My Deadly Boots

Written by Carl Merrison and Hekea Hustler 

Illustrated by Samantha Campbell  

My Deadly Boots is a thoughtful and empowering story about finding confidence within yourself. The book comes from the award-winning authors of Black Cockatoo, Carl Merrison & Hakea Hustler. In the book the main character, an Aboriginal boy, saves up all his money so that he can purchase a pair of colourful footy boots. The boy immediately falls in love with the boots that have spikes on the bottom and are his favourite colour – yellow!  

The boy affectionately refers to his boots as making him too deadly. In these boots the boy feels like he can reach his goals and dream big. The boots allow him to jump higher, run faster and keep up with his healthy lifestyle of playing sports. Even a friend of his wants to swap boots! 

However, the boy starts to face issues when wearing his boots. First, his teacher tells him he should wear school shoes instead of boots. The boy is then stopped by a policeman who questions where he got his boots. He stands his ground and wonders why his boots make others ask questions.  

A colourful orange book with yellow shoes and the text 'My Deadly Boots' lies on green grass.

The boy then goes fishing with his uncle and decides to leave his favourite boots next to a tree. When he goes back to get his shoes, he can’t find them anywhere! He feels like he is starting to lose his self-confidence. His grandfather sits him down and explains that with or without his boots, he will always be too deadly. In the end, the boy’s mum has found his boots and returns them! Luckily, the boy has now learnt that he is just as special with his boots as he is without them.  

Thank you to Merrison and Hustler for creating a story with both universal themes and an Indigenous perspective. Campbell’s illustrations feature the beautiful dusty reds and earthy greens of the Australian outback, as well as lively drawings of different characters made up of vibrant, fun colours.  

The messaging in My Deadly Boots are about finding self-confidence and loving your identity, in addition to the commentary on the treatment of Australia’s Indigenous youth, is both important and provokes thought. This is a must read for all children as a lesson on finding your own voice. Trying to find self-confidence is something that both children and adults can relate to. This story is full of heart and perfect to read to children. Hopefully one day we can all feel too deadly with or without our own ‘boots’.  

You can purchase this book now from most bookstores, including from our friends at Riley Callie Resources! For more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources, visit our resource page here.