Stephens, David: Day Break by Amy McQuire and Matt Chun: a children’s book focusses sharply on 26 January

David Stephens*

Day Break by Amy McQuire and Matt Chun: a children’s book focusses sharply on 26 January’, Honest History, 31 January 2021

Much of the debate about Australia Day/Invasion Day 26 January has been between grown-ups. This book, Day Break (Hardie Grant, 2021), by Amy McQuire with wonderful illustrations by Matt Chun, is instead for children, both First Nations and not, aged from about four to ten.

The story is simple, but it brings in the Australian flag, 1788 and its consequences, Stolen Generations, Anzackery, and the importance of Country. Children who have absorbed their history from teachers like the one depicted in the book – and perhaps the parents of these children – may find the story a little confronting. And so they should. As Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman and academic, Associate Professor Chelsea Bond, says on the back cover, the book is ‘[a] truth telling that every child in the colony should hear’.

Amy McQuire is a Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman who has written widely in the media and is now a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland. Matt Chun is an artist and writer based on Yuin land. For other work by Amy McQuire, use the Honest History search engine. She wrote about 26 January this year.

* David Stephens is editor of the Honest History website. He reviewed Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (2018).

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