My People: a book about what families mean to you

First 5 Forever Cloud White

Shaylah is five and has a big, beautiful family. There are naughty little brothers and lots and lots of cousins. Shaylah wants you to meet her people.

Who are your people?

My People by Billie-Jean Taylor is one of 12 Stories for Little Queenslanders picture books published by State Library of Queensland as part of the Queensland Government funded First 5 Forever initiative. Each book uses local language and content to promote early literacy and inspire a love of reading for children 0-5.

About the book

This book celebrates all the different people who make up our families and the roles they play. Read this book to start a conversation to help children find comfort and acceptance from the people closest to them. There is no one type of family; they are all unique. Talk about the people in your family?   

Children will relate to the images drawn by the 5-year-old illustrator and the story in the child’s voice. They provide a good prompt for starting a conversation about different types of families and the roles of family members. 

Borrow the book from your local library, or discover the ebook and audiobook online.

Why is this a good book to share?

Use this book to talk with your children about different kinds of families or when there is a change in your family. It’s a good book for starting a conversation about emotions and the people and places that make you feel happy and sad.

Ideas for sharing the book together  

These are some ideas for sharing this book at home:

  • Show children the cover and the handprints. What do the illustrations and the colour of the cover tell you about the author?
  • Ask children what they think My People might be about.
  • Point to the illustrations and ask children if they think Shaylah looks happy or sad?
  • Stop and talk about the Aboriginal word noondungs (dogs). Talk about the other Aboriginal words, phrases or symbols like One mob, one land and the Aboriginal flag)
  • Don’t skip over words and phrases like naughty, growling, yabbying and shake-a-leg. 
  • Shaylah’s family enjoys doing things together like fishing and dancing. What does your family like to do together? Talk about some happy family times.

At the end of the book, talk about all the different people in Shaylah’s family. Talk about their relationships. How do you think Shaylah feels. Talk about the words you can use to describe feelings such as happy, sad, excited.

The Corner at Home

Boxes: Join Walter and start experimenting with different construction and play activities, it’s amazing the things you can do with a simple box!

What’s on the line?: join Frankie and Iris in a simple backyard activity. Listen for clues in a fun game that will have your little ones hopping to help bring in the washing!

About the author and illustrator

Billie-Jean Taylor is a proud Mithaka woman and calls Chinchilla home. She is a mother, daughter, sister, Aunty and granddaughter. Family is the cornerstone of her life. Billie-Jean is driven by her passion for her culture and her desire to make her family proud.

The illustrator is Shaylah Dodd, the five-year-old featured in this story. She is also Billie-Jean’s daughter from whose perspective this story is told.

Grab a copy from your local library, or read, watch or listen online. A whole new summer of local stories is waiting to inspire your family.

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