Kids’ Book Review: Review: For 60 000 Years

I am the first to say we are privileged to live in Australia, and I am grateful to have been born here.

There is so much for which
to be grateful, but there are also times I am ashamed of our national behaviour
and attitudes (there will be more on this in a review coming up in the next few

Especially, given I am the mother and grandmother of Wiradjuri
offspring, the national attitude towards our First Nations peoples is not only
a disgrace, but shows no signs of improvement.

The result of last year’s referendum marked us as racist and backward in the eyes of civilised world countries, and was, for my family, a cause for grief and many tears.

Marlee Silva is a Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman; podcaster, media
personality of TV and radio, and best-selling author, who was moved to write
this poetic response to her feelings on January 26th. The ongoing debate over
this date and the ‘celebration’ by a large majority of Australians is an
affront to our First Nations peoples, and given it has no real basis in
historical fact or tradition, there is strong support for a change to be made.

Marlee’s response
outlines her own feelings about the history of her peoples, and the continuing
resistance to a simple plea to change the date. (How pleasing it was to see the
major chains forego stocking ‘Australia Day’ paraphernalia this year!)

Marlee’s words are simple but eloquent and powerful, and
combined with (Yamatji man
Rhys’ stunning artwork make this a book that demands to be
shared, not just in conjunction with 26th January but at any point to
incorporate those cross-cultural perspectives and to promote better

For me the stand-out
is the whole package presentation – the layout it superb, the font striking,
and the choice of colour palette, moving away from what might be considered
traditional colours for First Nations art, is a complete game-changer.

Giving this my highest recommendation for an absolutely
fabulous start to this year’s First Nations kids lit.

For 60 000 Years
Author: Marlee Silva
Illustrator: Rhys Paddick
Publisher: Scholastic Australia, $26.99
Date of Publication: January 2024
ISBN: 9781760265274
Format: Hardcover
For Ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

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