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New kids book aims to “fill gap” in Australian Indigenous education 

29 November 2022 at 5:02 pm
Ruby Kraner-Tucci
This new First Nations picture book aims to contribute to better Indigenous education in schools.

Ruby Kraner-Tucci | 29 November 2022 at 5:02 pm


New kids book aims to “fill gap” in Australian Indigenous education 
29 November 2022 at 5:02 pm

This new First Nations picture book aims to contribute to better Indigenous education in schools.

Twenty-three year old musician Isaiah Firebrace didn’t know a lot about his own culture when he was growing up. A proud Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara man, Firebrace joined many other Australian children in receiving a limited education about its First Nations history and communities.

“I wasn’t taught much of my culture because of the Stolen Generations,” he told Pro Bono News.

“There were no story books or resources for Indigenous kids to read and really connect to. I didn’t really have that in my primary school journey and in my high school experience, we learnt about America’s history, JFK, 9/11, the Holocaust, all these worldwide historical, very important events that happened, [but] I would have loved to see an Australian Aboriginal history subject as well.”

Firebrace’s solution is his debut children’s book, Come Together: Things Every Aussie Kid Should Know About The First Peoples, which he believes is “filling the gap” in Australia’s current Indigenous curriculum.

Three years in the making, Come Together involved consultation with and approval from Firebrace’s Elders to ensure the text was culturally appropriate and best represented the history and experiences of First Nations Australians. 

It covers 20 topics including the Dreaming, creation stories, totems, origins of the AFL and the Stolen Generations, richly told through Firebrace’s personal stories and bright illustrations by Mununjali and Fijian artist Jaelyn Biumaiwai. These topics, explained Firebrace, are likely familiar for many Australians but perhaps not well understood.

I wanted to touch on topics that I was actually passionate about and that I felt the wider Australian public would also enjoy reading. Things that your typical Aussie kid probably has heard about in their school environment, but has never had a proper explanation or understanding of what it actually is or means.

“Those stages of development as young kids is the exact perfect time where we need to be teaching Australia’s cultural history. 

“I think it’s important because this is a very multicultural country but at the centre of that is the oldest living culture in the whole world. I feel like every Aussie kid, whether you’re a migrant or you’re white or black, everyone that calls Australia home, this is their culture and history to share and to embrace as well.”

While Firebrace is most recognisable for his X-Factor Australia win, competing in the Masked Singer and representing the country at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, he has also strongly campaigned for Indigenous education away from the spotlight.

Last year, Firebrace took a petition which he started all the way to Parliament, calling on the Australian government to implement Aboriginal history classes in primary and secondary schools across the country. 

The petition, which received over 290,000 signatures, was the catalyst for the recent federal budget allocation of $14.1 million to place First Nations educators in 60 primary schools to teach Indigenous languages and provide greater cultural understanding.

“It was just a real lesson into using your voice to speak up,” said Firebrace. “It was really great that I just kind of followed my heart… it was a real, proud moment for me.

“For too long, it’s always been those generations of people who have been very against the black history of Australia, but you look around in Australia now, it’s very multicultural. I feel like the old ways of thinking are slowly dissipating, and the new generation are much more open minded.

“At the end of the day, what’s in the past is in the past, and we can’t change that. I’ve always been a big believer of faith, and moving forward together.”

Firebrace’s vision for Come Together is for it to act as an educational tool for all Australians, not just children, and complement the change made by his petition.

“Yes it is aimed at children, but it [can be for] pretty much any age – the teachers that read this to their kids in the classroom, the parents that read it to their kids, the uncles, the aunts, the grandparents, everyone’s going to get something from this I’m sure and that’s what makes me really excited.

“I say in the book, it’s our duty to come together now and make this country a great place. I think it is always great to make people feel like they’re a part of something which we all are. [It’s] what I want the book to help influence.”

Ruby Kraner-Tucci  |  @ProBonoNews

Ruby Kraner-Tucci is a journalist, with a special interest in culture, community and social affairs. Reach her at

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