Right now in Canada, we are in the process of Indigenous reconciliation which includes among others, a greater awareness and promotion of Indigenous heritage and stories throughout Canada, making it accessible to all.
In recognition of that, I’m making it a point to read with my child on Indigenous heritage from around the world. And one of the memorable ones we read recently was this one: Sun Mother Wakes the World: An Australian Creation Story.
Due to how long the story is, this book is more suitable for older children, say, 5-8 years old. Younger kids may take this literally and won’t understand the mythical nature of this story. Nor will they understand the Indigenous peoples experience with Colonialism & how it threatened the very existence of their milleniums-long heritage.
Every society has their own take on the Creation myth, attempting to answer fundamental human questions like: when did it all begin? how did life happen? why were we even created? The ancient Egyptians tried to answer this with Isis and Osiris, the Abrahamic religions with Adam & Eve stories created by One God, and here it is with the Sun Mother.
The stylized and brightly coloured illustrations with their geometric patterns are different than what we are used to seeing in kids book. It is incredible! The story and the language itself, I found was lengthy and stilted, so the illustrations have to work double-time to hold your child’s attention. The illustrations make the book worth reading, imho.
Talk to your child that even with all the differences in our cultural traditions and languages, we are all essentially the same and try to find the answers to the same questions.
What creation stories are you and your child aware of? Discuss the similarities and differences between the two. Discuss why history, geography and environment could have contributed to the differences?
How is the creation story written out here similar or different to the scientific explanation of the Big Bang Theory (no, I don’t mean the awful sitcom of the same name).
It’s a great idea in general to read books featuring diversity in characters, lifestyles and situations to your children. It helps them to get to know the broader world. I have reviewed some other diverse books such as my favourite: Mommy’s Khimar, more will be coming of course!