The We love Country book has been developed by the Department for Education, Children and Young People in collaboration between Aboriginal Education Services and Early Learning.

Authors Leanne Pelikan, Kylie Dickson and Nicole Smith – whose mobs are from Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria – wrote this story about Nanna showing her grandchildren (and the reader) how they connect with Country.

It features beautiful illustrations based on familiar Tasmanian landscapes by local artists Jamin and Luke Emmerton.

The Department’s Deputy Secretary for Development and Support, Jodee Wilson, said the We love Country book is for the enjoyment of children and their families. It provides opportunities for all children to engage and learn from the story and the illustrations.

“A picture book like We love Country helps our children to understand and value our Tasmanian Aboriginal histories and cultures, particularly Aboriginal people’s connection to Country,” she said.

“When families spend time together reading and talking, not only do children benefit from enjoying a story, they also learn new words which is good for their vocabulary development.”

Co-authors and Department Aboriginal Education Services staff, Kylie Dickson and Leanne Pelikan, talk about ways we can connect with Country.

We love Country features native Tasmanian animals, plants and locations and explores Country using each of the five senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Think: hearing the screeching of yellow-tailed black cockatoos, or smelling the eucalyptus from tall gum trees,” Kylie says.

Leanne adds, “Young children learn best by exploring with their senses. This book demonstrates how that works for Aboriginal people and the importance of our connection to Country. This book is about sharing and passing on our ways of learning from Tasmania’s Aboriginal people to the wider community.”

All children who attend any of the Department’s birth to four years programs across the state will receive their very own, take-home copy of We love Country.

Copies of We love Country will also soon be shared with Education and Care services, and Catholic and Independent birth to four years programs across the state.

Author readings will take place at Connected Beginnings community events in Gagebrook, Burnie and Launceston this week.

For more information, visit the Great Start website.