Main Abija (My Grandad) is an autobiographical picture book by Ngukurr artist – and now writer too – Karen Rogers. In Main Abija, Karen shares the personal story of her abija, what he taught her, what he means to her and what it means to have and to lose a beloved grandparent. ‘Abija’ is a very common word in Roper Kriol meaning mother’s father and ‘main’ is pronounced the same as the English word ‘mine’.
‘Dijan buk gada ola memri ai bin abum gada main abija from wen ai bin lilgel til imin libu wi. Imin titjim mi loda tings bla koltja en bla kantri. Mi hepi ba pasim det stori la main femili en bla pudum la dis buk.’
(This book has the memories I had of my grandfather from when I was small until he left us. He taught me many things about culture and country. I’m happy to pass this story on to my family and to put it in this book).
Karen also provides the gorgeous illustrations for the book, drawing on her experience and training as a visual artist and designer. Karen currently designs and paints for Ngukurr Arts (see her work and profile here) and her move into children’s literature was a logical step to take. The book is bilingual with Kriol and English text featured on each page, alongside Karen’s lovely illustrations.
Main Abija was released in March 2021, published by major publisher Allen & Unwin (who were also the publishers behind Bigismob Jigiwan Dog, the Kriol translation of Too Many Cheeky Dogs). Audio recordings of both the Kriol and English texts – read beautifully by Karen herself – are available here: https://www.allenandunwin.com/main-abija. Allen & Unwin have also produced a useful teacher’s resource to help teachers use Main Abija in any classroom which you can access here: https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/book/Karen-Rogers-Main-Abija-My-Grandad-9781760526030
Main Abija is available at bookstores or can be bought direct from our online store.
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