Heroes, Rebels and Innovators: Inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People from History by Karen Wyld and illustrated by Jaelyn Biumaiwai contains seven powerful and engaging stories about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women from the early contact era. Each story is told in two parts. The first is lyrical (written in verses, consisting of four lines per verse) and brings each story to life as it is an imagining of each person’s story (based on research) and the second part unpacks the factual information.
These are stories about courage, sharing Indigenous knowledge, resilience, tenacity, displays of human strength of mind and body, defying the odds through sheer determination, selflessness, innovators and inventiveness.
Karen Wyld mentions in the Author’s Notes at the back of the book that as well as consulting archival material she also liaised with communities and organisations to corroborate the sources. Any information that had a question of accuracy was not included. The research process was extensive and time consuming to honour the people in the book as well as people’s ancestors and communities.
The simplistic illustrations complement the stories and enable the reader to visualise each person’s actions and/or achievements and connect with each story.