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Kirli’s debut children’s picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines, illustrated by Matt Ottley follows a young girl as she adventures with her newly unearthed freedom machine.  It made the CBCA notable list for Picture book of the Year (2019) and was shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia’s Indigenous Children Category 2019. It was selected for  Bologna Book Fair 2018/19 and has been published in Russian, Western Armenian, Turkish, French and English.

Order The Incredible Freedom Machines:

Bindi, verse novel ~ Kirli Saunders

WINNER Daisy Utemorrah Award 2019,

Meet 11-year-old Bindi. She’s not really into maths but LOVES art class and playing hockey. Her absolute FAVOURITE thing is adventuring outside with friends or her horse, Nell.

A new year starts like normal—school, family, hockey, dancing. But this year hasn’t gone to plan! There’s a big art assignment, a drought, a broken wrist AND the biggest bushfires her town has ever seen!

Bindi is a verse novel for mid-upper primary students. Written ‘for those who plant trees’, Bindi explores climate, bushfires, and healing. Written from the point of view of 11-year-old, Bindi and her friends on Gundungurra Country.

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Kirli’s Forthcoming titles include: 

Our Dreaming, illustrated by Dub Leffler (Scholastic, 2021). This book shares the Yuin and Gundungurra Dreamings as were told to Kirli by her Elders.

Yana in The Bawa [Walk in the Bush] (Magabala, 2021) is an Early Childhood text, written with Gundungurra interpretations taught to Kirli by Gundungurra Language Custodian Aunty Trish Levett. As young readers join community for a walk in the bush, they will learn Gundungurra names for native animals.

Afloat illustrated by Matt Chun (Hardie Grant 2021)  follows the story of an Elder teaching foraging and weaving practices to a child, to tie canoes together, to a form a raft to survive an incoming storm.  This text explores the themes of unity, oneness, reconciliation, strength, endurance and courage.

Happy Ever After illustrated by David and Noni Cragg (Scholastic 2022) tells the haunting story of Kirli’s Mother’s removal from her Yuin country in the early 1970s. It will be available in February 2020.


WINNER Daisy Utemorrah Award 2019, Bindi written by Kirli Saunders, Illustrated by Dub Leffler (Magabala 2020).