National Reconciliation Week has begun!
What is it? It’s “the perfect opportunity to recognise all Australians, and the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within this country.” NRW Website.
It’s about learning, about celebration and recognition.
This year’s theme is Lets Talk Recognition, with the fabulous aim of ‘recognising the contributions, cultures and histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.’
With that in mind, I’ve put together an exciting list of books, across all age groups, for you to delve into from some wonderfully talented Indigenous Australians ….
Older Children 12+
Am I Black Enough For You? – Anita Heiss – aimed at adults and teenagers alike this is a celebration of identity. Using her wry sense of humour Anita Heiss – a successful and entertaining author – breaks down stereotypes and presents a personal and compelling memoir which should storm to the top of everyone’s TBR pile.
Grace Beside Me – Sue McPherson – Delicate yet gutsy, entertaining yet heartfelt, Fuzzy brings us in to her world in this coming of age novel.
Chapter Books 7-11
The Diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937 – Anita Heiss – the author’s sensitive portrayal of Mary as she recounts how she arrived at Bomaderry, lived there for five years, then moved to live with a white family in Sydney allows readers to gain an insight in to what life was like in 1937.
Kakadu Calling – Jane Garlil Christophersen – A wonderful collection of short stories which is ideal for those readers who are just getting to grips with chapter books.
My Girragundji – Meme McDonald & Boori Monty Pryor – A great start for those who are moving on to chapter books; this story deals with the universal themes of fear and courage set against an exciting backdrop of Boori’s mother’s homeland, Yarrabah.
The Barrumbi Kids – Leonie Norrington – Pure and simple, this is good quality fun and enjoyment centred around the antics of the Barrumbi Kids.
Picture Books for Older Children
Bakir and Bi – This is the first picture book I’ve come across which is set firmly in the Torres Strait Islands, and boy is it a good one!
Remembering Lionsville – ‘a story of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people existing in support of each other.’
Our World: Bardi Jaawi: Life at Ardiyooloon – One Arm Point Community School – The different styles of writing, presented in bitesized chunks, provide an informative and entertaining guide to this community. Our World comes alive with drawings and illustrations covering everything from fishing, crocodiles and how to make damper, to how to dress a snake bite!
Maralinga – The Anangu Story – Yalata & Oak Valley Communities, with Christobel Mattingley – The Maralinga story, the nuclear bomb testing, is one most people know ‘something’ of, but this book provides so much more detail and an incredible array of information.
Stolen Girl – Trina Saffioti – Stolen Girl captures the emotions of just one girl who was a part of something much larger – 100,000 Australian children who were taken from their homes and have been referred to as the ‘Stolen Generation.’ Also suitable for younger children.
Shake A Leg – Boori Monty Pryor & Jan Ormerod – styled in the vision of a graphic novel, this is the ideal vehicle for this book and its messages. The key focus is on the words and the voices, reflecting their historical importance in passing on traditions and knowledge. Winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award 2011.
Picture Books 4-6
Fair Skin Black Fella – Renne Fogorty – A simple message, may be. An important message? Absolutely! In just 28 pages Renee Fogorty challenges the use of the term half-caste and challenges the negative pre judging of a person based on skin colour.
The Mark of the Wagarl – Lorna Little – The Wagarl is the big boss, the birdiya, of the water ways who is to be respected and feared. We learn of his journey from the sea, to the rivers to the caves where his role is to look after the other snake families.
The Old Frangipani Tree at Flying Fish Point – Trina Saffioti – This gorgeous picture book will entrance you from the moment you open the hard cover when you’ll be engulfed by images of delicate flowers cascading towards you from the frangipani tree nestled behind. My Book Corner has received some wonderful comments on this one from members of our community.
You and Me: Our Place – Leonie Norrington – The front cover says it all really. Vibrant, mesmerising illustrations capture a glimpse of Australian culture.
Loongie The Greedy Crocodile – Lucy and Kiefer Dann – Loongie, the crocodile at Walaman Creek, manages to look both fierce and cheeky at the same time – I think it has something to do with those eyes!
Look See, Look At Me! – Leonie Norrington – A warm and delightful picture book about growing up from a child’s point of view. It captures the excitement and pride surrounding those ‘small’ achievements.
Too Many Cheeky Dogs – is a picture book widely acclaimed as a testament to the old homage ‘anything is possible if you put your mind to it’.
This presents a great collection, worthy of a firm place on your bookshelves.