Book reviews: Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia & Growing Up African in Australia

I thought I’d share some more book reviews with you from my Instagram account (@siobhansimper, if you’re interested). Black Inc. books have been publishing anthologies in a Growing Up…In Australia series. The first published was Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, and there have been many more after this (Growing Up African, Queer, Asian, with a Disabled anthology on the way too!). The first two I’ve read (Growing Up Aboriginal and Growing Up African) have been such fantastic reads that I’m determined to finish the series!


A book entitled

Starting with Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, edited by Anita Heiss, a prolific author, presenter and commentator. The publisher asks the question, “what is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? This anthology, compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, showcases many diverse voices, experiences and stories in order to answer that question.”

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia  is a collection of stories from contributors ranging from artist, teachers, famous sportspeople, actors, poets and students, each telling their experience of what growing up Aboriginal means to them. My good friend had a piece in the book which makes me a less-than-partial judge, but I truly enjoyed each and every story. They were funny, beautiful, charming and heartbreaking. Highly recommend.


The book Growing Up African in Australia, edited by Maxine Beneba Clarke with Ahmed Yussuf and Magan Magan. The title is in bold black, yellow, green & red font against a photo of young Black women in black clothes with brightly coloured wraps, standing against a red brick fence with blue sky above.

Having already read and loved Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, I had high hopes for Growing Up African in Australia, which I borrowed as an ebook from my library. I wasn’t disappointed! This is a beautiful collection of stories from African-diaspora Australians.

The publisher describes these stories as being “told with passion, power and poise”, and I couldn’t agree more. I found myself gripped in every individual tale, with the evocative writing creating such clear images in my head I felt I was there with each author. Reading is generally exhausting for me, and I have to split it up among my days, but this book was so compellingly written that I finished it in a few sittings!

What I find interesting about anthologies is not only the talent present among so many different contributors, but also the common threads that weave the stories together. In Growing Up African in Australia, the common thread to me was a sense of belonging. And on a silly note, the inner 11 year old in me SQUEALED when I found out that Carole from The Saddle Club (Keenan MacWilliam) had a piece in this book!

It was just a really excellent read, and I’m looking forward to reading more in the series.

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

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