Children's Books Exploring Aboriginal History and Culture

In acknowledgement of NAIDOC week, we have compiled a list of fabulous children's books exploring Aboriginal Australia

The value of connection is crucial in Genius centres. We celebrate the connection between different cultures and acknowledge and learn from the traditional owners of our land, who inspire us to lead the next generation towards reconciliation. We incorporate the Australian Aboriginal + Torres Strait Island culture into our curriculum in many ways - through a daily acknowledgement of country and a range of stories, songs and activities.

NAIDOC week (July 3-10 2022) is a time to celebrate the culture, achievements and history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This week falls in the first week of July and is a critical footprint in our history. NAIDOC stands for 'National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee and is a vital week in our history that we must educate our little ones about. The theme for this year's NAIDOC week is ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ focusing on encouraging, supporting and securing change. Change comes through understanding and listening and can begin at home.

During NAIDOC week we will be sharing some of these traditional age-appropriate stories with our little learners at Genius. These stories inspire and teach our children about the land's traditional owners, and the rich and illustrious Indigenous history of Australia. We'd love you to also enjoy these stories with your families - celebrating the culture, achievements and history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this NAIDOC week. Check out our list below!

Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy & Lisa Kennedy

Aboriginal storybooks are an explosion of colour and imagery, and this work by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy does not disappoint. This visually stunning narrative beautifully yet simply explains the concept of the welcome ceremony and its significance to our First Nations people.

The narrative comes to life with the vibrant and warm illustrations of First Nations Artist Lisa Kennedy. Welcome to country should be read by everyone to understand the importance of a welcome to country ceremony.

Welcome to country takes readers on a journey on the significance of the welcome to country and creation. The striking illustrations depict the cultural greeting of elders to visitors who wish to enter their traditional land.

Our Home, Our Heartbeat by Adam Briggs, Kate Moon & Rachael Sarra

Created from Adam Brigg's celebrated song 'The Children Came Back’, the beautiful tale welcomes readers to celebrate past, present and future indigenous legends and emerging. Most beautifully, this story respects and honours the oldest continuous culture on our earth.

This inspirational book comes to life with the stunningly colourful illustrations by Kate Moon and Rachael Sarra. This tale celebrates indigenous people such as Cathy Freeman, Buddy Franklin, Lionel Rose and The Sapphires, to name just a few.

Adam Briggs is an accomplished rapper and has side-stepped into the world of children's literature. It's a tale all children should read, inspiring them to reach for the stars as if anything is possible

My Story, Ngaginybe Jarragbe by Shirley Purdie

Told in English and Gija, the Aboriginal language spoken by indigenous Australians from the East Kimberley area of Western Australia, this is the tale of Shirley Purdie. Shirley Purdie is a famous indigenous artist who tells her history through the stunning artwork found within its pages. Shirley walks readers through her story, from humble beginnings collecting bush tucker with her mother to the transformation of becoming a famous artist.

Shirley's paintings hang worldwide and can be found in some special places. This children's book is the first in the Kimberley Art Centre Series. This art series focuses on developing the skills of Kimberley Aboriginal artists with stunning storybook storytelling and vibrant illustrations. Enjoy Shirley's account of life growing up on Mabel Downs station and her Gija Culture, Country and Dreaming.

Freedom Day by Thomas Mayor & Rosie Smiler

Freedom Day is a narrative of courage and change. In 1966 over 200 Aboriginal people walked off the Wave Hill Cattle Station in the Northern Territory. Led by Vincent Lingiari, they walked together for equal pay and land rights. Freedom Day, with stunning illustrations, brings this courageously true tale to many younger generations.

Thomas Mayer co-authors this tale with Vincent Lingiari’s granddaughter Rosie, bringing this important story to life. There is an iconic photograph of Gough Whitlam pouring red soil into the hands of Vincent Lingiari, showcasing the legal transfer of Gurindji land back to the Gurindji people. This entire storey depicts the events leading up to this. This moving narrative is a must-read tale of strength, change and leadership.

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