First Nations Reads



Woven: First Nations poetic conversations from the Fair-Trade Project

Following from the much-loved Guwayu anthology, this second collaboration between Red Room Poetry and Magabala Books invites some of the world's leading First Nations poets together in poetic conversation. This collection weaves words across lands and seas, gathering collaborative threads and shining a light on First Nations poetry from Australia and across the globe.

Gigorou: it's time to reclaim beauty: First Nations wisdom and womanhood

'You're too pretty to be Aboriginal' is a shocking statement Sasha Kutabah Sarago experienced at a young age. In her 2020 TEDx talk, 'The (de)colonising of beauty', Sasha shares how she reclaimed her femininity by redefining beauty. In challenging our modern-day concepts of beauty from a First Nations woman's perspective, she asks, does beauty liberate you, or is it time to rethink beauty? Gigorou, meaning 'beautiful' in Jirrbal -- her grandmother's language -- is an extension of this conversation.

Songs from the kitchen table

This book features the lyrics of the songs of Archie Roach and his life partner and musical collaborator, Ruby Hunter, curated by Archie's manager and friend, Jill Shelton. It includes stories, photographs, and tributes. Archie's songs stand as anthems for the experience of dispossession.

Telling: stories of resistance from Nairm Marr Djambana

The 12 short life stories in Telling are grounded in First Nations storytelling traditions and reveal the diverse and complex nature of the experience of living in the wake of colonialisation. Telling fits with this year's NAIDOC theme, For Our Elders. It also speaks to the contemporary political movement for truth-telling and Treaty in Victoria and nationally. The voices of First Nations Elders living in Victoria are prioritised and honoured in this work.

Bush tukka guide: 60+ bushfoods and recipes

In this second, refreshed edition of Samantha Martin's bestselling Bush Tukka Guide, readers will discover additional bush foods, recipes, and updated information in a handy, field guide format. Known as the Bush Tukka Woman, Jaru woman Samantha was born into a long line of traditional hunters and gatherers. She grew up learning the layout of the land and surrounding waters, and what's in season, from her mother and First Nations Elders. This new edition includes over 20 extra bush foods with all new photography and Samantha's own artwork.



The last daughter: a true story of love, loss, and reconnection

When Brenda Matthews was two years old, she and her siblings were taken from their parents. For the next five years she was a much-loved daughter in a white family, a happy child in a country town on the outskirts of Sydney, unaware of the existence of her Aboriginal family or how hard her parents were fighting for her return-unaware of her Aboriginal identity. Then, she was suddenly returned to her Aboriginal family, the last daughter to come home.

Jimmy Little: a Yorta Yorta man

At just 16 years of age, Jimmy Little travelled to Sydney to make his radio debut on Australia's Amateur Hour, and success soon followed. In the face of discrimination and racism, Jimmy went on to woo the nation with his immense talent, charm, and heart. Jimmy's songs consistently topped the music charts with music that crossed multiple genres: from pop to country, folk songs, and bush ballads. And now, his daughter Frances Peters-Little tells the full story behind her father's inspiring ascent to stardom. Interwoven with Frances' account of her father's life are Jimmy's personal reflections on the moments that made him, taken from several extensive interviews the pair had before Jimmy's death in 2012.

Black and blue: a memoir of racism and resilience

The story of an Aboriginal woman who worked as a police officer and fought for justice both within and beyond the Australian police force. A proud Kurnai woman, Veronica Gorrie grew up dauntless, full of cheek and a fierce sense of justice. After watching her friends and family suffer under a deeply compromised law-enforcement system, Gorrie signed up for training to become one of a rare few Aboriginal police officers in Australia. In her ten years in the force, she witnessed appalling institutional racism and sexism, and fought past those things to provide courageous and compassionate service to civilians in need, many Aboriginal themselves.

