Friday 25 October 2019

All of Us, A History of Southeast Asia

All of Us, A History of Southeast Asia by Jackie French and Virginia Hooker, illustrated by Mark Wilson (Angus & Robertson, an imprint of Harper Collins Children’s Books) HB RRP $29.99 ISBN 9781460750025 October, 2019

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

All of Us, A History of Southeast Asia is a non-fiction picture book that covers the history of the land masses of Southeast Asia. It is a very detailed and informative picture book that has been carefully and meticulously compiled about our mysterious Asian lands. I particularly like the fact that the book covers our part of the world from an Australian perspective, not a European one and that it celebrates the diversity of the different lands in Southeast Asia and their cultures and history. Australia is an interwoven part of southeast Asia and we are all connected.

The text is easy to follow, and the illustrations are simply stunning with the use of lots of lush greens and blues and browns of the lands. Each spread incorporates a striking illustration with a timeline and poetry that sings. Mark Wilson’s illustrations showcase and capture each land by bringing to life the lands, people, customs and the weather. They encourage the reader to explore the history and interconnection of us all. Wilson also brings in a geographical aspect to each land and its people. This picture book could easily be a coffee table book with its stunning illustrations by an award-winning illustrator. The paintwork and detail are second to none and the human face is captured so well.

The book’s 48 pages are appealing to both adults and children alike and will be a valuable resource for teachers as it can be used in a classroom to great effect. The book starts at 200,000,000 BC when Gondwanaland is one huge landmass in the southern hemisphere and then in sections it goes through one land at a time, with an era of its history and how it’s linked to all of us in Southeast Asia. We are all connected by the winds and tides that create our weather.

This picture book has much to offer any reader aged 8 years and over.

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