Our Island was created by the children of Gununa (Mornington Island) with Alison Lester and Elizabeth Honey. The children who contributed to the book include: Roy Amini, Lydia Claxton-Amini, Carmelita Binjari, Brett Evans, Lenford Gabori, Letisha Gabori, Luckeisha Gabori, Saiyuri Govender, Serena Govender, Kenneth Jacob, Jasmine Jingles, Elijah Joe, Kathleen Juhel, Daniel Kohler, Jaylo Linden, Reed Linden, Saige Reid, Graham Roughsey, Cheraine Sewter, Miranda Thomas, Miguel Thompson, Sheyenne Thompson, Tianna Thompson, Landon Wall and Amber Wilson.
Elizabeth Honey and Alison Lester on the making of Our Island:
In 2006 we were invited to Mornington Island State School to make a picture book with the kids. We worked in the library with a group of twenty students. A short poetic text by Jasmine Jingles provided the inspiration, then we all searched for exactly the right words to describe the island. An ever-changing cast of illustrators drew with crayons, and washed over their drawings with food dyes. This wax-resist process made the drawings rich, the colours of the lines contrasting with the colours of the background. Some kids completed their own illustration; sometimes several children worked on the same picture. We hopped around art directing, whipping away pictures before they were overdone, and our young artists came and went as they were called out for tutoring, sport or other things. One copy of the book was printed out and we read it at assembly, minutes before catching the plane home.
In 2013 we returned to the school and there were the original illustrations beautifully framed, hanging in the office corridors out of the tropical sun. We met the new staff and kids, and worked with them on the words and the pictures – some old, some new – that became this version of the book.