I bought this book last year and had to share as it has been a really handy resource.
It’s called “The Big Book of Australian History” and the author is Peter Macinnis. We’ve loved several of his books, especially “Australian Backyard Explorer”, so I knew I’d like this new title.
The book is exactly as it describes itself – BIG – with almost 300 glossy pages of Australian History written especially for children.
The chapters walk you chronologically through our Australian time periods, starting with Ancient times. Okay, well they are way too ancient for those of us who know who and how the world was created, but it’s a rare book that gets that right. We’re used to overlooking this error though and turning it into a discussion point.
The book includes more than just the standard Aussie History topics. There’s also a Sporting chapter and a Cultural chapter. Well it wouldn’t be an “Aussie” History book without Sir Don or Phar Lap now would it!
There’s also a chapter that addresses controversial topics. I’m yet to read this chapter so I can’t say with certainty what agenda is being pushed. However, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that it’ll lean heavily one way or the other, which is why discussion is the key to balance.
The publication couldn’t have been more perfectly timed with our study of World War 2 in the Pacific. It has been difficult to find Australian children’s books that describe the battles we fought in in the pacific. And books that present an overview of World War 2 certainly mention the war in the pacific but always from an American perspective. “The Big Book of Australian History” has been the answer to my prayers. Finally a place we can search for the Aussie flavouring our studies needed.
Bear in mind though that the book contains only an overview of Australian History. It doesn’t cover every topic in great detail. I went looking for some information about the nuclear testing at Maralinga and came up empty handed. That’s a shame but I suppose you can’t have everything you want in one book.
“The Big Book of Australian History” would make a great launching point for any Australian History studies. So far I’ve only used it as a reference book but I’m pondering the value of reading it from front to back the next time we cycle through Australian History.
Ooh, I just noticed on the back of the book that there is a new book called “The Big Book of Indigenous Australian History” coming soon.
Golly gosh, I’ve gotta go and Google that right now!
(I just discovered that you can buy the book as a Kindle for half the price of the real book. Amazon is also a good place to have a sneak peak inside the book. Personally I like a real book in my hands, especially for the kids, so I purchased mine online from “Bookworld” They sell an ebook version also.)