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2020 - Shortlisted
Bruce Pascoe’s Young Dark Emu is an illuminating and important non-fiction work for children. It is meticulously researched, and beautifully designed and compiled. The work highlights and challenges the whitewashing of Australian history, centring Indigenous knowledge, and articulating vital – if inconvenient – truths. Using primary sources and historical analysis, Young Dark Emu simplifies and unpacks complex elements of Australia’s colonial and pre-colonial history for a younger audience, including new insights into the agriculture and aquaculture practices of First Nations people.
In addition to being interesting and informative, Young Dark Emu is a beautiful book. The rich, earthy red-clay colouring of the multimedia illustrations entice the eye. The clear, concise headings and simple organisation of information allow the book to be easily navigated by young readers. Young Dark Emu will be used for decades to come as an educational tool in Australian homes and classrooms, and will have a significant impact on Australian literary culture.