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The Upside-down History of Down Under

2019 - Winner


Judges'  comments 

This unique and lively introduction to Australian history combines modern interpretations with entertaining detail for an innovative approach to our national story.  Avoiding the dry narrative that has bored generations of school children, The Upside-down History of Down Under, finds the humour and pathos in Australian history through bite-size accounts of important moments, interesting characters and absorbing facts.  Ranging from the separation of Gondwana 200 million years ago to Federation in 1901, and from Aboriginal hand-signs to the Rum Rebellion, this is a history with something for all young readers.

Alison Lloyd's witty and absorbing prose is beautifully matched by Terry Denton's irreverent illustrations, and the text is complemented by lists, maps, timelines, quizzes, and even a series of upside-down footnotes, which artfully draw the reader into the act of reading.  Just as important, The Upside-down History employs scholarly insights—from deep history, post-colonialism, and feminism—to tell a contemporary story for a diverse nation. The dead white men are put in their place.

Above all this is a book that puts its readers first. Equally engaging read cover-to-cover, or opened at random, The Upside-Down History, will delight and surprise. It makes Australian history fun.