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Growing Up ... in Australia

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia

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What is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia?

This anthology, compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, showcases many diverse voices, experiences and stories in order to answer that question. Accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities sit alongside those from newly discovered writers of all ages. All of the contributors speak from the heart sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect.

311 pages, Paperback

First published April 16, 2018

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About the author

Anita Heiss

40 books432 followers
Professor Anita Heiss – bio

Anita is a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, and is one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors, publishing across genres, including non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial fiction and children’s novels.

Her adult fiction includes Not Meeting Mr Right, Avoiding Mr Right, Manhattan Dreaming, Paris Dreaming and Tiddas. Her most recent books include Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms which was longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Prize and was named the University of Canberra’s 2020 Book of the Year.

The anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia which Anita edited, was named the Small Publisher Adult Book of the Year at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards.

Anita’s children’s literature includes Kicking Goals with Goodesy and Magic, co-written with Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin. She also wrote two kids’ novels with students from La Perouse Public School - Yirra and her deadly dog Demon and Demon Guards the School Yard, and more recently, Harry’s Secret and Matty’s Comeback.

Anita’s other published works also include the historical novel Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937, non-fiction text Dhuuluu-Yala (To Talk Straight) – Publishing Aboriginal Literature, and The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature, which she co-authored with Peter Minter.

In 2004 Anita was listed in The Bulletin magazine’s “Smart 100”. Her memoir Am I Black Enough for You? was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and she was a finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards (Local Hero).

As an advocate for Indigenous literacy, Anita has worked in remote communities as a role model and encouraging young Indigenous Australians to write their own stories. On an international level she has performed her own work and lectured on Aboriginal literature across the globe at universities and conferences, consulates and embassies in the USA, Canada, the UK, Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany and New Zealand.

Anita is proud to be a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and an Ambassador of Worawa Aboriginal College, the GO Foundation and the Sydney Swans.

She is on the Board of the State Library of Queensland, CIRCA and the University of QLD Press. In 2019 Anita was appointed a Professor of Communications at the University of QLD and in 2020 is the Artist in Residence at La Boitte Theatre.

Anita’s website: www.anitaheiss.com
Storytime with Aunty Nita: https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/lib...

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5 stars
1,535 (47%)
4 stars
1,230 (38%)
3 stars
383 (11%)
2 stars
49 (1%)
1 star
15 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 381 reviews
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,353 reviews124 followers
January 31, 2021
Popsugar Challenge 2021 - A Book by an Indigenous Author

' Im sorry I identify as Gungarri and Aboriginal.  I know you would prefer I added 'part', 'quarter' or some other quantifier to signify that I am less that full, to reinforce my lesser status, and as a reminder that my people are to be bred out'.

This is a collection of around 50 non fiction short stories documenting growing up Aboriginal in Australia. Every story is unique,  whether its the format its written in, the age of the author,  the area of Australia they live in but the common theme in these stories is the horror of the discrimination all these people face. Day in day out.

So many heartbreaking accounts of the Stolen Generations that has many consequences and ramifications today.

It took me a few weeks to make my way through these stories,  there's so much to absorb. 

Five stars to these brave people sharing their stories, undoing the white wash that is still taught today and spreading hope for a brighter, more inclusive future.
Profile Image for Jennifer (JC-S).
2,861 reviews198 followers
May 30, 2018
‘What is it like? What does it mean to grow up Aboriginal in Australia?’

I picked up this anthology, wondering how many different experiences it would contain. I wondered, too, whether there would be a generational difference, whether the experiences of younger people might be more positive. The answer to my first question is that this anthology contains more than 50 contributions, and each one is different. The answer to my second question is, sadly, no. Some young people may have experienced less discrimination and disadvantage, but others have not. Reading through these accounts, I’m made aware of some of the less obvious forms discrimination takes. It’s a difficult and at times confronting read.

