The first thing that you will notice in this picture book are the end pages, adorned with Australian native flowers – Gum blossoms, Wattle and Geraldton Wax flowers.
The day we built the bridge by Samantha Tidy and Fiona Burrows is a beautifully illustrated picture book that allows younger readers to explore this important timeline of Australian history.
Fitting in perfectly with any Australian history lesson, this book has a key focus around Sydney’s need for the harbour bridge. We see the journey from the bridges inception in the 1890’s until the day it was finished and celebrated in 1932.
As a key icon of Australia, many of us may not know how much thought and how much time it took for this bridge to be built. It is something we see all time time in either our passing over it or viewing it on commercials about Australia. It’s connection is not only that of two land masses but also of a community that wanted more.
The pictures in this book tell just as much of a story as the words do, and together they create a magical book that takes you back in time to a place that Sydney was.
The day we built the bridge is an excellent way for children to see the time it took for the bridge to be built and the other things that were going on whilst this all was happening. It allows them to see what children did, how families worked together and the day to day life of Australians through the war and times where money was scarce.
Stunning illustrations and poignant words will bring you back to this book again and again. It is one to share in the classroom and at home.
So what else can you do with this book?
Write down different words that you associate with commemorative events in Australia. Why is the building of the bridge so important? Are there other events just as important? Can we rank these events?
Use trove.nla.gov.au to explore images and newspaper articles from this time in Sydney and make comparisons to bg events of today.
Research how bridges were made then and how they are made now – are there any differences?
Create a timeline in your own space of the events that took place in the lead up to the bridge being created. What else can you add?
If the bridge was a different design, how might Sydney look or feel?