Mary lives with the Burkes, but they’re not her real family. She hasn’t seen her real mum and dad since she was taken away from them five years ago. Everyone tells her to forget about them, but she can’t. She wants to find out why she was taken, and where she really belongs.
Before I turn the first page, I know this book is going to be heart-wrenching. But that is what makes it important. Mary’s story is just one that makes up the history of Australia’s Stolen Generation and learning about it, one story at a time, gives me hope that nothing like that will ever happen again.
Written in the form of a diary, Who Am I, is a memior of sorts. We get to see what life is like in a Home for Aboriginal Children. It is written softly, perfect for younger readers to be able to absorb and process.
Who Am I, is easy to read, broken into easy to process sections and feels so authentic and real. Heiss uses language that brings an authenticity to Mary as well as introducing words from the Aboriginal language.
Mary is a wonderful character. Her innocence and inquiring nature shine through making her so easy to like. It is heart breaking to see Mary getting told to forget her life before the Burkes. To stop going in the sun because it will make her skin darker, to stop speaking to other Aborinal people. They were trying to make her someone she wasn’t.
I devoured this book in one sitting. The pages flew through my fingers. It was such an honest book about a controversial and discriminatory part of Australia’s history.
Thank you so much to Scholastic Australia for sending me a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.