Anita Heiss writes:

‘There is no single or simple way to define what it means to grow up Aboriginal in Australia, but this anthology is an attempt to showcase as many of the diverse voices, experiences and stories together as possible.’

Each contribution, each account of growing up Aboriginal in Australia is unique. The writers are of different ages, have different writing styles and approaches to addressing the question. I found Don Bemrose’s ‘Dear Australia’ essay thought-provoking, and was inspired by Evelyn Araluen’s statement: ‘We are the dream of our ancestors.’ I agree with Adam Goodes: ‘I believe in having a dream and setting goals to achieve it.’ And then, in Ambelin Kwaymullina’s contribution, I read: ‘People ask me sometimes if I experienced any racism when I was a kid. Questions like that always make me wonder where the other person is living.’ Clearly, there is (still) more than one Australia.
I am saddened to learn that one contributor, Alice Eather (born in 1988) took her own life in June 2017. Alice wrote: ‘there’s too much negativity said and written about Aboriginal people in communities.’ Sadly, Alice was right. What can we do to change this?

There are some many different accounts. Some contributors grew up with their families, others did not. Some grew up with immediate families, but away from their Country and away from extended family networks. Some grew up in cities. Some grew up knowing which mob they belonged to and speaking their language, others did not. It’s obvious that there is no singular experience of growing up Aboriginal. Yet it’s clear from these accounts that elements of Australian society have a preconceived idea of what Aboriginal people should be. And if an Aboriginal person does not fit into that stereotype, then it is the person who is questioned, not the stereotype. One of those stereotypes relates to judgements made on skin colour as the only determinant of whether a person is an Aboriginal.

There are so many different lives, many different identities in this anthology. Contributors include children, parents, musicians, sports stars, teachers and writers.
I found this anthology both heartbreaking and inspiring. I think that all Australians should read it.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
Profile Image for Michael Livingston.
795 reviews246 followers
May 3, 2018
This is such a necessary project - wonderful short insights into the lives of a diverse group of Aboriginal people. It's not a book you really sink into, but it's perfect for dipping into and reading a couple of sections at a time. It's bound to be a success, and will hopefully find its way into school curriculums and the like before long.
Profile Image for Jonathan O'Neill.
160 reviews322 followers
August 4, 2020
There are a large and diverse collection of perspectives on growing up aboriginal in Australia within these pages. Fifty, to be precise, ranging from school kids to sports stars to successful authors and damn near every possible representation in between. Each entry has something unique to offer in shedding any ignorance or systemically manufactured stereotypes that we as White Australians may have of our indigenous counterparts. Though all of the contributors have unique stories and ways in which they have dealt with hardship throughout their lives, there are a number of themes that tie the majority of them together and give this anthology a disorganised yet defined narrative.

The most prominent of these themes is a disconnect from their aboriginal heritage and a lifelong struggle to understand their identity and, unbelievably, be expected to defend it. These are both direct effects of a 232-year history of colonialism and attempted genocide under the guise of legitimate government policies, most notably, assimilation. Since colonisation, there has been a concerted effort by White Australia to write the first owners of this land as well as their language and culture out of the history books. Our school curriculums would suggest that Australia’s history began in 1788 with the arrival of the first fleet. Our national anthem professes that we are “Young and Free” but Deborah Cheetham wisely notes that we are far from young. We are home to the world’s oldest living civilisation (believed to go back as far as 60,000 years) and many of those individuals would feel less than free. The effects of insidious government policies have rippled through the generations and upon completing this book, it’s never been clearer to me that the policy of assimilation has been devastatingly effective.

Experiences shared in this collection include but are not limited to racism (predominantly from White Australians but also from darker indigenous), police brutality, unfair incarceration, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual abuse, homelessness, child abduction (I don’t care if it was “lawful” or not) and insidious methods of genocide.

Somehow, despite all of this and despite much being lost, Australian Aboriginal Culture lives on thanks to the commitment of community elders who pass on their traditions, their language, their knowledge, to the younger generations. These individual’s stories consistently show a strong natural connection to the land and a yearning to re-connect with the language, culture and spirituality of their ancestors.

