Fremantle Press, 2015
Secondary, Upper Primary
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- Australian Government policy
- Bush tucker
- Novels in verse
- Stolen generations
‘Sister Heart’ is a verse novel which offers a first person perspective of a young Aboriginal girl forcibly removed from her family and culture in northwest Western Australia and taken to the southwest land of the Noongar people. There she is placed in an institution. Removing Aboriginal children from their families and placing them in institutional care was once Australian Government policy. Now contemporary generations of Australians face the emotional and physical harm of this policy. Stories are one way to share this period of history and to gain understanding.
Sally Morgan, an award-winning Aboriginal writer and artist, is best known for her book, My Place, where she reveals her own family history and discovery of her Aboriginal identity. ‘Sister Heart’ is for younger readers. The reader vicariously experiences the loss of family, cultural practices, emotional trauma, and an alien environment. Interspersed are moments of enjoying the Australian environment and a friendship formed with another young girl also stolen from her people. The story is unrelenting in presenting the loss of culture and its impact on these young people. Even though Annie's new friend Janey is a sou'wester and Annie is a nor'wester, Janey shares her laughing stones, crying tree and other ways of practising culture as they draw strength from the natural world. The story also offers sharing of images and stories from their homelands including freshwater and saltwater, warmth and cold, siblings, family gatherings and so much more.
‘Sister Heart’ won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Children's Fiction in 2016. Sally Morgan is an Aboriginal writer and artist who comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
- ‘Sister Heart’ Fremantle Press Teaching Notes https://www.fremantlepress.com.au/system/spree/files/attachments/000/002/440/original/SISTER_HEART_teaching_notes__WEB.pdf?1434687632
- ABC Radio National. Edinburgh Festival, 24 August 2015 Interview with Sally Morgan about her verse novel, ‘Sister Heart’. (audio can be downloaded) https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/archived/booksandarts/books-and-arts-24-august-2014/6719262
- Book People: Interview with Sally Morgan by Megan Daley, 3 August 2015 https://childrensbooksdaily.com/book_reviews/book-people-sally-morgan/
- ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Culture’, ABC Education, offers a range of teaching resources at different levels and for different curriculum areas http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/topic/494038/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-histories-and-cultures