Close your eyes. Think about all the things that say ‘Australia’ to you – the sights, sounds, events, places, activities and celebrations. How about the Sydney City to Surf marathon or the Henley-on-Todd regatta in the Northern Territory? What about book week character costumes, tomato sauce on meat pies, football season, Reconciliation Day, pavlova, swinging on the clothesline, and breakfast in bed for Mum on Mother’s Day?
KBR’s own Tania McCartney and Brisbane-based illustrator Tina Snerling have created a snapshot of the lives of Aussie kids in this wonderful picture book. An Aussie Year: Twelve Months in the Lives of Australian Kids captures the diversity of Australian culture and experiences while also celebrating how much we have in common.
As you flick through the pages, moving through the year from January to December, the text and illustrations will spark all sorts of memories in both children and adults. From Australian wildlife and weather to food, national holidays and random moments from everyday life, this book offers a patchwork of images that really captures the experience of growing up in Australia.
I tend to avoid most ‘Australiana’ style picture books as all too often they feature clichéd images and concepts that have no connection with the reality of everyday life for most Australians. With such a diversity of climate, lifestyle and cultural experiences within the one country, few books manage to really represent an Australia that many of us feel a personal connection with. An Aussie Year manages to avoid the Australian stereotypes and instead offers a really lovely summary of the things that will form the basis of the memories our Aussie kids will have of their childhood.
I plan to buy a copy of this picture book for each of my children, putting it away with various other mementoes so that they can look through it in years to come and read through words and pictures that I know will prompt them to remember moments from their own younger years. I can see the book being used in classrooms as part of lessons that encourage children to learn about our cultural diversity as well as a great writing prompt for students to create their own collection of words and images that represent their personal Aussie year.
Of course, An Aussie Year is also a lovely book to read with young children now. I know that they will find lots of things they recognise and they might also come across a few new events and activities that you can investigate together.
As part of our Children’s Week celebrations, we have launched a month-long An Aussie Year giveaway. We have some wonderful An Aussie Year pictures for you to print out and colour for the chance to win a copy of this gorgeous picture book. You can find more details about the giveaway here.
You can also join Tania on her An Aussie Year virtual book tour. The tour schedule is available at Tania’s website here.
Title: An Aussie Year
Author: Tania McCartney
Illustrator: Tina Snerling
Publisher: EK Publishing, $19.99 RRP
Publication Date: October 2013
For ages: 3-11
Type: Picture Book