The following is an excerpt from a poem titled ‘Yúya Karrabúra’ by Alice Eather who was a bilingual school teacher, activist, poet and leader. Sadly, she took her own life in June, 2017. I added a different excerpt in an earlier update but this was, for me, the most moving entry in the collection so I would like to share again. Alice’s poem confronts the reader with many harsh truths but ultimately is about identity and hope for the future.

Now I welcome you to sit beside my fire
I’m allowing you to digest my confusion
I will not point my finger and blame
Cause when we start blaming each other
We make no room for changing each other

We’ve got to keep this fire burning
With ash on our feet and coal in our hands
Teach Barra-ródjibba
All them young ones how to live side by side
Cause tomorrow when the sun rises
And our fires have gone quiet
They will be the ones to reignite it

Yúya Karrabúra (Fire is Burning)

- Alice Eather
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
Author 57 books563 followers
February 12, 2018
Excellent publishing, brilliant storytelling. The range and diversity of experiences on offer in this anthology is breathtaking. There are some common themes of course but each contributor offers something powerful and important. I’d love to attend an event where contributors read their stories.
37 reviews
July 2, 2020
Someone wrote that reading this felt a bit like eating vegetables in a sense and I couldn't agree more. This anthology compiled from an array of contributors provides a quick dip into the experiences and memories of what it was and is like as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian. The recurring theme of identity and connection to culture really resonated with me, especially as a second generation Chinese-Australian, but I cannot even begin to imagine the kind of identity crises many experienced in the face of blatant racism and in the aftermath of the stolen generations. It's terrifying and despairing stuff. A select few pieces were particularly resounding, however many were less engaging and I struggled getting through these bits. I would have preferred if the memoirs were fewer and longer, rather than just scratching the surface of quite a complex subject. Nevertheless, definitely interesting and important content everyone should read about.
Profile Image for K..
3,667 reviews1,006 followers
November 12, 2018
Trigger warnings: racism, racial slurs, discussion of the Stolen Generations, mentions of violence, mentions of suicide, mentions of alcohol abuse, mentions of domestic violence, mentions of child abuse, mentions of rape.

4.5 stars.

These books are so important and I love the fact that they include not only well known authors and well known celebrities, but utterly new voices. I love that they cover a whole range of generations and places in Australia and experiences. Some of the authors grew up with a big Aboriginal community around them, while for others it was seen more as their family's secret shame and it wasn't until they reached adulthood that they learnt of their Aboriginal heritage.

Literally my only complaint here is that a) there are 50 stories here which is many, and b) the stories are in alphabetical order by author and that meant that sometimes you'd get several stories in a row that were quite similar or several in a row from established authors and then several in a row from new voices and the change in the writing could be somewhat jarring. Although I have no suggestions about ways to sort them that would get around this, so just ignore me and my minor gripes!
Profile Image for Linda.
Author 26 books147 followers
April 12, 2018
Ought to be on every syllabus in Australia.
Profile Image for _prose_before_hoes_.
77 reviews11 followers
April 1, 2021
I’m going to stop rating non fiction books because I honestly don’t feel comfortable giving a number to someone else’s life experiences. So that’s why this has no rating.

But this is an IMPORTANT read that everyone in Australia would benefit from. Will definitely be picking up more books by Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders!

This book was amazing! I loved that I was able to hear from such a diverse group of people on their experiences growing up aboriginal in Australia. I also really learned a lot of the history, diversity and culture of aboriginal Australians and am so grateful that they have taken the time to share their personal experiences.

