The Day I Was History, by Jackie French

It was like I’d been knocked flat even though I was standing up. It was like the bushfires were back again in my head, like they are in dreams sometimes. And this old lady, well, older than Mum anyway, came up and said, ‘Are you alright?’

When Sam and his family go to visit the National Museum, he doesn’t expect to find an exhibit that represents an event he himself was involved in. But there it is – a charred hubcap from a fire truck burnt in the Canberra fires in January, 2003. Suddenly, Sam is revisiting his memory of the terrible day when the fires came from the hills and Canberra burned.

The Day I Made History is a child character’s version of the events of those fires, told in Sam’s first person voice. Sam tells the story as he remembers it, but also enables the reader to understand what happened.

Part of the Making Tracks series, which brings history to life for primary aged readers, this offering has the added bonus of getting readers to consider what it is that makes an event history, dealing as it does with events which have happened within readers’ lifetimes.

The Day I Made History, by Jackie French
National Museum of Australia Press, 2007