Celebrated on the 26th January each year, Australia Day commemorates the first landing in Australia by Captain Arthur Philip.
Although a day of great national pride for lots of Australians, many Aboriginal people feel very differently. With this in mind, here is a selection of stories from both traditions.
This great selection of stories from the Aboriginal tradition have been re-told by Cecilia Egan and illustrated by Elizabeth Alger. With the black pages, all the colours of the illustrations are vibrant and engaging. The stories are well told with a real feel of the story teller to them, making them a pleasure to read aloud.
'A is for Aunty' was inspired by Elaine Russell's childhood memories. Each letter shows the reader an aspect of her family life- 'p' is for 'possum', 'b' is for 'billycarts'. A fascinating insight into her childhood, this book could be used to inspire children to create their own alphabet books about their lives, encouraging them to compare and contrast their lives with that of others.
The illustrations are a delight; bold use of colour and stylised images combine to bring scenes from her childhood to life.
'These are some of the oldest stories in the world...'
James Vance Marshall, author of 'Walkabout' has re-told ten ancient stories of the Dreamtime from the Yorta-Yorta people. Beautifully illustrated by the Aboriginal artist Frances Firebrace, this is a treasure of a book. With each story, there is additional information to interest the reader further.
Perfect for introducing children (and adults!) to these stories, for exploring another culture, for finding out about another land, for appreciating a particular art form... this is a fantastic resource!
Written by New Zealand born, Ruth Park, 'The Muddle Headed Wombat' stories began as a daily children's radio series. The stories follow Wombat and his friends- Mouse and Tabby Cat as they stumble into adventures. The illustrations by Noela Young are charming, helping the characters to come to life.
Also born in New Zealand, Dorothy Wall wrote the 'Blinky Bill' stories in the 1930s. A naughty little koala, Blinky Bill has adventures with his friends who are other Australian animals. The stories don't shy away from the dangers faced by the animals, offering opportunities for discussions about conservation and man's impact on the environment.
The gumnut babies, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, live alongside the other Nuts and Blossoms in the bush where they are cared for by various wild creatures- but are threatened by others- owls- and the Banksia men.
May Gibbs illustrated her stories beautifully and they have remained firm Australian favourites since their publication.
Just a few stories from Down Under to celebrate Australia Day!