Saturday 1 September 2012

Blackfella Whitefella

Blackfella Whitefella Blackfella Whitefella by Neil Murray, illustrated by students from schools around Australia (One Day Hill)
PB RRP $19.99
ISBN 978-0-9807948-9-2
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Blackfella Whitefella is a picture book by Neil Murray and illustrated by students from all around Australia. It’s simple message - that we are all the same whatever our colour or race, and that it’s what’s in our hearts that matters - is one that should be shouted (and sung) many times over. It is a message that is passionately conveyed, important and relevant to all people, young and old. It makes us think about how we can make a difference, and help our children to embrace difference, to stand strong and to speaking out.

The words, originally written as lyrics, are rhythmic to read aloud, strong and accessible. The wonderful illustrations drawn by children help with this accessibility, allowing readers to identify with the sentiments expressed. The rich variety of these pictures emphasise the central message of diversity of people, that it takes all kinds to make a community. This book should appeal to children young and old, along with fans of Neil Murray and lovers of Australian song writers in general.

Blackfella Whitefella is the second of Neil Murray’s songs to be illustrated and released in picture book form. The first is his much loved My Island Home. One Day Hill has also published Paul Kelly’s From Little Things Big Things Grow as a picture book, illustrated by the kids from the Gurindjio Country and with painting by Peter Hudson. A percentage of the profits raised from the sale of this book will go to Ian Thorpe’s “Foundation for Youth” towards arts and literacy projects.

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