We were over the moon when Magabala agreed to partner with us on the creation of two picture books. On 1 June 2022, the first work to be published as part of the partnership was Open Your Heart to Country, written and illustrated by Jasmine Seymour. It is a story told in Dharug and in English, with both languages floating in gentle waves over beautiful scenes that lead you into Country and connection with the land, animals and language.
The text is soft and evocative, drawing young readers in, while also carrying a deeper message for older readers too.
Jasmine is a Dharug woman descended from Maria Lock, who was the daughter of Yarramundi, the Boorooberongal elder who met Governor Phillip on the banks of the Hawkesbury River in 1791. Jasmine has written a number of picture books including Cooee Mittigar, Baby Business and Family. She is also a primary school teacher in the Hawkesbury area.
The second, much anticipated picture book created through this collaboration with Magabala will come out later this year.