Australian stories through children's eyes
29 October 2013
What would a child from the Ice Age have to say about living in Australia? And how can the stories of children growing up through the ages provide a window into our national history?
Wheatley, an Honorary Associate of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, will discuss her sweeping new history book, Australians All: A History of Growing Up from the Ice Age to the Apology. This landmark account of children at different stages of Australia's story weaves together 80 mini biographies into a chronological tale, spanning from 50,000 years ago right up to the present day.
Though often marginalised as history's silent witnesses, children have made a significant contribution to the nation's story, and their accounts open up new realms of understanding for young readers, said Wheatley.
"By and large, human beings, whether young or old, relate to two things: they relate to stories and they relate to other human beings," she said.
"Young people can easily connect with the history of our society in the past if they've got windows into that society through people their own age, who were growing up at that time and in various places across our continent."
After nine years of research, Wheatley crafted the biographies using oral histories, local histories, and memoirs, choosing those subjects that exemplified certain historical moments. Among the famous young Australians included in the book are Ethel Turner, Donald Bradman, Mary MacKillop, and Eddie Mabo.
"Of course, when they were children they weren't famous; they were just kids growing up. Young readers might not recognise their names, so for them Henry Lawson might be a boy who got bullied at school because he was deaf and he spoke oddly," she said.
Nadia Wheatley has penned dozens of books in her literary career over more than four decades. She was recently nominated by the Australian branch of the International Board on Books for Young People for the prestigious 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing - the highest international recognition given to a living author whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.
Nadia Wheatley's 'In Conversation' event will be hosted by Professor Robyn Ewing, and is presented by the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney.
What: Nadia Wheatley and Caroline Jones AO - In Conversation, presented by the Faculty of Education and Social Work
When: 5.30-7.00pm, Wednesday 30 October 2013
Where: Lecture Theatre 351, Education Building, Manning Road, University of Sydney
Registration: Bookings essential. Contact Helen Loughlin on 9351 2791 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media enquiries: Emily Jones, 02 9114 1961, 0481 012 600, email@example.com
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