Eight recent First Nations books for kids & teens


Welcome, Child! by Sally Morgan

This joyous board book welcomes babies to the world with elegantly simple text and beautiful pictures of birds, hearts, stars and flowers. Full of the unconditional love felt for a newborn child, this is a sweet read-aloud to share with little ones.

For ages 0 and up.


Main Abija My Grandad by Karen Rogers

With luscious artwork and a lyrical text in Kriol and English, celebrated Ngukurr artist Karen Rogers evokes the world of her childhood in South East Arnhem Land. Rogers recounts the close relationship she had with her stockman grandfather, from her childhood years fishing and swimming and hunting, to adulthood when she took her own daughter to spend time with him.

Main Abija My Grandad sings with love and memories. It’s a heartfelt tribute to a nurturing and generous grandfather, and it draws attention to the importance of passing on language, stories and cultural practices from generation to generation.

For ages 4 and up.


Day Break by Amy McQuire (illustrated by Matt Chun)

Released at the beginning of the year, Day Break is the story of a family making their way back to Country on January 26. We see the strength they draw from being together, and from sharing stories as they move through a shifting landscape. Written by journalist Amy McQuire, and focussing on Indigenous survival and resistance, this picture book opens up conversations on truth-telling for the next generation of kids.

For ages 4 and up.


Billie and the Blue Bike by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Billie wants the blue bike and asks her Mum to buy it for her - but her Mum doesn’t have any spare money. She asks Uncle Jack and he won’t give her the money either, but he will help by paying her to do chores so she can save up to buy the bike herself. Bright spark Billie is impatient though, and thinks of plenty of money-making schemes, none of which work out in the end. She eventually she goes back to Uncle Jack and saves the money in 10 weeks - and she is able to purchase the bike!

This fun and cheeky picture book is entertaining in its own right, but is also an excellent introduction to basic financial literacy knowledge, championing hard work and problem solving.

For ages 5 and up.


The Emu Who Ran Through the Sky by Helen Milroy

Lofty, a young emu desperately wants to win a big emu race, but he is slow and clumsy - and his first race ends in disaster! But, Lofty realises there is another way to win the race. He enlists the help of his Bush Mob friends Eagle, Sugar Glider and Bat - who are all excellent fliers - to teach him to fly. But it is Bush Mob’s inventor, Platypus, who designs the Feathery Paraglider that allows Lofty to win the day!

The second book in the excellent junior fiction series, Tales from the Bush Mob , this story emphasises teamwork, community and perseverance. I love the format of these books - the larger size, engaging full-colour illustrations and longer word length makes them the perfect hybrid of picture book and chapter book.

For ages 5 and up.


Common Wealth by Gregg Dreise

This unique picture book for older readers uses a powerful combination of slam poetry verse and vivid illustrations to explore the confronting truths of Australia’s history and the words of our national anthem.

Created by award-winning author and artist, Gregg Dreise, Common Wealth is a remarkable book that makes a persuasive plea for open dialogue, truth, human rights and striving for a unified future for Australia.

For ages 10 and up.


Tell Me Why for Young Adults by Archie Roach

In his inspirational memoir Archie Roach tells the story of his life and his music. Only two when he was forcibly removed from his family, and brought up by a series of foster parents until his early teens, Archie’s world imploded when he received a letter that spoke of a life he had no memory of. It took him almost a lifetime to find out who he really was.

This is a young adult edition of Roach’s award-winning memoir that includes extra materials: playlists, lyrics and the personal responses of First Nations Elders and young people, gathered during online workshops. Intimate and utterly compelling, Roach’s life story traces the enormous odds he overcomes and his experiences of family and community, love and heartbreak, survival and renewal.

For ages 12 and up.


The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough

It’s a hot summer, and life’s going all right for Jackson and his family on the Mish, even though Jackson has just broken up with his girlfriend. Like always, Jackson’s Aunty and cousins visit from Sydney, but this time they also bring Tomas, who has just spent time in juvenile detention. Jackson is expected to share his room and show Tomas around, and as the two boys grow closer, a tender relationship forms between them.

The Boy from the Mish is a pitch-perfect coming-of-age story set in a tight-knit community and family. Jackson’s battle with himself - his growing awareness of how he feels toward Tomas, and what it might mean to him, his friends and family - is described with honesty, heart and humour.

For ages 13 and up.

Leanne Hall is the children’s specialist for Readings online. She also writes books for children and young adults.

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The Boy from the Mish

The Boy from the Mish

Gary Lonesborough

$19.99Buy now

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