Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Australia to Z

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Australia to Z

Article excerpt

Title: Australia to Z

Author/illustrator: Armin Greder

Publisher: Allen & Unwin, 2016

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Australia to Z is an alphabet book with a difference. The author/ illustrator, Armin Greder, has created an alphabet book that is distinctly Australian. At the same time, there is a sense that it is a book of critique, even though most pages contain only one word--? with the beginning letter in bold. Indeed, there is a darkness about the images it contains.

As an alphabet book, each page presents an illustration of one concept with an Australian focus. For example, B is for Boat People, D for Digger, E for Esky, F for Footy. What the words and illustrations suggest, however, is that we as Australians need to take a good look at ourselves, as each illustration suggests complex meanings and the potential for deep introspection about who we are and what we do. On the book's back cover, Robyn Sheahan-Bright highlights the book's 'disquieting and potent' approach, which offers a ' "gloves off" account of Australian nationhood' and demonstrates how we 'might appear to those from other cultures'. How true those words seem to be.

The book, then, is aimed at older readers. It is certainly not an alphabet book to be used in early childhood classes. Rather, the potential for sophisticated ideas that interrogate the less romantic, even ominous, side of Australian culture suggests a secondary school audience who can delve into the meanings of the illustrations. …

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