Review Blog

May 07 2014

Women who made Australian History by Aisling Marlor

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Trocadero, 2014. ISBN 9780864271464.
Immigrants who changed Australia . . . since 1901 by Victoria Macleay. Trocadero, 2014. ISBN 9780864271259.
Imperial China: Six centuries of all-powerful dynasties by Matthew Williams. Trocadero, 2014. ISBN 9780864271457.
Continuing the tradition, Trocadero Publishing have released three new titles in their series which matches the Australian Curriculum so well.
Women who made Australian History, from the They Made Australia series, introduces, acknowledges and celebrates women who have had a significant impact on what our nation is today. From the well-known such as Daisy Bates and Caroline Chisholm and Mary Reiby to the not-so such as Tilly Aston, Faith Bandler and Lucy Osburn, there are snapshots of their contributions covering almost every aspect of life succinctly detailing their work and paving the way for a deeper investigation of the impact of their achievements.
Immigrants who changed Australia . . . since 1901, from The National Identity, focuses on people whose names are familiar but whose origins are overseas. Many are names who are claimed by Australia as their own but who, in fact, came here with their family as a child or made the move later in life and have helped put this nation on the map for a range of reasons. While there are waves of immigrants who come here, such as the Chinese in the goldrush and the Europeans after the war, and whose impact is well documented and studied, this title focuses on the individuals whose stories may not have been told so often. From the familiar stories such as Petrov spy scandal, Simpson and his donkey and the achievements of Olivia Newton-John and Russell Crowe to the lesser known such as Tan Le, Charles Moses and Jennie Baines, the contributions of over 50 newcomers are outlined.
Both of these titles beg the question of who would today's generation add if they were asked to contribute a name and a story. Who has been left out that should be there? Should their heroes stand the test of time and are they likely to do so?
In Imperial China, from Asia-Pacific Timelines, the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties who each claimed the 'Mandate of Heaven' as their god-given right to rule are put under the spotlight, From 1271 to the collapse of the Imperial system in 1911, students are introduced to the critical people and events of this time.
As with all the other titles that this publisher is producing to support the Australian Curriculum, particularly those topics in the Yr 5-8 band, each book has a modern layout with the text presented in manageable chunks accompanied by a range of photos, maps and tables that offer extra insight. Arranged in either alphabetical or chronological order, there are very easy to navigate.
Even though there seems to be a demand by some to replace non-fiction titles with online resources only, such demands are ill-considered because they are ignoring the evidence that students, even those who are independent readers, prefer and need print resources when they wish to read deeply for meaning rather than just skimming a text as they do with online-based materials, and therefore we have an obligation to meet those needs. These series by this publisher are fulfilling this need with modern Australian Curriculum-related resources very well.
Barbara Braxton

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