Definitely a MUST read for all Australians!
Profile Image for Samantha.
176 reviews75 followers
March 5, 2022
This is such necessary reading for every Australian, and just everyone in general. I feel it’s also an important read that should be done in schools.
This is a collection of essays from First Nations people, retelling their encounters and memories of growing up Aboriginal in Australia and even they themselves learning about their own family and ancestral backgrounds.
It was so interesting, and sometimes hard to read, especially those talking about their family members being apart of the stolen generation, as well the racism that was brought upon them on a daily basis. Most of them encountering some sort of racism and casual racism at such early stages of their life. It’s heartbreaking and something that is still so profound in Australia as we speak.
The essays were insightful and they painted a picture for myself, as someone who isn’t Indigenous, in what growing up Aboriginal in Australia was like. I learnt so much.
The reason it wasn’t a full five stars was that some essays blended together, and I felt the book could’ve benefited more if there were lesser and maybe longer essays.
Other than that, it’s definitely an important read that most people should read, just to get a greater understanding and to learn more about the people who were first here on the land we now call Australia.
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
May 19, 2018
Torres Strait Islander and Indigenous Australians share a tumultuous history of colonisation, genocide and displacement from their land. European settlement by Great Britain has resulted in intergenerational trauma, associated violence and the trauma of the removal of Indigenous children from communities. Although Indigenous communities continue to experience displacement and injustice, the Indigenous identity is also celebrated. Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia reiterates that there is no singular Indigenous experience and shares the voices of our traditional land owners with compassion, consideration and celebration.

Ambelin Kwaymullina
Ambelin tells the narrative of growing up of the Palyku community of the Pilbara region of Western Australia among the purple hills, red earth and blue sky. A breathtaking and unforgiving landscape. Ambelin describes the prejudice of vintage Australia as unrelenting and although Australia is an evolving landscape of diversity, we must recognise privilege, reiterating the continuing barricades placed upon Indigenous Australians and the optimism of future generations to challenge society and the bias created and carried by colonialism.

Tara June Winch
Tara is a prolific Wiradjuri Indigenous Australian author, raised in saltwater country, her narrative of feeling displaced and realising her journey within her community as an individual. Using the Corroboree as a metaphor of Indigenous Australia, the sense of identity is often misplaced within the wider, white community. Being from the world and of the world. Her optimism for her own daughter prevalent and she shares the experience of three generations of Indigenous women. Inspirational reading.

Vale Alice Eather
Alice Eather was a beautiful spirit, a prominent Arnhem Land Indigenous community leader and activist. Plagued by anxiety and depression, a life taken too soon. Her contribution of Yúya Karrabúrra is exquisite. Her forefathers convicts on board the second fleet, her mother a Wúrnal woman and Alice, a child of the between finding her identity.
Now I welcome you to sit by my fire
I'm allowing you to digest my confusion
I will not point my finger and blame
Cause when we start blaming each other
We make no room for changing each other

Anita Heiss
Doctor Anita Heiss is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, an accomplished and esteemed author of Indigenous literature. Throughout the introduction, Anita shares her experience of Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, the consideration of each submission and experiencing moments of interconnection and reflection. Igniting, uniting and inspiring reading.

I have been involved in early childhood Indigenous education through Indigenous advancement and children's leagues in Victoria, with an emphasis on the celebration of heritage alongside Victoria's most accomplished Indigenous educators. I'm Caucasian Australian of Irish heritage and through recognition my own privilege, it's imperative for non Indigenous readers to be reminded that support and compassion cannot replicate the experiences of Indigenous Australians. Compassion is not a substitute for the trauma and prejudice Indigenous communities continue to endure. We must condemn and challenge microaggressions and uplift Indigenous voices.