Daughter of the river country

From a victim of the 'stolen generations' comes a remarkable memoir of abuse, survival - and ultimately hope. Born in country NSW in the 1940s, baby Dianne is immediately taken from her Aboriginal mother. Raised in the era of the White Australia policy, Dianne grows up believing her adoptive Irish mother, Val, is her birth mother. Val promises Dianne that one day they will take a trip and she will 'tell her a secret'. But before they get the chance, Val tragically dies.

The legacy of Douglas Grant: a notable Aborigine in war and peace: a historical biography

Douglas was born to Indigenous parents and, as an infant, was the sole survivor of a cruel massacre in northern Queensland. As an adult, he was a charismatic speaker on Aboriginal rights, but spoke with a distinct Scottish burr. Why was this so? He was rescued by a kindly Scottish immigrant and brought up and well educated in the Scottish way in Sydney's leafy suburb of Annandale. Highly successful at school, he became a leading engineering draftsman at Mort's Dock Company in Balmain and, later, a wool classer at "Belltrees" station near Scone in the Hunter Valley of NSW.


Adult Fiction

The great undoing

How long can you run from a lie, if that lie is what your life is founded on? In a near future all identity information is encoded in digital language. Nations know where everyone is, all the time. Not everyone agrees with this constant surveillance, and when the system is hijacked and shut down, all global borders are closed. The world is no longer connected, and there is no back-up plan to establish belonging, ownership, or trade. Scarlet Friday, whose job is to correct historical record, is stranded on the wrong side of the globe. Befriended by a stranger, she grabs an old, faded history book and writes her own version over the top - a record of the Great Undoing on the run.


Two extraordinary Indigenous stories set five generations apart. When Mulanyin meets the beautiful Nita in Edenglassie, their saltwater people still outnumber the British. As colonial unrest peaks, Mulanyin dreams of taking his bride home to Yugambeh Country, but his plans for independence collide with white justice. Two centuries later, fiery activist Winona meets Dr Johnny. Together they care for obstinate centenarian Grannie Eddie, and sparks fly, but not always in the right direction. What nobody knows is how far the legacies of the past will reach into their modern lives.

The yield

The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha. Knowing that he will soon die, Albert 'Poppy' Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind. August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather's death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief, and burdened with all she tried to leave behind.

Dark as last night

Dark as Last Night confirms, once again, that Tony Birch is a master of the short story. These exceptional stories capture the importance of human connection at pivotal moments in our lives, whether those occur because of the loss of a loved one or the uncertainties of childhood. In this collection we witness a young girl struggling to protect her mother from her father's violence, two teenagers clumsily getting to know one another by way of a shared love of music, and a man mourning the death of his younger brother, while beset by memories and regrets from their shared past.


When a tragic bushfire puts two kids in hospital, Indigenous teenager Andrew knows the police will come after him first. But Andrew almost wants to be caught, because at least it might make his dad come and rescue him from suburban Brisbane and his neglectful mother. Growing up in small-town Tasmania, Andrew struggled at home, at school, at everything. The only thing that distracted or excited him was starting little fires. Flames boosted his morale and purified his thoughts, and they were the only thing in his life he could control. Until one day things got out of hand, and Andrew was forced to leave everything behind. Now as the police close in and Andrew runs out of people to turn to, he must decide whether he can put his faith in himself to find a way forward.



Wombat, mudlark & other stories

From a falling star to a lonely whale, an entertaining lizard to an enterprising penguin, these Indigenous stories are full of wonder, adventure, and enduring friendships. Told in the style of traditional teaching stories, these animal tales take young readers on adventures of self-discovery and fulfilment.

Sister heart

A young Aboriginal girl is taken from the north of Australia and sent to an institution in the distant south. There, she slowly makes a new life for herself and, in the face of tragedy, finds strength in new friendships. Poignantly told from the child's perspective, Sister Heart affirms the power of family and kinship.

