‘Why?’ is the most commonly asked question by a child or toddler. Their natural curiosity and desire for reason, coupled with an open heart, creates many teachable moments.
So, how do we begin to explain the significance of January 26?
Writer and academic Amy McQuire and artist Matt Chun come together in a new book ‘Day Break’ to articulate the survival and resilience of Indigenous people.
It’s no small task, and even tricky to summarise here how well they achieve it with a unique alchemy of gentle illustrations of everyday scenes and simple yet profound text that relays the history of colonisation and its contemporary impact.
Instead of trying to answer the inexplicable reason some celebrate colonisation the duo present a narrative that acknowledges the history, hopefully making space for questions and change.
The story begins at dawn as a family prepares to take their Nan back to Country for ‘the day we remember’. As the journey unfolds we observe that her sweet granddaughter’s experience outside the family unit is complex. A teacher says ‘white men discovered our country’ but she knows from her Dad ‘we were already here…for tens of thousands of years’. Her friend will sleep in and go to the beach on this day, she doesn’t.
The arc of ‘Day Break’ is undoubtedly the contrast between the love, knowledge and protection this child is nurtured by and the recollection of Nan being stolen from her family. ‘Day Break’ provides facts to course correct both misinformation and also offers a platform for things that should be repeated, so we don’t forget.
‘Day Break’ is exceptional. McQuire and Chun inspire kids to be kind and remind the grown ups to get on the same page in this moving story for Aboriginal families, non-Indigenous families, and hopefully our schools.