Many Australians have grown up not knowing much about our countries First Nation Peoples and only knowing a small amount about Australia’s Black history. Today I’m seeing many parents and educators alike taking conscious steps to ensure that the lack of education and awareness that they encountered doesn’t continue to occur. Here are list of some of the books that we recommend:
1. When I Was Little Like You
With evocative words and stunning pictures, Mary Malbunka tells her rich story of growing up in the early days of the Papunya settlement in central Australia, going bush with her family and learning about culture and life. A picture book for all ages.
As Mary Malbunka shares her stories of playing with friends, building cubby houses, climbing trees, collecting sugarbag, digging for honey ants, hunting for lizards, and learning about the seasons, animals and plants, she creates a vivid picture of a truly Australian childhood in which country - ngurra is life itself.
Warm and accessible, this is essentially an oral story, and it contains a number of words in Luritja whose meaning is explained in context and also within an extensive glossary. The book also interprets recurring symbols used in traditional Aboriginal painting.
Australians All encompasses the history of our continent from the Ice Age to the Apology, from the arrival of the First Fleet to the Mabo Judgement. Brief accounts of the lives of real young Australians open up this chronological narrative. Some of the subjects of the eighty mini-biographies have become nationally or even internationally famous. Others were legends in their own families and communities. Meticulously researched, beautifully written and highly readable, Australians All helps us understand who we are, and how we belong to the land we all share. It also shows us who we might be.
3. Young Dark Emu
Bruce Pascoe has collected a swathe of literary awards for Dark Emuand now he has brought together the research and compelling first-person accounts in a book for younger readers.
Using the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, Bruce Pascoe compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. He allows the reader to see Australia as it was before Europeans arrived — a land of cultivated farming areas, productive fisheries, permanent homes, and an understanding of the environment and its natural resources that supported thriving villages across the continent. Young Dark Emu — A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation.
A powerful and moving story about true mateship.
Jimmy and Johnno are best mates. The two young friends do everything together, sharing adventures and growing up side by side in the dusty cattle yards of an Australian Outback station. When World War One strikes, they head overseas to fight on the battlefields of the Western Front. Two boys from different cultures. A friendship for life.
5. Stories For Simon
A beautiful story of acknowledging the past and working together for a brighter future.
When Simon unwraps a beautiful boomerang wrapped in an old newspaper, he learns of the national apology to the Stolen Generations. Who were the Stolen Generations and how can saying ‘sorry’ help? Through a new friendship and a magnificent collection of stories, Simon gains a deep appreciation of the past and a positive vision for the future.
A fictionalised account of the Stolen Generation that tells of an Aboriginal girl taken from her family by the government and sent to a children’s home. She sings and dreams of her mother and the life they once shared but each morning is woken by the bell to the harsh reality of the children’s home. Finally, one day she unlocks the door and takes her first step toward home.
7. Alfreds War
Alfred’s War is a powerful story that unmasks the lack of recognition given to Australian Indigenous servicemen who returned from the WWI battlelines.
The true story of a young girl's search for identity and desire to understand her Aboriginality. Seven-year-old Sarah goes to her great-grandmother and asks questions about her family. This universal feel-good story looks at how family history shapes our childhood journeys
Once there were two little girls who were best friends. They did everything together. As they get older, they weren't allowed to do the same things anymore. Because they looked different. Because of the law.
This is a story about the landmark 1967 Referendum, the two women who came together to change the law... and how the Australia people said YES.
"I love looking through this book, seeing the family faces, remembering the hard work - and the extraordinary response of the Australian People"
Associate Professor Lilin G. Bandler