'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 17 March 2011

Review: My Place

I missed reading My Place the first time around, as it was published after I was reading picture books myself and before I was looking for books to read with my children. I’m so glad I came across this 20th anniversary edition, as this book is simply a perfect way of presenting Australia’s diverse multicultural history to children.

Starting in 1988 and moving backwards decade by decade to the year 1788, My Place is a story told by the children who live in one particular place in Sydney, with a different child telling the story for each decade. Each child shares part of their story – their family, culture, experiences and what is happening in their world.

They also include a map of their home and the surrounding area, with details changing over the years as the story moves from Sydney in the late 20th century back to the late 1700s and the arrival of the First Fleet.

The book begins with a timeline, starting with the claims of the indigenous inhabitants through to 1988, with two additions to the original story timeline made for 1998 (Mabo and Wik judgements) and 2008 (Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Sorry to the Aboriginal people).

This fascinating book is like a time capsule of the first 200 years of white settlement in Australia, demonstrating that the Australian community has been influenced by cultures from all around the globe. I found myself just as involved in the story as my children were. If you are looking for a way to introduce your primary school-aged children to Australia’s modern history, this book is a wonderful way to begin.

In 2010, the ABC produced a 13-part television series based on My Place. There is an accompanying book, Making My Place by Nadia Wheatley which features interviews with cast and crew and a selection of on-set photographs.

Title: My Place, 20th Anniversary Edition
Author: Nadia Wheatley
Illustrator: Donna Rawlins
Publisher: Walker Books, $19.95
Publication date: August 2008
Format: Soft cover
ISBN: 9781921150654
For ages: 7+
Type: Picture book