We Are Australians written by Duncan Smith and Nicole Godwin with paintings by Jandamarra Cadd and published by Wild Dog Books is an absolutely stunning picture book. The utterly moving, poetic and emotive text coupled with sublime illustrations provoked a visceral reaction for me. I had goosebumps while reading this breathtaking book.

This is a story about what it means to be Australian and the significance associated with this. Being Australian means being part of a diverse community, made up of individuals from all around the globe, whether this be people who have recently arrived in Australia, or First Nations people who have lived here for over 65000 years.

As citizens of Australia we have rights and responsibilities. Furthermore, we have a unique privilege – the knowledge and wisdom from the oldest continuing culture on earth, the First Nations People who have lived peacefully and sustainably on Country for tens of thousands of years. It is our responsibility to learn about our history, for all Australians to acknowledge and respect the past, seek the truth and to connect with First Nations People, learn from the wealth of knowledge and experience the First Nations People possess.

This story contains a call to action to be proactive in connecting with First Nations People, listen to  stories that have been passed down, hear the points of view, embrace first languages and connect to Country. 

The spectacular illustrations by Jandamarra Cadd combine traditional Aboriginal art techniques with contemporary elements to create such striking images. The bold colours illuminate the pages and contain wondrous eye-catching details. They deftly capture the vibrancy and richness of the diverse Australian community as well as celebrate First Nations People’s culture highlighting a strong connection to community and Country.

At the back of the book is a “Citizens of Australia Timeline” on a double page spread and begins 65000 years ago to 2021.

This book inspires readers to deeply reflect and consider their responsibilities as well as actions as citizens of the Australian community. It encourages readers to contemplate ways to stand together with fellow Australians. It highlights the importance of honouring the rich history and culture of First Nations People and learn from them, connect with them, hear their voices and learn about Australia’s true history.

Buy We Are Australians from Riley Callie Resources here.

By purchasing through the Reading Opens Doors blog, you are supporting Debbie Hoger, a Dunghutti woman and founder of Riley Callie Resources as well as Reading Opens Doors, as I receive a small commission for any transactions made. Thank you so much for supporting our businesses.

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