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

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Review: Sorry Day

Sorry Day is a very important picture book.

It's heartbreaking, powerful and unforgettable.

It's a picture book everyone needs to read, no matter their age.

Set at the public apology of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to Australia’s Stolen Generations, two stories intertwine as young Maggie waits with her mother for the speech to begin, and the story of the Stolen Generations is in the thoughts of the crowd, revealed on alternate page spreads.

Within the growing gathering at Parliament House, Maggie loses sight of her mother. She panics, afraid, and searches frantically amongst the people. In our not-so-distant past, Indigenous children run and hide as the white men come to take them from their families. Maggie finds her mother again, but the young children hiding in the bushes and the mud are taken away.

The text in this picture book is goose-bump inducing. Each paragraph travels deep into your heart. Each sentence makes you think, makes you remember, makes you feel. 

The land wailed as the children were herded one by one into the back of the truck. Then it sped off, leaving behind only billowing dust.

Vass does not shy away from the truth in Sorry Day, which is what makes this book so powerful. It will affect every reader, every listener, but the book has been written with young children in mind, so the story is easy for kids to understand. 

‘We say sorry!’ said the man.
Maggie’s mother wiped her tears.
‘To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters… we say sorry.’

Dub Leffler’s work is simply stunning. With beautiful earthy tones, and vivid life-like illustrations, the characters come alive on the page in the most powerful way. They are images you will not soon forget. 

The whole book is one you will not soon forget.

I imagine children will want to ask questions after hearing this story, but Sorry Day provides all the answers, so you need not fear post-reading discussions. At the back of the book, photographs of the speech at Parliament House have been included, along with facts about the Stolen Generations and the events that led to the national apology.

It can be hard to think about the bad things that have happened in our past, but it is also very important that we remember. Sorry Day will help everyone (young and old) to understand the truth about the Stolen Generations and why it is so important we all participate in National Sorry Day on May 26.

Title: Sorry Day
Author: Coral Vass
Illustrator: Dub Leffler
Publisher: NLA Publishing, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 May 2018
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9780642279033
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book