Books & Literature

Book Review: Maku, by Meyne Wyatt

CHILDREN’S BOOK: OUR STORIES is a funny, relatable and engaging new early-chapter book series that celebrates Australia’s multicultural society with authors and illustrators from a diverse range of backgrounds.

A great first novel/chapter book for the early reader about a boy learning about his First Nations history.

Randa Abdel-Fattah has created a series of books that she hopes “will offer early readers engaging, thought provoking, memorable, tender, funny stories, truths and lived experiences of children living on First Nations lands. It is about bringing together the messy and sometimes difficult, complicated and joyful realities of diverse lives.”

Maku is one of the first two books to be published in this series, called Our Stories. Two more books will be published in August 2022 to continue the series.

Meyne Wyatt is an award-winning performer, writer and director. His television and film credits include: Redfern Now, The Preppers, The Sapphires, The Turning and Strangerland. He also wrote and starred in his first play, City of Gold.

Maku is the story of a little boy who loves any movie with a hero. He also loves to pretend to be a hero. His family situation has meant that he has had to move around to different schools and he doesn’t live with his mum and dad. Understandably, he has found it difficult to fit in and make friends. All it takes for him to feel worthwhile is a teacher who supports him.

And then his grandparents pick him up to take him on camping holiday in the bush. As well as helping him with his weekend homework, the experience teaches him about his Indigenous heritage and the Dreamtime. He also learns about the ceremony which will begin his journey to becoming a man. Maku also touches on the Stolen Generation.  

The thirteen chapters in the book, large print, and black-and-white illustrations, also by Wyatt, make this a perfect first novel for the early reader. Occasional words in large bold print and the notes Maku makes for his school project successfully break up the text.

Maku is a story about how everyone deserves to be with their family in the place that feels like home.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: April 2022
RRP: $12.99

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