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

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Review: For 60 000 Years

I am the first to say we are privileged to live in Australia, and I am grateful to have been born here.

There is so much for which to be grateful, but there are also times I am ashamed of our national behaviour and attitudes (there will be more on this in a review coming up in the next few weeks). 

Especially, given I am the mother and grandmother of Wiradjuri offspring, the national attitude towards our First Nations peoples is not only a disgrace, but shows no signs of improvement.

The result of last year's referendum marked us as racist and backward in the eyes of civilised world countries, and was, for my family, a cause for grief and many tears.

Marlee Silva is a Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman; podcaster, media personality of TV and radio, and best-selling author, who was moved to write this poetic response to her feelings on January 26th. The ongoing debate over this date and the 'celebration' by a large majority of Australians is an affront to our First Nations peoples, and given it has no real basis in historical fact or tradition, there is strong support for a change to be made.

Marlee's response outlines her own feelings about the history of her peoples, and the continuing resistance to a simple plea to change the date. (How pleasing it was to see the major chains forego stocking 'Australia Day' paraphernalia this year!).

Marlee's words are simple but eloquent and powerful, and combined with (Yamatji man) Rhys' stunning artwork make this a book that demands to be shared, not just in conjunction with 26th January but at any point to incorporate those cross-cultural perspectives and to promote better understanding.

For me the stand-out is the whole package presentation - the layout it superb, the font striking, and the choice of colour palette, moving away from what might be considered traditional colours for First Nations art, is a complete game-changer.

Giving this my highest recommendation for an absolutely fabulous start to this year's First Nations kids lit.

For 60 000 Years
Author: Marlee Silva
Illustrator: Rhys Paddick
Publisher: Scholastic Australia, $26.99
Date of Publication: January 2024
ISBN: 9781760265274
Format: Hardcover
For Ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book