Author: Mem Fox
Illustrated by: Ronojoy Ghosh
Review: Joan Stienman
Mem Fox’s name is associated with over 40 picture story books and this is another valuable contribution to children’s literature.
I’m Australian Too is a celebration of Australia’s cultural diversity. Each double page spread, in this hard cover book, features a different Australian child, with their story told in a 4 line rhyming verse with an additional line “How about you?” There are the children born in Australia to parents who were also born here. But then the story branches out to children with roots in countries such as Italy, Greece and England. The children who came from war torn countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan, are introduced and we briefly glimpse the life they left behind. The final pages bring refugees and their desire to be Australian to our attention. Fox herself suggests that this book is a wonderful conversation starter on migration, our ancestral history and refugees, for parents and children. It focuses on the fact that no matter where our roots are from we are all equally Australian and there are others who also want to be Australian. Just as the original inhabitants now share their country with those who came from near and far, Fox sees the importance of extending a welcome to more newcomers and living in peace with them.
The distinctive full colour pictures by Indian born Ghosh, reflect the diverse places Australians live and the foods we have gained from other countries while looking at the lives Australians live, urban and rural.
Pre-schoolers will love the rhyming nature of this book and the delightful illustrations but children will need to be older to understand the message it contains.