All the Proud Tribesmen by Kylie Tennant First Edition

All the Proud Tribesmen by Kylie Tennant is a stirring narrative set on a Torres Strait island, depicting the life of Kerri, a 12-year-old boy, and his community’s struggle against natural disasters. This award-winning children’s novel beautifully illustrates themes of survival and adaptation through vivid storytelling and rich cultural insights. Ideal for readers aged 8 and up, this book is a captivating journey into resilience and tradition.

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A collector would find considerable value in acquiring a first edition of Kylie Tennant’s “All the Proud Tribesmen”. Firstly, its status as an award-winning title – it won the Children’s Book of the Year Award in 1960 – marks it as a significant piece of Australian children’s literature. Owning a first edition of an award-winning book adds a historical and cultural premium to any collection.

Kylie Tennant is a noted figure in Australian literature, recognized for her deep and authentic explorations of Australian life. “All the Proud Tribesmen,” being her first children’s book, showcases her unique narrative style and social-realist approach, but adapted for a younger audience. Collectors appreciate first editions because they represent the author’s work in its original form, often before any editorial changes that might accompany later editions.

The book’s theme and setting – focused on the Torres Strait Islander community – are rarely covered in such depth during the time it was written, making it a unique cultural artifact. The inclusion of detailed illustrations by Clem Seale in the first edition further enhances its collectability, offering visual insights into the story and its setting that complement Tennant’s descriptive prose.

Finally, the physical attributes of the first edition – such as its cover design and construction – provide a tactile piece of the era’s publishing characteristics, which can be a particular draw for collectors who value the aesthetics and historical context of their collections. Owning a first edition of “All the Proud Tribesmen” is not just owning a book; it’s preserving a piece of literary and cultural history.

Experience the gripping saga of endurance and tradition in “All the Proud Tribesmen,” a compelling children’s novel by acclaimed author Kylie Tennant. Set against the backdrop of the Torres Strait, the story centers on Kerri, a young islander who, along with his community, faces the daunting challenge of rebuilding life after their island is devastated by a volcanic eruption.

The volcanic island of Firecast off the coast of Australia is the scene of the beginning of this exciting story. The islanders, who are mostly pearl-divers and fishermen, are watched over by the indomitable Miss Buchanan, schoolteacher, nurse and friend of the people. The story is told by Kerri, a twelve-year-old native boy whom she is coaching for a scholarship to Queensland. Kerri is anxious to justify her faith in him, but often feels he would rather take part in the exciting life of the pearl-fishers.
But sudden and terrifying events overtake the islanders. An earthquake and a volcanic eruption cause the community to flee from their island home to the ‘ghostly’ island Malu. In the evacuation of Firecrest, and again in the many difficulties which the islanders meet in their new home, Kerri does prove himself, magnificently confirming the promise that his ‘Ama’, Miss Buchanan, has always recognized in him.

Illustrated by Clem Seale, this narrative does not just tell a tale of survival but dives deep into the heart of the island’s culture, exploring its rich customs and the bond between the people and their land. Tennant’s novel, is notable for its authentic portrayal of island life, seamlessly integrating local traditions such as the kupai omasker adoption practice, providing a window into a world rarely seen in children’s literature.

This First Edition features a hardcover format with brown illustrated cloth boards and contains enchanting black and white illustrations that bring the story to life. Despite minor wear and aging signs, the book is in fair condition, making it a valuable addition for collectors and young readers alike.

“All the Proud Tribesmen” is more than just an adventure story; it is a poignant exploration of cultural identity, resilience, and the unyielding spirit of a community in the face of adversity. It’s an essential read for young adventurers and anyone interested in the rich tapestry of Torres Strait Islander culture.

Cover Type: Hardcover
Book Condition: Pages and binding are presentable with no major defects. Minor issues present such as mild cracking, inscription to inner board, light foxing, tanning and thumb marking. Overall a fair condition item. Boards have mild shelf wear with light rubbing and corner bumping. Some light marking and sunning.
Jacket Condition: Some tears
Publisher: Macmillan Co Australia
Publisher Place: London
Publisher Year: 1959
Edition: First