Invasion Day. Australia Day. Survival Day.
January 26 in Australia is a contentious subject which many Australians grapple with - let alone children. Now a new book is showcasing the resilience and survival of First Nations families on the day.
Day Break written by Amy McQuire with illustrations by artist Matt Chun is the story of a family making their way to Country on January 26.
Author of Day Break, Amy McQuire said she hopes the story encourages parents, caregivers and children to have a greater understanding of the contentious January day.
"I feel in the past few years, there's been attempts to co-opt and assimilate what is ultimately a racist holiday and national celebration .. It's really about remembering,” The proud Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman said.
"It's grounded in strength and resistance and the resistance of a family on Invasion Day holding their own ceremonies, and thinking about what the day means for them.
'Remembering and Resistance'
Ms McQuire said the book is a way to showcase Indigenous resistance and resilience and challenge the narrative of Australia Day.
'There's so many different forms of resistance that happens on Australia Day. This is about a family going back to Country and remembering, not just what happened on that day but what's happened very day after," she said.
“Remembering its resistance and combating what Australia is all about which is about the amnesia of history and leaving Aboriginal people out of the national story and the bloody truths.”
The book published by Hardie Grant came from discussions with the publishing house about Australia Day and what it means for Indigenous families - But Ms McQuire said the book underwent a shift.
“The original idea was around change the date and I said ‘I don't really agree with change the date ‘I think we need to abolish Australia Day completely," she said.
“I started thinking about ways that children will understand, so it's not actually even about changing the date or abolishing the day .. It was a change from talking about this explicit day of change the date or the actual debate to bringing it back to country and back to community."
Ms McQuire said she wrote it for her children and other Indigenous kids - but hopes it will also be a learning tool for all children.
“Kids are so smart - all kids. They are phenomenal and they know more than adults. So I think that's where things change - with the next generation.”
She hopes Day Break will give Indigenous kids a foundation to understand the differing narratives in schools and in mainstream Australia.
"I'm really like proud of what we were able to come together and do and I hope other Aboriginal families and non-Indigenous families and teachers are able to use it as well."