Friday, 5 June 2015

10+ Books about The Stolen Generation

We live in an Australian outback town were 60% of the population here identify as Indigenous. On a recent trip to our local library, we met a very lovely Aboriginal women who shared with us her very personal and tragic testimony of the stolen generation and how it still effects her and her family today. Between the years of approximately 1908 and 1970 children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander decent were forcibly removed from their families. These children are referred to as The Stolen Generation. 


This lady's life story made such an impression on my son as he spent sometime talking about what he had heard and searching for more information about this dark time in Australian history. Being the visual learner that he is, we looked through our list of 30+ Films for Learning About Australian History before deciding on Rabbit Proof Fence to start with. 

We also set out together to find age-appropriate books and resources to learn more about the stolen generation.  The following are the books that we had found and read either at our local library or have brought online that have helped us learn more about the stolen generation.


Stolen Girl by Trina Saffioti and Norma MacDonald, is the story of an aboriginal girl who was taken from her family and sent to a child home. She dreams every night of going back to her family but wakes each morning still at the children's home until one day she leaves.

The book Idjhil, written by Helen Bell, is about a nine year old boy called Idjhil who lives in Western Australia. His father and grandfather taught him traditional hunting skills, he savoured the joys and challenges of living a Nyungar way of life in the bush that was his home. But his life changed when he was taken from his family in accordance with the official government policy of the time.


Remembered by Heart: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing forward by Sally Morgan is a collection of fifteen true stories about the diverse range of Aboriginal Australian experiences as a result of the devastating stolen generation. 

Stories for Simon written by Lisa Miranda Sarzin is a story about a boy called Simon who learns about the national apology to the stolen generation, who were the stolen generation and how saying sorry can help.


No Stars to Wish on by Zana Fraillon is a story about a young boy who lives in a orphanage and longs to be united with his mother, sister and grandmother back home. Although this book is more about the Forgotten Generation, children of migrants who were put into institutional care, you can still see the similarities experienced by both groups.

Audrey's Big Secret by Christine Harris is a chapter book of a story about Audrey's outback adventure when she finds a young Aboriginal girl her own aged named Janet. Janet had run away from a mission and together they think of a way to keep Janet from being taken again.


Pilawuk: When I was young by Janeen Brian is a story about the life of a young Aboriginal girl who was part of the stolen generation.

Orphaned by the Colour of My Skin: A Stolen Generation Story by Mary Terszak is a autobiography account of Indigenous woman and her search for her family, community and her identity. This book would be good for older readers (ages 10+).


The Burnt Stick by Anthony Hill is a chapter book about John Jagamarra who grew up at the Pearl Bay Mission for Aboriginal children in the far north-west. This story tells of the pain of separation and the strength of the human spirit that is truly inspirational.

My Australian Story: Who am I? by Anita Heiss is the story of an Aboriginal girl named Mary who lives with the Burke's and has not seen her real mum and dad since she was taken away from them five years ago. This story is her search to find out who she is and where she belongs.


Took the Children Away is a song written by Archie Roach about the terrible treatment of Aboriginal children from the Stolen Generation. Archie's lyrics for the song, Took the Children away, was made into a book with classic artwork were done by Archie's late wife Ruby Hunter. It will bring you to tears.

The Black Grapevine: Aboriginal Activism and the Stolen Generation by Linda Briskman is about the amazing stories of Indigenous efforts to stop children becoming part of the stolen generation and the end to government policies and practices which destroyed their families. This book is definitely for older children.

In my search I also found quite a few books for a much older audience, like myself, based on the stories and lives of the stolen generation. For me it is important to have a deeper understanding in order to guide my children in their learning and the following books have helped me with my own learning:

A guide to Australia's Stolen Generations has more information and links and you can view Stolen Generation Testimonies online.


I would love to know if you have come across other books or resources about The Stolen Generation that are not listed here. Leave a comment with your information at the end of this post so others can see too. More resources about Australian Aboriginals can be found on my pinterest board.



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2 comments:

  1. I am absolutely honored to have my short little book included on your list here, "Stolen Generation: A Short Story"! It's definitely for older kids, as it draws parallels between abortion and the genocide and trauma of the Aboriginal people, along with the Native Americans, Jews, and slaves. The content would be somewhat traumatic for young children to read, so I'm so happy that you listed it for teens. Thank you for including my book! Sincerely, Shari McGriff

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  2. Hi Suzie

    I am a Teacher Librarian in a small public high school and I was given a link to your blog. Congratulations on the amazing work you have done and are doing. The resources on your blog are incredible and the time and effort that you must dedicate to their compilation is very evident. Thank you HF

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