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

Friday 11 March 2022

Review: We Are Australians

I am not exaggerating when I say this book is so incredibly beautiful…so moving, that I’ve just read it for the first time and have tears in my eyes. 

The grace and the poignancy of the text, combined with the [OMG!] divine illustrations, are utterly marvellous and emotive, and I cannot wait to share this with readers both young and old.

Certainly, Duncan and Nicole have composed a text which celebrates the rich heritage of First Nations people but it is more than that alone. It is a book which focuses on the true meaning of being Australian, whether one of the original traditional owners or one of the many newer citizens who have chosen this for their homeland. We all have rights and responsibilities, to our nation, and to our fellow Australians and this book will go so far in promoting and reinforcing this concept to our young people.

Jandamarra Cadd’s illustrations, featuring traditional First Australian techniques, are simply breathtaking, and I hope that at some point there will be an opportunity to see this incredible artwork as one collated exhibition. They are both vivid and vibrant and provide the perfect foil to a text that reinforces the contribution of many to our country’s long and important history and, especially, the richness of our First Australian culture and its impact on our entire population.  Many have been exhibited to great acclaim. (Just wait till you see Uncle Jack Charles! – just one of this wondrous array of artworks)

The statistics tell us that in 2020-21 more than 140,00 people from 200 countries were welcomed officially as Australian citizens, having sworn to not only uphold our laws but to accept the responsibilities and enjoy the privileges of being an Australian. Arguably, for many born here, this aspect of being a citizen is overlooked at times so given our recent turbulent times, perhaps it is even more timely to remind everyone of this sacred trust.

I suggest that this is not just a picture book for younger readers. It is a worthy and deserving text to be shared with your secondary students as well as adults. Certainly, I will be suggesting it as an important addition to any school community or library collection.

I can give this stunning creation no higher recommendation and I urge you all to purchase your own copy, for your school or your personal library, share its message and reflect upon its importance to our national psyche. 

Title: We Are Australians
Authors: Duncan Smith & Nicole Godwin
Illustrator: Jandamarra Cadd
Publisher: Wild Dog Books. $24.99
Date of Publication: April 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781742036328
For ages: 4 - Adult
Type: Picture Book