Books by First Nations Authors and Illustrators for Children to Teens

National NAIDOC Week is a celebration of 65,000 years of history, culture and achievements and an opportunity to discuss and action a just future. Story has the power to educate and to heal and below you will find some of my absolute favourite texts by First Nations authors and illustrators in approximate age group order. Use this list as a starting point for adding to your home, school and library collection and leave me a comment with titles to add.

First Nations Authors and Illustrators to Note

As a student of the late 1980’s, Sally Morgan’s ‘My Place’ was the first First Nations author book that turned my brain inside out and nestled deep within me. I don’t often re-read books, but that book is one I’ve read several times over, and not just because Mr Chapman made me study it at school! I think I’ve read everything Sally Morgan has ever created and now I adore the work of her children Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Ambelin Kwaymullina.

On my lists below you’ll find books by some astonishing creators, some of my personal favourites are Anita Heiss, Boori Monty Pryor, Bruce Pascoe, Kirli Saunders, Aunty Joy Murphy, Dub Leffler, Gregg Dreise and Jasmine Seymour.

Books by First Nations Authors and Illustrators for Early Childhood and Primary School Readers

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  • ‘Story Doctors’ by Boori Monty Pryor and Rita Sinclair
  • ‘Goal!!!’ by Lydia Williams and Lucinda Gifford
  • ‘Welcome, Child!’ by Sally Morgan. Read more about Sally in my ‘Book People’ series here.
  • ‘Welcome to Country’ by Lisa Kennedy and Aunty Joy Murphy
  • ‘Billie and the Blue Bike’ by Ambelin Kwaymullina. Read more about Ambelin in my ‘Book People’ series here.
  • ‘Too Many Cheeky Dogs’ by Johanna Bell and Dion Beasley
  • ‘Mum’s Elephant’ by Maureen Jipiyiliya, Nampijinpa O’Keefe and Christina Booth
  • ‘Hello and Welcome’ by Gregg Dreise
  • ‘Baby Business’ by Jasmine Seymour. My full review here. Read more about Jasmine in my ‘Book People’ series here.
  • ‘The River’ by Sally Morgan and Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
  • ‘The Art in Country’ by Bronwyn Bancroft
  • ‘Main Abija My Grandad’ by Karen Rogers
  • ‘Counting our Country’ by Jill Daniels
  • ‘Respect’ by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson, Lisa Kennedy
  • ‘Family’ by Aunty Fay Muir, Sue Lawson and Jasmine Seymour
  • ‘Wandihnu and the Old Dugong’ by Elizabeth Wymarra and Wandihnu Wymarra, Benjamin Hodges
  • ‘Our Home our Heartbeat’ by Adam Briggs
  • ‘On the Way to Nana’s’ by Frances Haji-Ali and Lindsay Haji-Ali and David Hardy
  • ‘Day Break’ by Amy McQuire
  • ‘Cooee Mittagar: A Story on Darug Songlines’ by Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson
  • ‘Coming Home to Country’ by Bronwyn Bancroft
  • ‘Backyard Birds’ by Helen Milroy
  • ‘My Culture and Me’ by Gregg Dreise
  • ‘Little Bird’s Day’ by Sally Morgan and Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
  • ‘Found’ by Bruce Pascoe and Charmaine Ledden-Lewis
  • ‘I Want to be a Superhero’ by Breanna Humes and Amberlin Kwaymullina
  • ‘The Emu Who Ran Through the Sky’ by Helen Milroy
  • ‘Willy-Willy Wagtail’ by Helen Milroy
  • ‘I Love Me’ by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina
  • ‘Shake a Leg’ by Boori Monty Pyror
  • ‘My Australian Story: Who Am I?’ by Anita Heiss
  • ‘Sea Country’ by Aunty Patsy Cameron and Lisa Kennedy
  • ‘Demon Guards the School Yard’ by Anita Heiss and the students of La Perouse Public School
  • ‘Finding Our Heart: A Story about the Uluru Statement for Young Australians’ by Thomas Mayor
  • ‘Bubbay’s Desert Adventure’ by Josie Wowolla Boyle and Fern Martins. Review for CBD by Dr Sam Lloyd here.
  • ‘Wilam: A Birrarung Story’ by Aunty Joy Murphy, Andrew Kelly and Lisa Kennedy
  • ‘Rocky and Louie’ by Phillip Walleystack, Raewyn Caisley and Dub Leffler
  • ‘Mrs Whitlam’ by Bruce Pascoe
  • ‘Seahorse’ by Bruce Pascoe
  • ‘Stolen Girl’ by Trina Saffioti and Norma MacDonald
  • ‘Brother Moon’ by Maree McCarthy Yoelu and Samantha Fry
  • ‘Albert Namatjira’ by Vincent Namatjira
  • ‘Shirley Purdie’ by Shirley Purdie
Image credit: Booktopia. ‘Welcome to Country’ by Lisa Kennedy and Aunty Joy Murphy.

Books by First Nations Authors and Illustrators for Middle and Upper Primary School Readers

  • ‘Common Wealth’ by Gregg Dreise
  • ‘Our Race for Reconciliation’ by Anita Heiss
  • ‘Bindi’ by Kirli Saunders and Dub Leffler. Read more about Kirli and ‘Bindi’ in my ‘Book People’ series here.
  • ‘Young Dark Emu’ by Bruce Pascoe. My full review here.
  • ‘Kunyi’ by Kunyi June Anne McInerney
  • ‘Loving Country’ Bruce Pascoe and Vicky Shukuroglou
  • ‘Took the Children Away’ by Archie Roach
  • Deadly D series by Scott Prince and Dave Hartley
  • ‘Sister Heart’ by Sally Morgan
  • ‘Njunjul the Sun’ by Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pyror
  • ‘My Girragundji’ by Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pyror
  • ‘Black Cockatoo’ by Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler
  • ‘Yinti’ series by Jimmy Pike and Pat Lowe
  • ‘Home to Mother’ by Doris Pilkington Garimara
Image credit: Booktopia. ‘Took the Children Away’ by Archie Roach

Books by First Nations Authors and Illustrators for Secondary School Age Readers

  • ‘Kindred’ by Kirli Saunders
  • ‘Ubby’s Underdogs’ series by Brenton E McKenna
  • ‘Ghost Bird’ by Lisa Fuller
  • ‘Finding the Heart of the Nation’ by Thomas Mayor (YA and adult edition)
  • ‘Tell Me Why’ by Archie Roach (YA edition)
  • ‘Growing up Aboriginal in Australia’ edited by Anita Heiss
  • ‘My Father’s Shadow’ by Jannali Jones
  • ‘Wraith’ by Alexandra Smithers and Shane Smithers
  • ‘Brontide’ by Sue McPherson
  • ‘Catching Teller Crow’ by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
  • ‘Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now’ edited by Ellen van Neerven
  • ‘The Boy from the Mish’ by Gary Lonesborough
  • ‘Shauna’s Great Expectations’ by Kathleen Loughnan
  • ‘Living on Stolen Land’ by Ambelin Kwaymullina
  • ‘Meet Me at the Intersection’ edited by Rebecca Lim and Ambelin Kwaymullina
  • ‘Grace Beside Me’ by Sue McPherson
Image credit: Booktopia. ‘Finding the Heart of the Nation’ by Thomas Mayor

July 1, 2021 at 07:04AM Megan Daley