Children’s book tells story of Indigenous diggers

Author: Rachel Bin Salleh
Publisher: Magabala Books

Illustrated by Samantha Fry

Alfred’s War tells the story of Alfred George, an Aboriginal man who served in the Great War (World War I). The book focuses on Alfred’s life before and after the war, highlighting the separation and lack of recognition experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Rachel Bin Salleh (Photo: Fremantle Gazette)
Rachel Bin Salleh (Photo: Fremantle Gazette)

This book is suitable for children aged 8 and up. Alfred’s War deals with heavy themes, including war, death, inequality and suffering, and it is best read in an environment that provides children with support as they’ll ask questions. It is important that children engage with these topics, but they can be quite scary. Answer their questions honestly but appropriately, taking into consideration their maturity, their ability to comprehend, and their wellbeing.

In the lead-up to Anzac Day (April 25), our TV screens and news outlets will be covering dawn services and marches so it is crucial children have some understanding of the day’s significance. As our future generations will one day be making global decisions, it is important for world peace that they can see the impact of decisions made in the past.

Alfred’s War is particularly poignant due to its Indigenous lens and a story not often told. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have fought in every major war, despite at times not being recognised as citizens of Australia. While the battle may be over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans are still fighting for the recognition they deserve.

The author Rachel Bin Salleh is descended from the Nimunburr, Bunuba and Yawuru peoples of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. She lives in Broome, and Alfred’s War is her first book. Illustrator Samantha Fry is descended from the Dagiman people from Katherine and lives in Darwin. This is the first book she has illustrated.

Alfred’s War$19.99

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