Title: Ceremony (Welcome to Our Country)
Author: Adam Goodes, Ellie Laing
Illustrator: David Hardy
Published: April 2022
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Readership: Children’s Picturebook
I received a copy of Ceremony from the publishers for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A joyful celebration of family and culture, the Welcome to Our Country series introduces First Nations history to children. From Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, co-writer Ellie Laing, and Barkindji illustrator David Hardy.
Nangga! Nangga! Yakarti!
Tonight will be our Ceremony.
Our family gathers as the fire burns.
The smoke rises up as we take it in turns . . .
Then clapsticks tap – one, two, three –
but a stick is missing! Where could it be?
Joyful and full of fun, Ceremony invites you to celebrate the rich traditions of dance, family, community and caring for Country from the world’s oldest continuous culture.
Last year I reviewed Somebody’s Land and was so excited to see a new, bright, vibrant picture book exploring Aboriginal culture in an engaging way, and Adam Goods, Ellie Laing and David Hardy are back with the second instalment in the Welcome to Our Country series with Ceremony. It’s a truly gorgeous book that just makes me smile looking at the front cover which is so infectiously joyful that I couldn’t not start reading it immediately. Those joyful illustrations continue throughout the whole text and are something truly special.
Ceremony explores what it means for Australia’s First Nations people to come together and celebrate their rich culture of dance, family and community and showcases how everyone’s involved – from the youngest to the oldest members of the community. The text continues to be very lyrical, using rhyme and pacing to add rhythm to the writing. It also incorporates words and language from Adam’s language group, Adnyamthanha, throughout which is a fantastic way to introduce and discuss the different language groups that exist with younger children. I especially love how the endpapers for the book are a visual glossary for those terms that are included, too.
This book is an absolute delight and feast for the senses, and one I hope everyone picks up. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!