Wednesday 29 November 2023

Walk with Us

Walk with Us by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy (Allen & Unwin) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781761065071

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

One evening, young Harvey recites an Acknowledgement of Country and sings a song in a traditional language. His mother reflects on the fact that she did not learn these things at school and it gives her an idea for an outing. The next day, Harvey and his mother go for a walk to their favourite park, but this time they explore a new bush track on a group walk led by Uncle Boris. Along the way, Uncle Boris imparts a wealth of knowledge about the land they live on. They learn about awakening the ancestors, traditional language, flora and fauna, traditional uses for shrubs and trees, and land management practices.

Walk with Us is highly recommended for an audience aged 4 years and older. It encourages readers to slow down, enjoy nature and acknowledge the land on which they live. The book invites readers on a ‘journey of learning and appreciation’ and to respect Country for all that it provides.

The full colour illustrations will appeal to a young audience, as will the challenge of spotting the pelican and black cockatoo that appear on most pages. The end papers include 15 spot illustrations and vignettes with corresponding labels in both English and the traditional language of the Cammeraygal people.

Walk with Us is the fourth picture book in the Welcome to Our Country series. Other books in the series include: Somebody’s Land, Ceremony, and Back on Country. Walk with Us is inspired by the Uluru Statement from the Heart (a proposal for constitutional change and substantive recognition for First Nations peoples in Australian history). The title of this book is a further nod to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, as the phrase ‘walk with us’ appears in the final sentence of the document.

The Welcome to Our Country series should be an essential inclusion in every primary school library across Australia. The narratives are informative, entertaining, and thought-provoking and a perfect fit for the Australian Curriculum’s ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures’ cross-curriculum priority.

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