With contributions by Tony Birch, Deborah Cheetham, Adam Goodes, Terri Janke, Patrick Johnson, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Jack Latimore, Celeste Liddle, Amy McQuire, Kerry Reed Gilbert, Miranda Tapsell, Jared Thomas, Aileen Walsh, Alexis West, Tara June Winch, and many more, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia is ground breaking, inspirational and essential reading.
Profile Image for Ali.
1,289 reviews106 followers
July 8, 2018
It's weird giving this a star rating, because it is quite simply a book every Australian should read. I assumed going in it would be a collection of a dozen or so literary memoirs, but instead Heiss has put together 50 memoirs, written by a wide variety of people with a variety of approaches, skills, and, of course, motivations for writing. The selections are arranged alphabetically, with no intro, emphasising the voices of the writers, and hence, the diversity and directness of the material.
I quickly realised that this wasn't going to work best as a all-in-one read, and slowed down, reading one entry at night, and one each morning. They are mostly very short, so this is easily doable, and stopped the issue of different voices starting to meld together.
There is an expected variety of experiences - with a large mix of ages meaning coverage of different eras, a lot of geographic balance, and also the diversity of experience between those whose skin and features immediately identify their Aboriginality, and those where it does not: one insight the book gives is the ways that racism shapes these experiences differently at times.
As you would expect, some of the stories resonate more than others. My main criticism was that the bios were listed at the end of the book and varied in format a great deal, making it harder for me to follow up on writers I wanted to read more from (I did discover Tara Jane Winch, whose book I devoured in a single sitting yesterday and is one of the best things I've read this year). It is also a book that relies on the reader pacing themselves: the lack of structure works, I think, but only if the reader is patient enough to pause.
Profile Image for Joel D.
266 reviews
January 17, 2018
This is a powerful and eye-opening book and I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to hear more perspectives on growing up Aboriginal in Australia. The book contains lots of short pieces, many about two or three pages, from a huge range of people - some who are public figures and recognisable, others who might be relatively unknown, or younger. It's the breadth of perspectives, but also the mix of shared and unique experiences, that makes this so worthwhile.

The main weakness of the anthology is that the pieces are simply listed in alphabetical order. I feel that the book would be stronger if they were ordered more deliberately, or say, thematically, but to some extent this choice also allows each story to speak for itself.

And one caveat for non-Aboriginal readers: be wary of presuming that this book is a substitute for experience, or means that you 'know' what it's like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia. Be grateful for what they book can teach you, but also recognise its, and your own, limitations.
302 reviews16 followers
July 6, 2018
An exceptional collection.

With over 50 contributions in a range of writing styles, Growing Up Aboriginal shows the great depth of variety in Indigenous experiences across geography and generations.as well as an interesting range of writing styles.
I don't consider myself able to 'review' books that are people's experiences so I will just say this collection is both heartbreaking and hopeful. I am grateful for the contributors' generosity in sharing their stories and I hope that many people read this.
Profile Image for Tilda.
285 reviews
June 28, 2018
Incredibly important read for all Australians. It's worth reading only a few at a time to avoid diluting their individual impact, as there are strong common themes that run throughout. Key things that stood out to me was how damaging colourism is, how little mainstream Australia knows about our First Peoples and ugh how awful school (especially history) is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I'm grateful to the contributors who shared their stories.
102 reviews10 followers
January 19, 2021
It is hard for me to even review this book, because this book was not meant to be enjoyable or intriguing per se. Rather, it should be thought of as a compulsory read for all white people, in order to educate us on our own guilt, how to avoid the perpetuation of stereotypes of indigenous peoples, and by doing that, make us there allies. Hence, I’d particularly recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves interacting with indigenous people, or who wants to get a deeper view of their lives and the everyday trauma that they have to live with.
Profile Image for Nancy.
932 reviews38 followers
December 20, 2018

Finished: 20.12.2018
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: B+

All these stories are important.
People are being very honest and telling us
what makes them be who they are.
I took something from all these selections
...but most of all I loved Marlee Silva.
Her father used a great analogy to explain to his young daughter
what it means to be a product of two cultures.
Her father poured two cups of black coffee
...adds creamer to one of them.
"..no matter how much milk you add: they'll never not be coffee."
Marlee uses this image as a shield to this day.
This book was an eye-opening education about
growing up Aboriginal in Australia.

March 22, 2021
As I was reading this book, and again when I finished it, I read what other people had written in their reviews.

Important. Diverse. Should be mandatory reading. Brilliant. Powerful. Remarkable. Necessary. All of these words were used in reviews, and I would agree with using them in reference to this book.

