Growing up Aboriginal in Australia (ed by Anita Heiss, Black Inc.)
Growing up Aboriginal in Australia is a new anthology compiled by Anita Heiss that asks Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributors to share what ‘Growing up Aboriginal’ means to them. Through poetry and nonfiction prose, each of the 52 contributions invites readers into the writer’s past to better understand their aspirations for the future. The line-up features well-known authors, performers, sportspeople, academics, students and emerging writers, and some of the more recognisable drawcards include Tony Birch, Deborah Cheetham, Adam Goodes and Miranda Tapsell. This collection represents a broad range of experiences, but common threads are woven through each story. They speak of growing up surrounded by community, on Country, or removed from kin. And they speak of learning to overcome barriers such as racism through pride in their identity and cultures. The release of this book is timely as there is a growing interest in Indigenous cultures and histories told from own-voices perspectives. With bite-sized contributions that follow a similar format to its sister volume, Growing up Asian in Australia, this anthology will appeal to a broad audience of occasional and avid readers. The publisher’s decision to include teachers’ notes shows forward-thinking, as it is easy to see this book being selected for high-school reading lists in the future.
Karen Wyld is a writer and former bookseller