Took The Children Away by Archie Roach

Here is what the QBD crew thought of Took The Children Away by Archie Roach… 

Took The Children Away is a heart-wrenching and important picture book for all ages centred around the lyrics from seminal Australian songwriter Archie Roach AM. The iconic and deeply personal song about the Stolen Generation won a prestigious Australian Human Rights Award and is taken from the 1990 multi-ARIA award-winning debut album Charcoal Lane. Marking the 30th anniversary since the song’s release, the emotional pull of the lyrics are elevated by the poignant illustrations of Ruby Hunter, Archie’s lifelong partner and soulmate who passed away in 2010. This book is their last collaboration together. A defiant couple who met while homeless teenagers sharing the same devastating history. Both were victims of Australia’s cruel past and were taken away as children from their families.

Following the evocative drawings that accompany the lyrics are family photographs spanning thirty-seven years together. The selection includes candid family life with their children that sit beside the only photographs they own of family members they never really knew. Archie writes with a warm appreciation of his time with Elders who helped him discover his family heritage. Readers will be taken by ‘NO:RI has landed’ a strikingly and commanding portrait of Pelican or ’Ngarrindje’, Ruby’s Dreaming spirit.

For both Ruby and Archie, music has guided their healing and through storytelling, Archie shares that he never imagined that ‘Took The Children Away’ would go onto become a healing song not only for our First Nations’ but also first nations’ in Canada. This significant offering to the publishing world is a cherished story of survival, love and foremost the full circle of family and togetherness that everyone needs.

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