Culture and heritage

Seven books for National Reconciliation Week

A person holding onto a mug while reading a book.

Expand your understanding of Aboriginal history, culture and achievement with this recommended reading list for National Reconciliation Week.

1. Growing up Aboriginal in Australia, edited by Anita Heiss
Explore diverse voices, experiences and accounts of what it’s like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia. Compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, the anthology contains stories from well-known authors and high-profile identities as well as newly-discovered writers of all ages. All of the contributors speak from the heart – sometimes calling for empathy, often challenging stereotypes, and alway demanding respect.
Listen to Growing up Aboriginal in Australia on eAudio

2. Terra nullius by Claire G Coleman
Sometime in the near future, Australia is about to experience colonisation once more. What have we learned from our past? This fantastic read was shortlisted for the Stella Prize in 2018 and has gathered many other accolades over the years.
Listen to Terra nullius on eAudio

3. Too much lip by Melissa Lucashenko
Enter the world of wise-cracking Kerry Salter, who has spent a lifetime avoiding two things: her hometown and prison. But now her pop is dying so she heads south on a stolen motorbike only to discover that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. A dark and funny new novel from the multi-award-winning author of Mullumbimby.
Listen to Too much lip on eAudio

4. The white girl by Tony Birch
Odette Brown has lived her whole life on the fringes of a small country town. Left to raise her granddaughter Sissy on her own, Odette has managed to stay under the radar of the welfare authorities who are removing fair-skinned Aboriginal children from their families. When a new policeman arrives in town, determined to enforce the law, Odette must risk everything to save her granddaughter Sissy and protect everything she loves. The latest from Miles-Franklin-shortlisted author Tony Birch.
Listen to The white girl on eAudio

5. Salt by Bruce Pascoe
From new fiction to the most revered and thought-provoking non-fiction, Salt showcases Bruce Pascoe’s best and most celebrated stories and essays. The collection explores his enduring fascination with Australia’s landscape, culture and history with intellect, passion and skill. From the award-winning author of Dark Emu.
Download the Salt eBook

6. Songspirals by Gay’wu group of women
Connect with the living tradition of women’s songlines, as recounted by Yolngu women from far north Australia. Songspirals are sung by Aboriginal people to awaken Country, to make and remake the life-giving connections between people and place, and to offer a radically different way of understanding the relationship people can have with the landscape.
Download the Songspirals eBook

7. Comfort food by Ellen van Neerven
Move between places and cultures in this exploration of identity, sovereignty and the restless quest for love. Using food as inspiration, award-winning author Ellen van Neerven sets a new benchmark in contemporary Australian poetry with this collection.
Download the Comfort food eBook

The seven titles listed above are available for free download at any time with your City of Melbourne library membership. For more reconciliation resources see our full reading list. Some titles on this full list have a borrowing limit, meaning you may need to go on a waitlist before being able to access them.

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