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Sorry Day; teacher book review and free matching resources.

Updated: May 17, 2022

© NLA Publishing © Coral Vass © Dub Leffler

As this time of year rolls around, we find many teachers looking for ways to embed First Nations perspectives into their teaching through different calendar events just like Sorry Day. Now, as you know, I love sharing First Nations resources with you but sometimes there can be so many great ones out there that it can become a little overwhelming for some teachers. So, to keep it super simple for you, today's blog post i

s going to share with you a tonne of incredible ways you can use Sorry Day written by Coral Vass and illustrated by Dub Leffler, in your classroom and link in some quality matching resources, to really support your teaching of this remarkable book and your teaching of Sorry Day.

Ok... Let's review!

Sorry Day; a stunningly powerful children's book, with stories that artfully weave together to share; the importance of truth telling and reconciliation. Sorry Day is a must have for every teacher.

About the book

This, powerfully written and illustrated children's book shares with your students; the past wrongs endured by First Nations peoples, families and Communities as a result of the Stolen Generations and a 'willingness to make things right'.

Through the soulful eyes and playful mind of Maggie, two stories are woven together:

A part of our history, that continues to impact Community to this day; 'long ago and not so long ago, the children were taken away',

And a present; as Maggie and her mother prepare for the excitement of the public address by (then) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd; the Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples.

The text

Sorry Day is artfully written by Coral Vass, and I just love how she has been able to so eloquently weave these two important stories together, to create a children's book that acknowledges the wrongs that were made, through truth telling, in a way that is easy for our students to understand and simple for teachers to embed into their teaching.

The Illustrations

They say 'eyes are the windows to the soul', and as you stare into the eyes of Maggie on the front cover of this stunning book, you can really take a moment to appreciate the captivating depths of the illustrations, that make this children's book so much more than just another children's book. These illustrations were created by Dub Leffler, a proud First Nations illustrator and artist, and a descendent of the Bigambul people of south-west Queensland. His work is truly iconic and deserves a place in all classrooms, as they truly do tell their own story through visual literacy and with every brush stroke there is personal connection and story on each and every page.

Matching Sorry Day Resources

Coral very kindly houses the Sorry Day Teacher's Notes on her website. These notes are 12 pages in length and cover lesson ideas for years 3 - 6 on the subjects of a wide range of topics and subject areas, and are free for you to download and use in your classroom. So definitely head over and download you copy.

Another great resource and one way that I love to explore the story behind illustrators and their illustrations for particular books is; through sharing with my students different 'behind the scenes' or interviews that the illustrator may have been involved in. In an interview with Irma Gold, titled; 'Dub Leffler in Conversation with Irma Gold'.

"Dub takes us behind the scenes on his creative process for Sorry Day and Strangers on Country and gives us an insight into the publishing process, which is particularly invaluable for emerging picture book creators wanting to understand the nuts and bolts of it all."

Another great resource for Sorry Day and exploring the story behind the illustration, is a read-a-loud clip on Youtube with Dub Leffler from the National Library of Australia. I really love this resource, because not only are the students able to listen to the story being read by someone who was a part of creating the book, but Dub also asks questions throughout the story, which poses some really great questions to the listeners and points for discussion, for your students to think about and for teachers to take onboard, when you are also reading this book with your class. The highlight of this video for me was for sure, the surprise art lesson at the end. Dub very generously shares an art activity that gives you a behind the scenes look at how he created the sepia 'past' pages of Sorry Day using coffee and salt. He gives you a complete lesson in how to do this and you could quite easily embed this into your Art program. Which I know, is something that a lot of you are keen for and ask a lot of questions about.

If you teach year 6 then you are lucky enough to have access to a very detailed and free set of 4 - 5 weeks of lesson plans and activities, created by the incredible team at Reading Australia. These lessons cover:

  • Exploring the text in context

  • Exploring, plot, character, setting and themes

  • Examining text structure and organisation

  • Creating texts

All of these are accompanied by rich tasks and are linked to the Australian Curriculum.

More about the author and illustrator

For more information about Coral Vass and her wonderful work you can check out her website and to view Dub Leffler's biography and more of his stunning work you can find this on the Magabala Books website.


I really hope that today's post has shared some different ways for you to embed Sorry Day into your teaching and has made embedding First Nations perspectives into your daily teaching a little bit easier. If you would like to purchase this Sorry Day, then please use my affiliate link to support my Community Collab with Riley Callie Resources (A First Nations owned business specialising in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teaching resources).

If you found today's post useful, please like this post and share it with your colleagues and I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below on how you have embedded Sorry Day into your teaching?

Thank you

A massive thank you to the National Library of Australia for allowing me to share this incredible book with you and for creating and sharing your incredible work with us all! I am personally so grateful for your time and dedication to creating such positive resources for teachers and to have book like this to share with my students. Thank you!

Do you know of a great First Nations resource?

I love seeing and sharing all of the new First Nations resources that are coming out, so if you know and use a great First Nations website or resource, that I haven't mentioned or featured in a blog post before, then I would love for you to send it through to my email so I can share it with everyone else.

Want your business or resources featured?

On the flip side, if you are a First Nations business or organisation who is interested in being featured on my blog please pop over to my contact page and send me an email, I would love to hear from you.

Want to be sent FREEBIES, new blog posts and updates?

Remember, to keep up to date with all of the new and exciting First Nations teaching resources, books and freebies I want to share with you, don't forget to join the Community email at the bottom of this page to get these updates sent straight to your email.

Finally, I have loved sharing these resources with you today and as always... Happy embedding!

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 listening or reading this post today. We are all remembered here.

* Please know that this post does contain affiliate links. 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.


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