Tag Archives: Ellie Laing

Back on Country – Adam Goodes/Ellie Laing. Illustrated by David Hardy

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Allen & Unwin

November 2022

Imprint: A&U Children

ISBN: 9781761065088

RRP: $24.99

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.

Ceremony: Welcome to Our Country – Adam Goodes & Ellie Laing. Illustrated by David Hardy.

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Allen & Unwin

April 2022

ISBN: 9781761065064

RRP: $24.99

Oh David Hardy, you have excelled yourself!

I think we have all been eagerly anticipating the next title in this Welcome to Our Country series, the joyful introduction to First Nations history for younger readers, especially given the triumph of the first title Somebody’s Land. For me, this new addition surpasses that first, with not only another superb text which perfectly expresses the meaning and importance of Ceremony for our Aboriginal people but with David’s illustrations which just completely win me over. Frankly, they always do but the utter expressiveness and joyous delight in the faces of the book’s characters is just sensational!  The gorgeous artwork also depicts traditional landscapes and the native wildlife which would have surrounded those living on Country and little readers will love spotting and naming these.

Welcome, children!
Nangga! Nangga! Yakarti!
Tonight will be our Ceremony.

This is about family, tradition, Country and culture and for non-Aboriginal children provides a deceptively simple and vivid insight into the history of the world’s oldest continuous culture. I particularly love those words from Adam’s language group, the Adnyamthanha, featured throughout, with the bonus of a visual glossary via the glorious endpapers (yes, that’s me – always obsessed with endpapers!). Additionally, a QR code allows readers to listen to the story and hear the words for themselves – what an absolutely fabulous idea! 

Once again, a rhythmic rhyming text will have your little ones chanting along with you at every reading and, no doubt, they will be up on their feet ready to ‘shake a leg’ themselves.  In my opinion, these are simply a must for your collection – home, library or classroom – as we are all ready to move our great country closer towards a true conciliation between all our people. This year with the upcoming CBCA Book Week theme along with a terrifically powerful NAIDOC theme, is the prime time to be curating your collection of First Nations kid lit.  I not only highly recommend them for your readers from early childhood upwards but strongly urge you to rush out and add them to your catalogue.