Children's Fiction

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Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937

Anita Heiss

2001

Who Am I? is the fictional diary of a young Aboriginal girl, Mary Talence, a member of the Stolen Generation.

The Sister in charge of Bomaderry Aboriginal Children’s Home gave her a diary. Through its pages she describes her life – from her arrival there, aged five, through her struggle to understand why she was taken from her real mother, to her adoption at ten years of age by a white Catholic family in St Ives.

Mary is increasingly confused and ashamed as she is taught that white skinned is good, black skinned is bad. She longs to understand why this is so but finds that almost any questions provoke anger and accusations of ingratitude from the Burkes, her white adoptive family.