Australian Kids through the Years
NLA Publishing, 2015
56pp. hbk., RRP $A24.99
“For tens of thousands of years, our first people lived in harmony with the land. When Europeans arrived in the late 1700s, things changed forever. Now, children of many cultures and backgrounds are born in Australia or come here and make it their home. The way Australian kids live – the things they do and wear, the food they eat, the books they read and the games they play – have changed over time. Come on a journey through the years with our Australian kids.”
In this exquisite book by Tania McCartney and Andrew Joyner, middle and upper primary students are given an overview of Australian history through the children who lived it. Starting with Kiah who lives on the land with her clan gathering plants and moving with the seasons, through to Meg who is the daughter of a convict, Chi who lives in a tent on the goldfields all the way through to Isabella and Jackson, children of today, we learn about the unique aspects of life through the ages through “simple” text and double-page spreads of drawings with each element labelled to make it explicit. Each spread also has text boxes about what was eaten, played, read and watched by the children of the time.
In addition, there are extra pages that show the illustrations held in the National Library of Australia that inspired the drawings and the text as well as information about the paintings themselves, all of which can be accessed through the NLA”s catalog.
The Humanities and Social Sciences strand of the Australian Curriculum (v8.1) for Year 2 “extends contexts for study beyond the personal to the community and to near and distant places that students are familiar with or aware of, exploring connections between the past and present and between people and places.” Students go beyond their immediate families and experiences to begin developing the concept of history and how the lives of people have changed over time;how they are both similar and different to people in the past and how they are connected to places near and far. This is the perfect book to support this and could be effectively accompanied by the This House series of Learning Objects accessible through Scootle
It is ideal not only for the information it contains in its text, pictures and layout but also because of its origins in those paintings which fits the investigation of “How has technology affected daily life over time and the connections between people in different places?” Will people of the future rely on paintings to know what our life was like? If everything today is recorded in digital format, how will this be accessed when technology moves ever onward? Has this sort of progression already happened? What is the role of print and tangible objects in preserving and passing on our stories?
A must-have in multiple copies in my opinion.