Powerful and moving, Bidhi Galing is told through the eyes of a young girl who is rescued from raging floodwaters by her father.
Wagadhaany grew up near the Marrambidya Bila. She loved dancing in the rain and listening to her father, Yarri, tell her stories about life on Wiradyuri ngurambang.
When white people started building on the floodplains, Yarri was worried. He knew the power of the bila and tried to warn the strangers, but they would not listen.
Years later, the big rains came…
This is the story of the Great Flood of Gundagai in 1852 and the Wiradyuri heroes, Yarri and Jacky Jacky, who paddled bark canoes through raging floodwaters, risking their lives to save countless others.
I’m a huge fan of Anita Heiss. She’s written an impressive 23 books, spanning non-fiction, historical fiction, women’s fiction and children’s books. I was late to the party, only getting to know her writing through the award-winning Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray. If you also loved this sweeping historical fiction novel, you will love sharing Bidhi Galing with your kids. It tells the story of the same event from a different perspective, pitched perfectly to a younger audience (without any sugarcoating).
In an author’s note at the back of the book, Heiss describes how learning the language and history of her homelands compelled her to write this picture book. In sharing this remarkable story, Heiss passes this inspiration on to her young readers. Her powerful text, accompanied by Samantha Campbell’s evocative illustrations, is a gift of Wiradyuri culture, knowledge and language, sharing a resonant message for our times.
Campbell has illustrated a number of celebrated picture books, including Carl Merrison’s black&write fellowship-winning Backyard Sports series. Here, she brings Heiss’s words to life with full-page illustrations, rich in colour and texture. Expanses of blue and green perfectly capture the beauty and ferocity of the Marrambidya Bila, and the characters are memorable and expressive.
Bidhi Galing is Wiradyuri for Big Rain, and a glossary of terms at the back of the book will further expand readers’ vocabularies. The book includes a scannable link to a recording of Heiss reading the book, which serves as a pronunciation guide and makes this book an even more valuable learning resource.
Equally suited to classroom or bedtime reading, Bidhi Galing is a book that adults and children alike will want to return to again and again. For any child aged 3+, I couldn’t recommend this book more.