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Fair Skin Black Fella By Renee Fogorty | Book review for teachers.

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

Today, I would like to acknowledge the Yuggera people as the Traditional Custodians of the beautiful land I am standing on today. From the mountains to the river, I open my heart and my eyes as I walk this land, listening, learning and caring for Country. I want to extend this respect to Elders; past, present and emerging and to all First Nations peoples reading this post today. We are all remembered here.

* Please know that this post is not sponsored. Each blog post is based on my own experiences, opinions, and what I have been taught, and does not represent all First Nations peoples. Connecting with your local First Nations Community is always the most respectful way for you to embed First Nations content specific to your area.

This blog post is shared with you today as a part of the Wingaru Heal Country Challenge and the focus area of 'Overcoming bias'. Remember to head over to the Wingaru Education website to check out all of their incredible and FREE resources for the challenge that you can use time and time again to help you embed First Nations perspectives into your everyday teaching.

© Magabala Books © Renee Fogorty

Written and illustrated as a year 12 project by the overwhelmingly talented Renee Fogorty; a descendent of the Wiradjuri people from the Lachlan River region of central NSW. Renee was motivated to write Fair Skin Black Fella to "explore issues that face young Indigenous Australians."

Set on a 'red and dusty cattle station', Fair Skin Black Fella follows the journey of a young Koori girl named Mary, who the other kids on the station won't play with.

"You're not Koori, you're not like us. Your skin is light, ours is dark. Your hair is straight and fair, ours is curly and black!"

Fair Skin Black Fella, is a gorgeously simple children's books that explores the diverse complexities of Aboriginal identity in today's society, in a way that is easy for students in grades as low as kindergarten / Prep / Foundation and as high as high school to understand.

The simple yet powerful illustrations, reflect the text really well, making it a great guide and support your student's in understanding the feelings and emotions that Mary is feeling and gives them an opportunity to make connections to their own life experiences.

The thoughtful use of Wiradjuri words throughout Fair Skin Black Fella will be easy and intriguing for your students to comprehend as they translate to simple every day words children of younger age groups are familiar with, such as; mother and father and again contribute to a much needed discussion and breaking down of stereotypes.

I love how Fair Skin Black Fella shares with its readers, the respected role of Elders in Community through the wise, friend and neighbour of Mary; Old Ned, as the children listen to his words of wisdom and knowledge.

"It doesn't matter if you're a black fella or a white fella. It is how you feel in your heart and soul which is important".

Whether you are teaching kindergarten / prep / foundation or year 3, Fair Skin Black Fella is a much needed addition to all classroom libraries to highlight the important themes of; identity, respect, loneliness / friendship, Elders, Aboriginal Culture and artwork and will be a fundamental addition to your ever growing collection of First Nations children's books.

How can you use Fair Skin Black Fella in your classroom?

As with most books from Magabala Books, you can find a FREE full set of teacher notes, which has been so generously complied by Magabala Books to make it super simple for you to use Fair Skin Black Fella in your classroom. These teacher notes are full of lesson ideas that are linked straight to the curriculum and like I said; are free for you to download from the Magabala Books website.

Here are some of my favourite lessons from the Magabala Books Teacher Notes that I have created into a visual format and linked up with the 8 Ways Aboriginal Pedagogy to make it super simple for you to embed into your programs.

Want to buy Fair Skin Black Fella?

Fair Skin Black Fella is published by Australia's leading First Nations Publishing house Magabala Books. You can purchase Fair Skin Black Fella directly from Magabala Books, which helps support their growth as a not for profit organisation, to share our mobs stories with the world, and to help you to embed First Nations perspectives into your teaching.

Thank you!

I want to take a minute to express how deeply grateful I am to Renee Fogorty and the incredible team at Magabala Books for allowing me to share Fair Skin Black Fella with you today and thank you for continuing to create and share all of your work and talents with us! I would like to extend this thanks and appreciation to acknowledge all of the Ancestors, Elders and Community for passing down the knowledge to Renee and the incredible minds and hands that have blessed this book. Having a children's book that explores these important topics with our young people is just so important and to be able to celebrate our people, cultures, histories and languages in the classroom by embedding incredible books just like Fair Skin Black Fella, really do positively shape our students and the way they will shape and lead our country for the future.

I would also like to thank Aunty Lesley Woodhouse and her deadly as team from Wingaru Education for creating and inviting me to be a part of the Wingaru Heal Country Challenge. It is always an honour to work with you and I am always in awe of the support you provide to teachers on their journey of embedding First Nations perspectives and your resources are just incredible! Thank you.

Your part in our community

I feel so honoured to be able to share all of these incredible resources with you but I also believe it is important for us all to share with each other, to help us grow as teachers and support each other in our individual journeys too. If you found this post helpful, then reach out and share it with a teacher friend or you can share something in the comments to help another member of our incredible teaching community.

Thank you so much for spending this time with me and as always, happy embedding!


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