Picture book a winning effort


Winning words: Charlotte OBrien with her NAIDOC short story award.

Charlotte O’Brien has a flair for writing and illustrating.

The Year 4 student at Holy Spirit Catholic Primary North Ryde has won the NAIDOC Week 2015 Design a Short Story competition with her eight-page children’s book titled Understanding the Traditional Ways.

Charlotte, 9, used a performance by Indigenous students from St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill as the springboard for the story which featured Charlotte’s hand-drawn and digitally created illustrations.

“They did a dance and a smoking ceremony at our assembly and I wrote about that from an Indigenous perspective,” she said. “I wrote as though I got up in the morning and had to do a speech and make acknowledgements of the land at the assembly.”

The NAIDOC short story competition was open to all students in Years 3 to 6 across Australia. It is the first writing competition that Charlotte has entered. She completed the story just before it was due after being absent from school due to illness.

“I had asthma and wasn’t in the mood for anything,” she said. “I had only written two pages but though ‘I need to get this done!’ I’m not that good at illustrations but I gave it ago and used different concepts.”

The competition complemented the history topics Charlotte’s grade focused on in Terms 2 and 3 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture and British colonisation.

“We focused on it because of NAIDOC Week. It was cool because we went to Botany Bay and looked around.”

The 2015 NADOC Week theme was ‘We all stand on sacred ground’.

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