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Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,984 ratings  ·  266 reviews
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 some
Paperback, 311 pages
Published April 16th 2018 by Black Inc.
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Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, 
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘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 le
Michael Livingston
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jonathan O'Neill
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 whi ...more
M - The long hot spell
I want to say straight up that this should be mandatory reading for non-indigenous people in Australia. I learned so much from this collection of stories of growing up and life in Australia from Indigenous people all around the country.

There was as much variety in the experiences described as there was similarity. Common threads were having to deal with racism with frightening results such as anger, pain, stolen generations, and attempted murder. Sadly common too was the problem of not being whi
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
Karen Liang
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 man ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ought to be on every syllabus in Australia.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indigenous, black-inc
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 sin ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 q
Joel D
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
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. ...more
Zuzana Kubáň
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 a ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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.
" matter how much milk you add: they'll never not be coffee
Ellen McMahon
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
Kris McCracken
Jan 07, 2021 rated it liked it
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
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 s
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 t
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, australia
Stories and memoirs of the First Peoples, told by them. A great anthropology from Australia.
Peter Yock
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very worth the read. I wish I’d read it 20 years ago.
Domenica Angeli
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous collection of accounts of ‘growing up aboriginal in Australia.’ Beautiful storytelling. Highly recommend - everyone needs to read. Immediately.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia
Anne Fenn
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a valuable insight into the lives of modern day indigenous Aboriginal people. Their most common experience growing up was the accusation that they aren't black enough to be Aboriginal. Makes me embarrassed and ashamed. On the other hand, they all have a mob, all identify first off as belonging to their group, or mob or people calling a particular part of Australia their country.
There's a strength of culture here that can only be envied and admired. Many continue working within their commun
Ella  Hart
Nov 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Such an important read and an incredible insight to the lived experience of Australia’s First Nations people. The themes of racism, inter-generational trauma and mistaken identity were prevalent and incredibly upsetting. Alternatively, I loved the commonalities of empowerment and strength felt by the authors in their Aboriginality. Adam Goodes and Shahni Wellington’s pieces really stood out for me in both regards. I would’ve loved to explore a few less stories at a more in-depth level but I can ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional anthology - one that needs to be read by anyone who lives in Australia. As a non-indigenous person I will never be able to really feel or understand the experiences that indigenous people go through.

This book, with 50 different stories of what it’s like to grow up aboriginal in Australia, gives one a sense of just how complex and challenging it is to grow up and live in a country where racism is still so prevalent.

Charlotte (readwithchar)
(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.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A brilliant collection showing the breadth of experiences in what it can mean to grow up Aboriginal in Australia.
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
An important read for all Australians. It was interesting reading different generational accounts from contributors and noting the differences or unfortunate similarities in experiences and thinking. One thing I really laser focused on was the exploration of being Aboriginal, not half, not a quarter, not 70%, which I think is something exacerbated by people (mainly white people) obsessing over their heritage and being “this much Swedish” or whatever. Marlee Silva’s account from her father about ...more
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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

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“P.S. I truly love every square inch of Australia. I look forward to when we realise that this country is our giver of life and will survive long after we have passed on. Maybe, then, we will each choose a life similar to that of our ancestors: one of leaving soft footprints and a light touch on this landscape, and with a kindness for each other.” 3 likes
“We’ve never been alone, and we have each other. Not everyone gets everything, and we are so lucky for so much. I’m learning my place, my responsibilities.” 1 likes
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