Wongutha tales: Bawoo stories & Badudu stories

Four wonderful traditional teaching stories of the Wongutha people, plus May O'Brien's stories about her early life as a Mission child, are collected here for a new generation of junior readers. First published as individual titles in 1992, May O'Brien's stories were ground-breaking publications, presenting traditional Indigenous stories in a bilingual text and giving a unique insight into learning English as a second language from a First Nations perspective. The stories are still as fresh and appealing as ever, and May's simple pronunciation guide for Wongutha words are perfect learning activities for the classroom.

The broken rainbow

When Nerra's great-grandmother passes away, she leaves a box of artefacts to Nerra. Nerra is drawn to the clapsticks which glow red hot, and when she picks them up, she is transported back in time. Dreaming is out of balance and a hero needs to help. Bineal and Pirnbial, husband and wife of the rainbow, have been split apart and captured by the evil Devour'ena. With the help of the Keeper of Clean Sand and Clear Water and the cleverman, Bobbinary, can Nerra reunite the rainbow and bring Dreaming back into balance?

Wylah the Koori Warrior: Custodians

Wylah has already accomplished the unbelievable feat of uniting the five Guardians, but her journey is far from over. Together with her megafauna friends, she must travel through the treacherous and forbidden Valley of the Spirits to face off against the Dragon Army. Can Wylah defeat the perils that lay ahead and become the ultimate Koorie Warrior?


Junior Non-Fiction

Always was, always will be

'Each protest has been a stepping stone to the next battle...' From the very first protest of January 26th as a Day of Mourning in 1938, to the Pilbara Strike of 1946, to the struggle for the right to vote and be counted; the fight for justice for First Nations people takes many forms. Always Was, Always Will Be takes a closer look at some of the iconic First Peoples protest movements of the last 200 years, celebrating the strength, wisdom, and bravery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people defending their land and asserting their right to self-determination through history.

This book thinks ya deadly!: a celebration of blak excellence

Written by Corey Tutt, author of The First Scientists, this book features the profiles of 80 Blakfellas who are doing deadly things across sport, art, activism, and science, through to politics, education, and literature. It showcases the careers and Corey's personal stories of First Nations People who have done great things in their respective fields, including Professor Marcia Langton, Miranda Tapsell, Tony Armstrong, Dr Anita Heiss, Danzal Baker (Baker Boy), Adam Goodes and Blak Douglas. Molly Hunt's deadly illustrations make this book the perfect gift for all ages. A celebration of Blak excellence, it will inspire future generations to create change and leave readers to ponder, 'What makes ME deadly?'

Come together: things every Aussie kid should know about the First Peoples

In this book, Isaiah, a Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara man, establishes a foundation of First Nations knowledge with 20 key topics and connects us to each topic through his own personal story and culture, from the importance of Elders to the Dreaming.

Welcome to country: an introduction to our first peoples for young Australians

Written by one of Australia's most prominent Indigenous voices, Welcome to Country is essential reading for every young Australian. The chapters cover prehistory, post-colonial history, language, kinship, knowledge, art, performance, storytelling, native title, the Stolen Generations, making a rightful place for First Australians and looking to the future for Indigenous Australia. This book is for the new Australian generations and works towards rectifying the wrongs of this country's past. You will quickly appreciate how lucky we are to be the home of the world's oldest continuing civilisation - which is both diverse and thriving in Australia today.


Young Adult

Robert runs

Robert Runs is a fast-paced thriller based on the author's great-great grandfather, Robert 'Goupong' Anderson, who was once the fastest man in Australia and world-record holder. Goupong, his little sister Dot, and his best friend Jonathan belong to the Ugarapul people, the Green Tree Frog tribe, and live with their families and others within the harsh confines of the Deebing Creek Mission a place run by the malevolent Boss Man. Goupong and Jonathan are focused on winning the mission's biggest running race that year, but when mysterious noises, unexplained occurrences and biblical events begin to plague the local area they are forced to investigate.

