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Harmony Week (Monday 21 – Sunday 27 March 2022) celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity.  It is about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone, regardless of cultural background.  Australia is a vibrant and multicultural country – from the oldest continuous culture of our first Australians to the cultures of our newest arrivals from around the world.  Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are – it makes Australia a great place to live.  

Our children celebrate Harmony Week in various ways in childcare centres, playgroups, kindergartens and schools across the country and families can bring these conversations into their homes using the wide range of beautiful picture books available that celebrate diversity, difference, unity, understanding and belonging.

“Whoever You Are” by our beloved Mem Fox is a celebration of diverse childhoods, and the essential things that make us all the same. Bold and colourful illustrations take the reader around the world, across cultures and generations and remind children to accept differences, recognise similarities and that to celebrate both.   

harmony day books

“Wide Big World” by award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke, examines and then celebrates difference in all its many and varied forms.  The simple language and bright, inviting illustrations take the reader on a journey with school friends, Izzy and Belle, to discover all the differences surrounding them – from people (hairy, tall, cute) to nature (the sun is hot and bright and the rain is cool and clean).

harmony day books

Another wonderful picture book from Mem Fox, “I’m Australian Too”, explores the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have called Australia home for more than 60,000 years to European settlers and more recent arrivals.  The detailed pictures (have a look at the end papers and compare the front and the back) and rhyming text communicate a simple but powerful message about diversity and inclusion and children will be able to see themselves and their friends and neighbours, represented in this beautiful book.

harmony day books

Iasou! That’s hello in Greek!  This beautiful book, “Hello” by Tony Flowers, is an introduction to the 12 languages spoken most frequently in Australian homes and three Indigenous languages.  Child characters teach the reader how to count to 10, say hello and goodbye and introduce lots of other words in their language about play, food, hobbies and clothes.  Illustrated in a cartoon style, the pictures add humour and fun to language learning.  Selamat tinggal! That’s goodbye in Indonesian!

harmony day books

“Under the Love Umbrella” by Davina Bell and illustrated by Alison Colpoys is a beautiful picture book full of warm fuzzies.  The reader follws four children as they navigate the world under their love umbrellas.  No matter what they’re feeling or what they’re doing, they are assured of the love of their family, which follows them wherever they go.  This book would also be useful to a child experiencing separation anxiety or if they can’t be with their parent for some reason because the love umbrella works whether you’re with your loved ones or not.  This book will have you thinking about who is under your Love Umbrella!

harmony day books

“Room on Our Rock” by the very clever Kate and Jol Temple is one story that can be read two different ways.  Two seals are perched on a rock. When others need shelter, do they share their rock?  When read from front to back, the seals believe there is definitely no room on their rock for others. But when the book is read from back to front, the seals welcome others to shelter on their rock.   “Room on our Rock” is a picture book designed to make the reader consider one event from two different perspectives.  Children are able to see how words, when used in different tones and order can have completely different meanings, and the underlying message is about sharing and compassion.
harmony day books

“Happy in Our Skin” by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Lauren Tobia is a simple rhyming book that recognises and values diversity.  The story uses our skin to describe how people grow, how we share similar experiences and celebrates differences.  The illustrations are full of fun details that will have children engrossed and it not only features children with different skin colour but also contains characters with glasses, freckles, birth marks and a wheelchair.  

harmony day books

Remember to celebrate Harmony Week this year by wearing orange something orange!

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