Come Together – Things Every Aussie Kid Should Know about the First Peoples
Written by Isaiah Firebrace, illustrated by Jaelyn Biumaiwai, and designed by Keisha Leon
Come Together is an instant must-read! The book explores the beautiful and traditional culture of First Nations People. The book is penned by proud Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara man Isaiah Firebrace. You may know Firebrace from his 2016 XFactor Australia win, and from placing in the top ten in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Importantly, Firebrace authored this book to help Aussies understand more about First Nations People and the true history of Australia. We think that children and adults alike will be able to take away many important learnings from this book! Our team at The Pyjama Foundation office certainly came away richer in the knowledge after reading Come Together!
Jaelyn Biumaiwai illustrates this book with heart, and makes each learning come alive. Biumaiwai is of Mununjali and Fijian descent, and calls the Gold Coast home. Her work highlights the heroes and innovators that the First Nations People were.
Further, bringing the words and illustrations together is designer Keisha Leon. Leon is a First Nations artist who brings ideas to life with her creative consultancy Leon Design. Leon, on a 12 days of giving until Christmas journey, paid a visit to The Pyjama Foundation office to donate gifts for the children in our Love of Learning program. Not only did Leon donate gifts, but was also kind enough to donate a copy of this book!
What did we learn from Come Together?
While this book has lots of incredible teachings stacked within the pages, we wanted to highlight five that stood out to us!
- First Nations People are the oldest continuous culture in the world. They have a culture and history that has been alive for at least 65,000 years. It should be noted, the First Nations’ culture is even older than that of Ancient Egypt! It’s incredible to learn that there is so much rich knowledge, language and beliefs that still have life today!
- Firebrace shares that First Nations People create a musical map of the land to move across Country and remember which direction to go – this musical map is called Songlines!
- Each First Nations clan has its own animal totem, and no clan is allowed to hunt or harm their animal totem. It is believed that totems are ancestors who have come back to life as animals. Firebrace shares in the book that he has two totems – Badja Bayaderra, the freshwater long-necked turtle, from his father’s side (Yorta Yorta Country) and Wilarn, the yellow-tailed black cockatoo, from his mother’s side (Gunditjmara Country)!
- For thousands of years, First Nations People have been able to read stars and use them as maps. They can understand upcoming weather and seasons just by observing the stars. They are some of the first astronomers in existence!
- The Australian Football League (AFL) was inspired by a First Nations game called Marngrook! Marngrook is a game that has built connections between communities and clans for generations.
Where can I find a copy of Come Together?
You can purchase this book now from most bookstores, including at Kmart, Big W and Dymocks! For more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources, visit our resource page here.
The Pyjama Foundation acknowledges and pays respect to the Turrbal people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future, and we extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.