Young Dark Emu. A truer history by Bruce Pascoe


Published by: Magabala Books, June 2019

Price: $24.99

The book, Dark Emu, received an array of awards for the hard truth that was told between the pages of Australia’s dark history. Most people who read this book were amazed at the mistruths that we had been told in history lessons at schools, in museums around our nation and most published books.

Since this book has been released there has been a gradual humming in the air for the need to share this truth. Australia Aboriginal people did cultivate the land, they did have permanent housing, they understood and cared for the environment and they were an important part of this land.

Bruce Pascoe has now released a junior version of Dark Emu – Young Dark Emu. A truer history.

This book is written with younger readers in mind. It includes many images that match in with the facts and add more information for younger readers to wonder about.

The book is grouped into different learning areas that can be focussed on. There are chapters that focus on the different states of Australia and how the Indigenous Australians lived.

Another focuses on food production and the devastating effects sheep had on the land.

Aquaculture is explained and the expansive Brewarrina fish traps are described and shown in photography.

Food storage, the importance of fire and sacred places are discussed in words that young people can relate to and understand.

The final chapter should leave a resonating sound in any reader – that is of the possibility of a sustainable future.

Australia needs to work towards growing more crops that are adapted to the harsh and dry Australian landscape. These crops will solve our water issues and soil degradation problems that we currently have. We need to ask our government to do more about this if we want a better future for all. We need to know that the land can give us what we need if we treat it well and learn from the traditional custodians of the land.

So what can you do with this book?

  • There are media notes for Young Dark Emu. A Truer history and these contain 11 dot points that summarise issues in the book. Use these dot points as discussion starters for a whole class lesson. Once students have read their discussion point, ask them to search through current library resources that confirm or deny this fact. Justify why this viewpoint has been held for so long. Explain why this viewpoint needs to change.

  • Create a way to share this information with other children your own age so they understand the real history of Australia.


Letters to change the world

Christmas has just passed and perhaps your house is now filled with excess toys and packaging.

Over summer we have been talking about toy quality and how some last, while others don’t, which toys are great to have and which ones we will forget about in one week.

From this we have decided to write letters to toy companies and asking them to make changes to the material toys and their packaging is made out of.

I have done this in class with a group of Year 2 students so any age group can follow the following formula to make a letter be read and replied to.

Here is a suggestion of how to get children to enjoy writing letters to companies of their favourite toys…. It’s simple and allows the children to still enjoy having toys – but gets them to think about how small changes can make a big difference!

Dear (Try to find the name of the CEO),

  1. Talk about why you love their toys and all of the things you like to do with them.
  2. Give them a suggestion as to how these toys could be changed so they have less of a devastating effect on the environment.
  3. Tell them that you hope you can see a change and you are looking forward to a reply.
  4. Sign off and add a return address.

Can you inspire your child to write a letter to a company asking them to make a change for the good of the world?

Would you like Palm oil with that?

We hear about Palm Oil a lot and the devastation it can cause to rainforests.

But how do you talk to children about this so to empower them to make the right decisions?


Photo from :

Check out this graphic that shows you how the big companies are still harming the environment with their gathering of Palm Oil :


Talking about Palm Oil

  1. Look at the list of the big companies that are still causing harm to many rainforests with their consumption of Palm Oil.
  2. Open your cupboard and see if you have any products of this brand OR owned by this brand
  3. Together list alternatives to a favourite brand of yours – can you by it from someone else? Can you make it? Can you live without it?
  4. How can you raise awareness of this?

Here are some ideas:

Make a graph to show to percentage of rainforest left in the world.

Learn about the different animals who live in these rainforests.

Learn about the people who live here – what is happening to them?

Try and find some recipes so you can make your own cosmetics, chips or chocolate bars!


Big brands to avoid —–

L’Oreal owns: Maybelline New York, Garnier, Lancôme, Helena Rubinstein, BioMedic, Vichy, Biotherm, Shu Uemura, Kiehl’s, Soft Sheen-Carson, Redken, Matrix, Kerastase, Giorgio Armani, Inneov, Sanoflore, CCB Paris, Dermablend, The Body Shop, Skinceuticals, Ralph Lauren, La-Roche-Posay, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Nestle owns:

Pepsico owns: