The Australian Football League (AFL) plays a large role in our national sporting culture, and is the best-attended sporting league in Australia. With weekly games held in the months between April and September- and with eighteen teams representing the best of Australia’s players (some people may disagree with this statement)- Aussie Rules footy has legions of fans and followers. As a result, there’s plenty of fan merchandise and paraphernalia available, including clothing, badges, drink-ware, flags and other accessories.
But some things- simple books about the teams- have been a lot harder to come by. Sure, some clubs have released big photographic books about their team histories, and there have been plenty of biographies and autobiographies written about specific players, but none of these are really appropriate for younger fans. Unlike in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, when there were several series’ available for children that featured a different football team in each book, there hasn’t really been anything released for younger readers. Until now, that is.
Lorraine Wilson, the original writer of the Footy Kids series, has now released her fifth (updated) version of the series, which features realistically-drawn illustrations by the talented Dave Follett.
This new generation of books follow a similar format to the originals, with a young child explaining their love for the game, and the particular team they follow. They talk about their favourite players, tell about famous club players who have now retired (and would likely have been the main stars in the original series’) and explain their game day rituals with family and friends. All sorts of kids are represented- boys, girls, white, black, athletic and non-athletic- showing the diversity of the people who follow the sport. The illustrations of the players (past and present), coaches, sporting grounds and awards are quite life-like and easily recognisable if you follow AFL. The lyrics to the club song feature at the end of each book (although true fans should already know the words by heart), and the last page gives a list of team stats (updated to the end of the 2014 season) which include club medal winners, premiership statistics, winning and losing margins, attendance, home ground records and much more.
These books are perfect for younger fans of the game, and provide a nice little memento for people who barrack for a particular team.
In case you’re unaware, the following is a list of the team books available (in no particular order):
Gold Coast Suns
Greater Western Sydney Giants
West Coast Eagles