I would also add heart breaking, up lifting, informative, angry making, and hopeful.

The words in this book tell part of the life story of each writer. They often include stories of parents, aunties and uncles, grand and great grandparents, and where their families are from.

Each story is different. Each story has common threads.

Stolen generations, abuse, and bigotry are common themes.

So too is discovery of self, of family, of culture, of country.

Empowerment, pride, and recognition are also threads running through these stories.

And some stories speak of hope. Hope for a time where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children hear nothing but acceptance, pride, and celebration for who they are. A time that should come, might come. Maybe.

Maybe if more people walk in the shoes of these authors, then go on to read more stories, and talk with and listen to the people whose lives ARE these stories, this will happen sooner.
Profile Image for Kris McCracken.
1,497 reviews35 followers
January 8, 2021
It is hard to directly compare a book such as this with works of literature, as collections of essays penned by a wide range of contributors (most of whom are not writers) are by their very nature uneven.

That said, this is an affecting compilation of experiences of Australian Aboriginals: male and female, young and old, straight and gay, rich and poor (and everything in between). It can be hard going at points, and I must say it is a blunt reminder of the casual, everyday racism face by far too many in Australia.

While I wasn't surprised at some of the tales, I was disheartened to hear that the experiences of some of the younger contributors were as appalling as those I grew up with. For example, I had hoped that the continued offhanded (to the point of ubiquitous) use of "abo" in daily life had disappeared by now. Seems not.

While not quite the thing to read back-to-back-to-back, I'd love to see people dipping in to essays now and again. It would be a great resource for schools or services looking to help their staff understand the impact of their unconscious (or not) bias.
Profile Image for Ellen McMahon.
397 reviews7 followers
June 15, 2020
An absolutely remarkable collection. I bought the book and also the audiobook edition. The writing is powerful and at times incredibly poignant. but it's just as often funny, heartwarming and completely endearing. The audiobook was wonderful, I would highly recommend this edition as hearing these stories read aloud adds a depth that can't be underestimated.
Each voice and experience is unique, yet there is an unspoken magic, a common joy, a shared pain, that seamlessly connects them all. It's a treasure that each contributor has been so open and so generous in sharing their innermost thoughts and experiences. I feel that every Australian should read (or listen to) this book.
Profile Image for Lisa.
3,309 reviews417 followers
July 21, 2018
There is much to learn from this anthology, but if there’s one thing that stands out it’s the diversity of Aboriginal experience. The 50 contributors include voices from everywhere, and editor Anita Heiss pays tribute to the land first of all:
The stories cover country from Nukunu to Noogar, Wiradjuri to Western Errernte, Ku Ku Yalinji to Kunibídji, Gunditjamara to Gumbaynggirr and many places in between.
Experiences span coastal and desert regions, cities and remote communities, and all of them speak to the heart. (p.1)
These life stories comes from
… all around the country, including from boarding schools and even inside prison; and from schoolchildren, university students and grandparents. We also have recollections of growing up Aboriginal in Australia by opera singers, actors, journalists, academics and activists. In many ways this anthology will also serve to demonstrate how we contribute to, and participate in, many varied aspects of society every day. (p.2)
There are voices that I know because I’ve read their writing:
Tony Birch, an award-winning novelist and short story writer;
Terri Janke (who operates an Indigenous owned law firm but also wrote the first Indigenous novel I ever read, Butterfly Song;
Ambelin Kwaymullina (whose novel The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf I reviewed for #IndigLitWeek);
Celeste Liddle (whose Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist I read online);
Jared Thomas who writes the kind of YA novels that adults like to read too;
Tara June Winch, an award-winning novelist and short story and of course
editor and author, Anita Heiss herself.
There are also famous names from other spheres of influence: Deborah Cheetham; Adam Goodes; and Miranda Tapsell – but when I turn to the back of the book I discover that all the contributors are doing awe-inspiring things with their lives, even 13-year-old Taryn Little, who knows that her ancestors would be proud of her, that her grandmother would have loved all her hard work and effort, that she is a strong young woman and that she makes her family proud.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/07/21/g...
Profile Image for Charlotte (readwithchar).
141 reviews54 followers
February 8, 2019
(Advanced) An own voices book ✔
4.5 stars
This was a very enlightening and important read that all australians should read. It gives a glimpse into the lived experiences of aboriginal and torres strait islander people in growing up and experiencing racism - every-day and systematic, the impact of colonisation and the stolen generations.
Profile Image for Ashleigh.
221 reviews
December 16, 2022
If you would like to learn more about the challenges and feelings of Aboriginal people beyond the stereotypes I recommend this book.