Unlimited futures: speculative, visionary Blak and Black fiction

Unlimited Futures is an anthology of Own Voice speculative fiction from First Nations writers and Black writers, reflecting visionary pasts, hopeful futures and the invisible ties between First Nations people and People of Colour. With contributions by Tuesday Atzinger, Flora Chol, Claire Coleman, Zena Cumpston, Lisa Fuller, Meleika Gasa-Fatafehi, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, Chemutai Glasheen, Genevieve Grieves, Rafeif Ismail, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Laniyuk, Maree McCathy Yoelu, Jasmin McGaughey, SJ Minniecon, Sisonke Msimang, Merryana Salem, Mykaela Saunders, Aisha Trambas, Alison Whittaker, and Jasper Wyld.

Tracks of the missing

Deklan 'Dek' Archer and his mates arrive at school to a tense atmosphere. 'Old Mate', Mr Henry, who has lived in town for a long time, has been found murdered. To add to these worries, the Year 12s, who were on camp, are now missing. The police think there is a link between the missing students and the murder. Dek and his friends are torn. Dek and Willum, his best mate, have an important football match, the professional recruiters are in town.

The upwelling

Three misfits. Two warring spirits. One chance to save the world. Kirra is the great-granddaughter of a truth dreamer, and, like Great Nanna Clara, no-one believes her night-visions are coming true. When an end-of-the-world nightmare forces her to surf where her brother was killed, she time-slips into a place that could ruin her life, here, and in the Dreaming. Narn is the son of a well-respected Elder and holds an enviable role in his saltwater clan. Though he bears the marks of a man, many treat him like an uninitiated boy, including the woman he wants to impress. Tarni is the daughter of a fierce hunter and the custodian of a clever gift. Somehow, she understands Kirra when no-one else can.


Jono, a city-born Indigenous teenager is trying to figure out who he really is. Life in Brisbane hasn't exactly made him feel connected to his Country or community. Luckily, he's got his best friend, Jenny, who has been by his side through their hectic days at St Lucia Private. After graduating, Jono and Jenny score gigs at the Aboriginal Performing Arts Centre and an incredible opportunity comes knocking interning with a documentary crew. Their mission? To promote a big government mining project in the wild western Queensland desert. The catch? The details are sketchy, and the land is rumoured to be sacred. But who cares? Jono is stoked just to be part of something meaningful. Plus, he gets to be the lead presenter!


Picture Books

Jirntipirriny jaa lamparn parri = Willy wagtail and the little boy: a story in Walmajarri and English

One day there is a terrible bush fire and Willy Wagtail, Gusto (the wind) and Crow get all the Bush Mob to work together to save the community. For the first time, everyone understands each other, and Dingo takes charge and leads all the animals to safety. Dingo is now Boss Dog and is head of the Bush Council, with Willy Wagtail and Crow - the Bush Mob is formed.

For 60,000 years

For 60,000 years, as sure as the sun rises and rests, our people have thrived and survived. An empowering story of truth, strength, and community, told by Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman Marlee Silva and illustrated by Yamatji man Rhys Paddick.

Backyard footy

Jy is playing football alone in his small backyard in the Kimberley, but when he accidentally kicks the ball over the fence, a footy adventure begins! Footy by yourself is fun but playing with mates is better. The first title in a joyful black write! Fellowship-winning series, where the fun only grows with family and friends!

Seasons: an introduction to First Nations seasons

Have you ever been excited for summer on the first day of December, only to be disappointed when it's cold and rainy? For First Nations People, the seasons don't change when the calendar does. Instead, we look for changes in plants, animals, water, weather, and the stars to mark the start of a new season.

The emu who ran through the sky

Lofty, a young emu desperately wants to win a big emu race, but he is slow and clumsy - and his first race ends in disaster! But Lofty realises there is another way to win the race. He enlists the help of his Bush Mob friends Eagle, Sugar Glider, and Bat - who are all excellent fliers - to teach him to fly. But it is Bush Mob's inventor, Platypus, who designs the Feathery Paraglider that allows Lofty to win the day!