English / Australia

Bakir and Bi

Boyd, Jillian (text)
Mordey, Tori-Jay (illus.)
Broome: Magabala Books, 2013. – 63 p.
ISBN 978-1-921248-86-3

Island | Famine | Survival | Totem | Creation myth

Set on a small fictional island in the Torres Strait in ancient times, this book, winner of the 2012 kuril dhagun Indigenous Writing Fellowship, was inspired by a picture drawn by a well known 20th century Torres Strait Island artist. In a mesmerising narration interspersed with local words and beliefs, the indigenous author presents the tale of a small family who enjoy their peaceful and happy life on the beautiful island of Egur until hard times arrive and people start fi ghting each other. When father Bakir and their pet pelican and family totem Bi disappear, just as a dream had warned, mother Mar and the two children embark on a dangerous journey in their little boat to seek a safe new home.

The numerous comicbook-like pictures in the smallformat book were created by the Torres-Strait author’s eighteen-year-old niece. Executed in a limited palette of black, white, brown, and blue-green, they deft ly portray the protagonists’ emotions, the suspenseful journey, and the luscious landscape.
(Age: 6+)