This is the third book in the ‘Welcome to Our Country’ collection, a series of titles produced by Adam Goodes, Ellie Laing and David Hardy.
Lucy and David live in Australia and today they are going on a very special trip to see and learn about where their nanna comes from. The children are going Back on Country. There are cousins and elders to meet, special and important places to see, new words and phrases to learn and understand, stories to be told and memories to be made that will last a lifetime…
Nestled between burnt orange endpapers that double up as a glossary complete with illustrations and translations is a rich and rewarding story of a mother taking her children back to Country for the first time. Crammed with traditions, ancestors, heritage, culture and ceremonies, and filled with words from the Adnyamathanha language, Back on Country is a cracking family story about the importance and significance of connection to Country and places huge value on the importance of connecting with the people and places that define who we are.
It is based on Goodes’ and Hardy’s own experiences of being taken back on Country, I like to imagine that they got up to many of the things that the children experience. Sitting around the campfire and singing songs and sharing stories under starlit skies, exploring cave drawings, having their faces painted using the colours of the earth, exploring the land, camping out and enjoying food (I’ll take the toast and cereal over the goanna and witchetty grubs).
The front cover radiates joy, love and laughter and the illustrations inside do not disappoint. Full of warmth and colour, they are welcoming and full of good times - they are scenes that you just want to be a part of. I particularly fancy gazing up at the stars while Urbmarli Vapi strums his guitar.
Relevant and important, this fabulous story and the brilliant learning experience it provides will help support families with young children in talking about Australia’s First Nation’s history.
With huge thanks to Allen & Unwin and for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 4+.