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Five Great Books to Read This National Reconciliation Week



National Reconciliation Week 27 May to 3 June is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Held at the same time each year these dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

The theme for this year is Grounded in Truth Walk Together With Courage and one of the best ways to give children insight into Indigenous culture is to get them reading or read together. There are so many wonderful books that we could recommend but the highlights below will get you started.

If you visit the National Reconciliation Week website here you can download lots of resources including more books here for all ages.

Stories for Simon by Lisa Miranda Sarzin, illustrated by Lauren Briggs

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. Stories for Simon is a beautiful story of acknowledging the past and working together for a brighter future. 8+ readers

Possum and Wattle: My Big Book of Australian Words by Bronwyn Bancroft

An eye-opening vocabulary book featuring words taken from Australia’s inspiring natural environment—with a glossary of Aboriginal terms. Words include blossoms and bees through to wombats and willy willys. The pages range from neatly vignetted illustrations to large narrative landscapes. The book is designed to intrigue, captivate and nurture inquisitive minds and to celebrate the uniqueness of Australia. Author and illustrator Bronwyn Bancroft is Bronwyn Bancroft is a descendant of the Bunjalung people of New South Wales whose artwork has been collected and exhibited by galleries and museums throughout the world. 0-5 readers

Sam’s Bush Journey by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft

Sam doesn’t like the outdoors and would be happy if it all disappeared. But when he goes to stay with his grandmother, he learns that the outdoors has an abundance of things to offer. Sam’s Bush Journey is brimming with themes that will promote discussion amongst young readers: journeys, the environment, storytelling, Aboriginal knowledge of the bush and intergenerational knowledge. 4-8 readers

Young Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

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. 10+ readers

My Place by Sally Morgan
My Place begins with Sally Morgan tracing the experiences of her own life, growing up in suburban Perth in the fifties and sixties. Through the memories and images of her childhood and adolescence, vague hints and echoes begin to emerge, hidden knowledge is uncovered, and a fascinating story unfolds – a mystery of identity, complete with clues and suggested solutions. My Place is a deeply moving account of a search for truth, into which a whole family is gradually drawn; finally freeing the tongues of the author’s mother and grandmother, allowing them to tell their own stories. 10+ readers


  1. Denise Newton

    Great list, thanks for this. It’s good to have some beautiful books to introduce younger Australians to the richness and depth of indigenous Australia

  2. Karen Bennetts

    Wild Cat Falling by Mudrooroo (Colin Johnson) is an excellent read. This autobiographical novel depicts the life of this young Noongar man during the 1960’s/’70’s. One of my favourite books, I’ve read it three times.

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