Title: Heroes, Rebels and Innovators
Author: Karen Wyld
Illustrator: Jaelyn Biumaiwai
Publication Date: 2 July 2021
For ages: 8-14
Type: Picture Book
Heroes, Rebels and Innovators is an inspiring non-fiction book containing seven stories about First Nation and Torres Strait Islander people from the past. The stories have been written by author Karen Wyld of Martu descent born on Kaurna yerta in South Australia and illustrated by self-taught artist Jaelyn Biumaiwai who is of Mununjali and Fijian descent.
Each story opens with the narrative told from a First Nation perspective and then a brief historical summary of the First Nation and Torres Strait Islander inspirational figure. The stories include notable historical First Nation people such as Patyegarang, Bungaree, Tarenorerer, Yarri and Jacky Jacky, Mohara Wacando-Lifu, Fanny Balbuk Yooreel and David Unaipon a well-known Ngarrindjieri korni(man) who now features on the Australian fifty dollar note.
David Unaipon’s story will be of particular interest to South Australian readers. He was born on Point McLeay Mission now known as Raukken and was a preacher like his father. David’s incredible intelligence and visionary insights were spread across science, engineering and all aspects of writing. Unfortunately, he was unable to patent or build any of his inventions but that never stopped his dreaming. He advocated for co-operation between First Nation people and those not of First Nation descent and was the earliest First Nation writer to be published.
These seven stories provide the middle grade and lower secondary reader with an insight into an historical perspective of First Nation people not presented before. An important resource for all school and public libraries that will be a welcome addition to Reconciliation and NAIDOC Week literature.
Themes: History, First Nation and Torres Strait Islander People, Colonisation, Conflict
Reviewed by Kathryn Beilby