What I loved & related to:

♥ Two Tiddas - Susie & Alice Anderson ♥
😁 Dear Australia - Don Bemrose 😁
♥ I Remember - John Hartley ♥
♥ What It's Like - Keira Jenkins ♥
♥ Grey - Melanie Mununggurr-Williams ♥
♥ Life Lessons, or Something Like Them - Shahni Wellington ♥
♥ It's Too Hot - Alexis West ♥
♥ The Aboriginal Equation - Tamika Worrell ♥

Quotes that spoke to me:

. . . you don't get to tell me what it means to be Aboriginal. ~ Keira Jenkins

Profile Image for Bec.
938 reviews22 followers
January 26, 2021
I would like to pay my respects to the traditional custodians of this land and pay respects to the elders both past and present.

This amazing book was the winner of the small publisher adult book of the year award in 2019 and speaks for itself. I struggled finding where to begin reviewing this incredible book. Dr Anita Hiess has put together an array of wonderful, talented and incredibly humble people to recall their memories of growing up in Australia as an indigenous person and sadly for most the terrible injustices faced by themselves and their families.

Once I began reading I couldn’t stop, each of the 50 short stories so unique yet so powerful. I learnt so much about the stolen generations, the struggles with mainstream learning, double standards, physical and mental health struggles, land and sea spiritual connections, the love from their mobs, racism and above all the categorisation of being deemed as aboriginal and the perceptions that come along with it.

Contributors include @tony_birch_ , Deborah Cheetham, @adamroy37 , Terri Janke, Patrick Johnson, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Jack Latimore, @enigmatic_utopian, Amy McQuire, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Miranda Tapsell, Jared Thomas, Aileen Walsh, Alexis West, @tara_june_winch and many more.

I’m very honoured to have had the opportunity to pick this novel up. Would highly recommend this to educate and advocate. Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal Land.

“I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to realise but now it’s so obvious that underneath the invisible barriers and expectations we have constructed and placed on each other. We are all bothers and sister. We are all just pink flesh and bone.” @marlee.silva
Profile Image for Alison Mia.
428 reviews7 followers
January 31, 2022
This is an anthology of 50 short stories written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, reflecting on their lives, specific memories that defined or best described what it is like growing up Aboriginal in Australia. So many memorable and heart-renching stories of family, kinship, travelling, racism, schooling, and connection.
I specifically loved ‘Dear Australia’, a searing and totally snarky letter to White Australia. So many similar themes throughout the stories, like being constantly asked what “percentage” they are, a horrific remnant of the white Australia policy and the stolen generation.
It is so important to read varied experiences of this land’s First Peoples, and to constantly challenge and denounce racism in this country.
Profile Image for ✨ Aaron Jeffery ✨.
525 reviews17 followers
January 26, 2023
a really important collection but i think it would have been a lot better if a few more diverse stories were told rather than just all these 4 page essays scratching the surface
learnt a lot from this collection and I will most certainly be reading more Indigenous Australian texts
Profile Image for Ashley.
Author 20 books94 followers
July 20, 2022
Loved hearing different stories by Aboriginal authors! I didn’t realize their struggle is often like the Black American struggle. Also, learned that they’re the oldest living civilization! Wow!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 381 reviews

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