8 brilliant stories to help kids learn about Indigenous Australians

Kinderling News & Features

The history of our nation is a messy one, and a hard one to discuss with small children – but it’s important that we seek the truth and nurture kindness in young Australians. If you’re looking for a good way to start to do this, books have a wonderful ability to start spreading awareness, appreciation and respect for the culture of our traditional land owners.

Stories offer a chance to celebrate the achievements and creations of a rich and ancient culture, and lay a path towards healing the historical wounds suffered by our Indigenous community. And when it comes to kids’ stories, Indigenous Australians sure have made some beautiful ones.

Did you know that in the 'Stories' section of the Kinderling app we have a 'First Nations Stories' section? It's devoted to sharing traditional Dreamtime stories and books by Indigenous Australian authors. If you're keen for your child to start hearing these stories, download the app and check out the full list. Otherwise, we've rounded up a few of our all-time favourites here!

1. The Sacred Hill

Written and illustrated by Indigenous Australian artist Gordon Hookey, who belongs to the Waanyi people of Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The Sacred Hill is a story about four kangaroos who are happy living on the sacred hill until some rowdy myna birds disturb the peace. The roos are forced to leave their land, but thoughts of the hill are never far away. Soon they unite, embarking on an adventure that will lead them back home to the sacred hill.

Listen now:

2. Dreamers

By Ezekiel Kwaymullina, who is from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

This beautiful story is really brought to life through the  illustrations of Sally Morgan, and uses vivid language to celebrate the imagination of children. They may be small, but they are connected to their world – its stories and its songs – in a wonderful and special way.

Listen now:

3. Black Snake

By Aunty Jacinta Tobin, a musician and Darug descendant of the Aboriginal people of the Greater Sydney Region.

This is a traditional D'harawal Dreaming story about how the red-bellied black snake got its fangs. Before listening, talk to your kids about how the traditional land owners of Australia used to make up stories to make sense of the world around them.

Listen now:

4. Caterpillar and Butterfly

By Ambelin Kwaymullina, from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Another story by the wonderful Ambelin Kwaymullina, and this one's about a caterpillar that is afraid of everything! Listen as she goes on a journey of self-discovery and courage. 

Listen now:

5. Little Koala Lost

By Blaze Kwaymullina, who belongs to the Palyku and Nyamal peoples of the Pilbara region in north-west Western Australia.

A little koala is trying to find his way home, but on the way he meets all sorts of animals. This sweet counting book is set in the Australian bush and will help kids learn about our native landscape and animals. 

6. We All Sleep

By Ezekiel Kwaymullina, who is from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia, and Sally Morgan, from the Palyku and Nyamal peoples of the Pilbara in Western Australia.

What better way to fall asleep than with a bedtime story set in the Australian bush!

7. Don't Wake The Dingo

By award-winning Australian First Nations author/illustrator Sally Morgan, from the Palyku and Nyamal peoples of the Pilbara in Western Australia.

Seeking shelter from a wild storm, a few sodden animals sneak anxiously past sleeping Dingo. But what will happen when he wakes up?

8. How Frogmouth Found Her Home

By Ambelin Kwaymullina, from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Frogmouth is searching for a new place to nest, but nothing is quite right. She helps other animals find their true homes, but will she find hers? A story about friendship, family and identity.

Want to keep the cultural education going? Listen to our Get Down, Get Deadly mixtape - full of great songs that celebrate our indigenous community: