Walk with us by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing. Illus. by David Hardy

cover image

The fourth in the series: Welcome to our country, has a mother and her son learning about the country they live in. This seemingly simple activity, walking with a First Nations guide enables readers to assimilate clues to look for in their own area. Here they are encouraged to look with different eyes, creating a memorable day for Mum and Harvey. The opening pages shows him reciting the acknowledgement that we are now familiar with, and Mum arranges a visit to the park. Here they are met by Uncle Boris, a ranger, who will show them around. A black cockatoo calls overhead, and Mum says ‘I’ve been past this track so many times, but I’ve never walked down it before’. A most telling comment, encouraging us all to take a look around us with new eyes. They see the gum trees, and Uncle Boris talks to the ancestors; they are warmed by the sun’s rays, while they chew on a myrtle leaf Uncle Boris has picked for them, good for cuts and scratches, he tells them. Later they see a waterfall, and a pelican, frogs and water dragon as Uncle Boris points out good plants to eat, and those to avoid. A canoe tree takes their interest and Uncle Boris shows them how the ancestors would have made it and used it.

This headland was once used by the ancestors but this stopped after the First Fleet sailed through the heads of the bay.

Uncle Boris explains how the ancestors used fire, encouraging new growth and they see wallabies near the track.

Back home, Mum and Harvey reminisce on what they have learnt, and these comments give the perfect opportunity for kids and adults to think about the history of their own area, and what it tells them.

Told with a warm heart, this wonderful series of books encourages moving together down the path of reconciliation. Each book gives ways of communication, of doing things together, looking forward to an Australia where everyone matters.

Themes: Reconciliation, Aboriginal themes, Walking.

Fran Knight