Yarns From Yandilla by Karen Knight-Mudie
The stories provide a unique platform for learning about Australian animals; respect for the environment; co-operation between humans and animals, and increasing knowledge and vocabulary.
Central to the tales is the on-going battle between right and wrong as a newcomer to Australia tries to fit into a different country with a bewildering culture. Confusion and loneliness confront young Barry Badger.
Barry wants to be part of a clan. But he is young and makes a big mistake that leads to many more mistakes. He makes friends with a couple of rogues.
However, the Aussie animals featured in the tales inspire Barry to become a ‘true blue’ Mate. How does this happen?
The tales emphasise the importance of story-telling steeped in the Australian tradition of spinning yarns so that knowledge is passed on from generation to generation. Karen draws on memories handed down from her father as well as personal experience married with a desire to rekindle love and respect for our environment.
The catalyst and inspiration for the yarns came from two curious grandchildren who inspired Yarns From Yandilla with “a heart full of love”.
Professor Diana F Davis, Australian National University thinks: Yarns from Yandilla offers an organic visual/verbal experience embedded in the fundaments of Australian culture. Karen Knight-Mudie’s characters are both enticing and engaging as they face life’s challenges with both its dangers and delights. While her educational hat is worn alongside her narrative one, her underpinning concerns for children’s linguistic and visuacy development never overwhelm the sense of play and adventure she engenders in her readers, young and old.
Associate Professor, Helen Yeates, School of Media, Entertainment, Creative Arts, Film & Screen, QUT, Brisbane considers: Yarns from Yandilla creatively captures aspects of the Australian identity, of understanding what it means to be Australian. This work could help young people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds, to enjoy and develop a responsibility for the diverse Australian culture and landscape.
Most youth-focused visual media shown on Australian television does not have an Australian focus. Yarns from Yandilla, (in print, video or film) could offer a real alternative with embedded Australian values that promote a collegial, positive and rewarding experience. The work offers hope for the next generation with ideals that are not trashy, aggressive or competitive but rather promote a new sense of belonging and responsibility for shaping both the Australian environment and culture.
Yarns from Yandilla offers an imaginative insight into Australian folklore. It reinforces courage and a willingness to help, to be engaged, belong and to contribute to something worthwhile. The yarns are beguiling, enchanting and seductive and are very appropriate to addressing and healing some of the dichotomies and contradictions in Australian life today.
About the Author
Karen Knight-Mudie (PhD) has a teaching background in the Secondary School System and Arts Education Teacher Training programmes in the University Sector. She has written extensively in the areas of Visual Arts Education, Creativity, Curriculum Development, Motivation, Semiotics and Personal Experience.
Karen is a watercolour artist and has painted in Kakadu, the Flinders Ranges, Carnarvon Gorge, Mt Moffatt, Port Arthur, the Jondaryan Woolshed, Moreton Island and other locations around Queensland. Many of her works are housed in State and private collections.
Genre: Educational Fiction – Australian animals; respect for environment; co-operation
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