Maggie and her mother are at Parliament House in Canberra to listen to the National Apology made to the Stolen Generations and their families by then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. AS the excitement builds a hush fell over the crowd. Maggie twirls in and out of her mother’s skirt playing hide-and –seek. Suddenly she slips losing her mother’s grip and becoming lost in a sea of legs. Tears streaming she searches frantically for her mother, just then a gentle hand touches her, ‘Mummy!’ she gasped. ’I thought you were gone!’
The alternate double page spreads contain a parallel narrative, the tale of how other children lost their mothers. It is the history, the story of young Aboriginal children playing and then hiding from the white men who have come to take them away. These children are the Stolen Generation, the children taken from their mothers, their families often to never see them again for many years and sometimes not at all.
While Maggie’s narrative is illustrated in colour which serves to empathise the happiness of the occasion, the parallel narrative is in sepia tones evoking the colours found in historic photographs. It draws the reader back into one of the saddest episodes in Australia’s history. The fear and emotion felt in losing one’s family, even briefly as in Maddie’s tale is reflected in the illustrations particularly the children’s eyes.
At the back of the book is a brief history leading up to the National Apology including photographs from the National Apology by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on 13th February, 2008.
Dub Leffler is a descendant of the Bigambui people of south-west Queensland.