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
weeks). 

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
understanding.

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.


Title:
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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