Ceremony: Welcome to Our Country by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing and illustrated by David Hardy is a story about the connection to Country and jubilation that a highly anticipated ceremony brings – one rich in traditions, culture and family. This is the second book in the Welcome to Our Country series, the first being Somebody’s Land.

At the beginning of this book there is information explaining that there are over 350 First Nations groups and each group has their own languages and customs. It states this story is about a traditional ceremony from Adam’s Country, the Adnyamathanha people of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. On this first page there is also a QR code to scan to listen to a reading of the story and glossary.

The endpapers feature illustrations to represent the Adnyamathanha words in this story; they serve as a visual glossary and also include the words written in English.

This story, told in four line rhyming stanzas, spans the entire day of the ceremony, from the morning when everyone rises with excited anticipation and happiness right through to the evening when a sense of contentment and connection is evident. The story begins with Adnyamathanha language and this is embedded throughout the book.

The children are the first to rise and are excited to wake their family because in the evening the Ceremony will take place. The bushland setting is green and serene teeming with lively animals. Preparations begin early on in the day as the fire burns to prepare the pit for the food. The females and males separate as each tend to their own jobs and roles. Everyone must then dress and have the ochre applied. David Hardy was meticulous in his research and this is evident in all of the illustrations, he was particular to ensure the Flinders Range scenery and environment was accurate as well as the face paintings and markings.

The ceremony begins with music and the males using the clapsticks, then the girls joyously perform traditional dances. The illustrations add an element of humour as they enrich the text with the children’s antics, light hearted cheekiness and utter delight. Elders tell stories, children listen around the fire. There is much laughter. Everyone shares a meal as the stars pepper the sky and the full moon glows. Stories told on this special day are tucked into everyone’s hearts for future sharing.

This series has been created to introduce children to First Nations history and does so in a highly engaging and informative way. This book would make an invaluable addition to any collection.

Buy Ceremony: Welcome to Our Country 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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