MY PLACE by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins is a text rich, picture bookwritten as a celebration of Australia’s bicentennial with two page spreads, including wonderful maps and stories narrated by children who lived in the exact same place in Australia but during a different decade.
So, with every turn of a page, we were taken back ten years and in the end we read 20 children’s stories. In each story there are important elements: the fig tree, the map, featuring the creek/canal, and the land/house, revealing how the land was inhabited and used by different communities and families while paying homage to the first Australians and their connection to the land on which the house is eventually built. The illustrations support the narrative which is in the child’s voice: "My name’s…………and this is my place" followed by the their own description of their different circumstances, their similarities and how the place dramatically changes over time.
At times the children’s stories are very poignant including many hardships and deaths, and at times the accounts are very amusing. I especially liked the account in Sofia's 1968 story as she lies on her bed admiring her posters with her parakeet, Maroula..." This is me and Paul McCartney. Maroula reckons John Lennon's the best, but I like Paul." And, Myra's favorite was in Victoria's 1888 story ... "We've even got running water. Mother says its like a Dream Come True, but sometimes Father looks worried." The detailed illustrations of the kids and their surrounding, including the many animals and especially all the maps were worth the hours we spent pouring over them. It was all fascinating.
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