood’s words, this story is a gift to all children of all cultures.

More adventures await as you rise to a brand-new day…
New creatures to meet along the bush tracks
to play with on your way.

Cuddles from your loving mother.
Warm and safe, like no other,
My little barlaagany (sunshine).

Gumbaynggirr Country includes areas from Nambucca Heads to the Clarence River and out to the Great Dividing Range. This is Greenwood’s second picture book, following Miimi Marraal Mother Earth (which I also highly recommend).

Title: My Little Barlaagany Sunshine
Author/Illustrator: Melissa Greenwood
Publisher: HarperCollins, $24.99
Publication Date: 3 May 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780733342998
For ages: 2 – 4
Type: Picture Books



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