Another stunning addition to the Welcome to Our Country series from this fabulous team of creators. This is, undoubtedly, one of the most highly acclaimed resources for inclusive teaching of cross-cultural perspectives in the classroom and I have yet to see or hear anyone say otherwise.
Both Adam and David drew on their own childhood experiences of being taken on country to connect with land and family as their inspiration, and augmented this with specific research. The authenticity of both text and illustrations attest to the success of this.
When their Mum takes Lucy and David back on country there is so much for them to see and learn: meeting family, camping out under the amazing sky of stars that one only experiences outback, learning about welcome to country, the significance of fires, ancestors, stories, rock paintings and more.
The fabulous endpapers detail the language words used with their English equivalent and there’s a link and QR code at the end of the book to discover resources, a reading of the book and glossary – making it a perfect learning experience whether in the classroom, library or at home.
I know there are many who have been eagerly anticipating this next (#3) in the series and we know there are still two more to come – how exciting is that!? Don’t delay if you have not yet added these – they are an absolute MUST for your collection and highly recommended for little jarjums from Kindy to around Year 3.
There will be many who will welcome this beautiful book as a fitting addition to their multi-lingual collection, and, in particular, if Mandarin is a taught language in the school. However, it will be equally well-received by those who are looking to empower their youngsters with self-confidence and resolve.
It is all too easy as adults to project our fears and worries onto our children, not because we want frighten them but simply because of our natural urge to protect them. At times though, this can become like a suffocating blanket we wrap around kiddos, creating anxiety and insecurity. As educators, all of us will have experienced, no doubt countless times, the ‘helicopter’ parent who diminishes and thwarts their child at every turn.
Xiao Xin sees himself as a fearless Red Warrior. His family see him as a little boy incapable of taking care of himself or keeping himself safe. The subtleties in the illustrations as the adults’ worry monsters appear around the edges, the use of colour to emotively convey the feelings of the fretting adults and the bravado of the little boy and (once unpacked) the meaning of Xiao Xin’s and Fan Xin’s names combine to give this narrative a powerful depth which will provide fodder for much rich discussion. Some of this will be simply focused on the protective strategies of parents/adults and the self-belief that children may have but there is certainly a wonderful opportunity to compare the cultural norms and expectations around the freedoms of children to learn, take risks and become independent.
Alice Pung’s text is spare but evocative and Sher Rill Ng’s illustrations take this to a breathtaking level, which will both engage and move readers and the cleverness of that cover art – just wow!