by Mem Fox
Mem Fox has always been a hero of mine. Right from the time I read Where is the Green Sheep I wanted to write children’s books as engaging as hers. Then recently I actually read a news story that appeared on my facebook post talking about Mem’s treatment by immigration authorities. Like other I was appalled.
I had already planned to review Mem Fox’s new book I’m Australian Too, just because I love her writing and I I was interested in her approach to helping build a new Australian identity in a time when the ‘White Australia’ myth seems to be reappearing. While reading about her treatment in America I found Mem had a precursor to I’m Australian Toocalled Whoever You Are, published in 1997. I decided to included both in this review.
Whoever You Are has been beautifully illustrated by Leslie Staub and tells the listener that they are part of a diverse world community. People may have differences but they love and hurt like you. This touches on the large theme of diversity with a gentle touch aimed at children.
I’m Australian Too takes the diversity from around the world and shows how Australian’s have come from many places, and how we all have integrated into the Australian community. Told in rhyme with beautiful illustrations by Ronojoy Ghosh, each person tells their story and invites you to tell where you came from. As an Australian immigrant about to become a citizen I found this book’ positive message talking about the opportunities and security Australia offers to those who come to live here touching, right until the story of a refugee. It brought tears to my eyes as she asked for the opportunities we have all been given.
After reading this book I admire Mem Fox even more. She has tackled a sensitive topic in way that can help to build acceptance of all cultures in this diverse country. I may even love this book more than Where is the Green Sheep?
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