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

Monday 30 May 2011

Review: Playground

A stunning collection of facts and real-life stories, this book provides a voice for dozens of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to tell their stories.

“In traditional time, kids didn’t have to set off from home in the morning in order to go to school. The whole country was a vast outdoor classroom, which contained everything that the First Children needed to know. The land was also their playground.”

Playground provides a resource for children, young adults and adults to learn more about different ways of life. Compiled in an easy-to-read and beautifully designed format, these stories take history to another level. No longer a bunch of facts and figures and dates to be memorised, we now have the privilege of an insight into the real lives of real people, past and present.

And the stories are fascinating. From the conception and birth of a new child, a sacred being,

Following life from 1900 to today, Playground features photographs and artwork that will take your breath away. We learn about life from different perspectives and from various language groups across the continent; through the greatest of times living on the land, to some of the toughest times imaginable as families are ripped apart.

We learn how children were raised, how food was obtained, the games kids played (I particularly love this section, showing the power of the imagination – dolls made from forked sticks and branches, for example), the responsibilities thrust upon growing shoulders, ancient traditions, and more. Much, much more.

Most importantly, we learn that despite so many differences, there is also a lot of common ground between now and then, and different backgrounds and upbringings.

An important book that everyone needs – yes, needs – to see and absorb.

Title: Playground
Compiled by: Nadia Wheatley
Illustrator: Ken Searle
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $39.99 RRP
Publication Date: 30 May 2011
ISBN: 9781742370972
Format: Hardcover
For ages: 10+
Type: Junior / YA non-fiction