The Inheritance
Armin Greder
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 9781760526788
Awards Year: 2022
Category: Picture Book of the Year


'All this will soon be yours, respect what I have built and make it prosper.'

These are the last words of the old industrialist before dying. While the three brothers discuss how to fulfil their father's wishes, the sister lists for them the disastrous consequences that would follow: disease; marine pollution; deforestation; the destruction of the landscape; pollution of skies and rivers…

The Inheritance tells of the greed of those who hold economic power, and reminds us that silence and inaction amount to complicity. With minimal text, this powerful story is told primarily through Armin Greder's distinctive illustrations that challenge the reader to question the status quo and fight for the future.

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The author says...

When I was little and felt the need to protest at a perceived injustice perpetrated against me by my elders, I would slam a door. I have grown up since but my need to protest against he offensive and intolerable is still the same. But now I draw and write to protest. This is how The Inheritance came about.

I did not chose the subject. Rather, the subject chose me: over a long time impressions accumulated and began to clamour for attention. Eventually I relented and began to get interested in the subject as a theme for a story that would express my views on the matter.

For a long time I mulled over bits and pieces that could be part of that story. I tried to find a thread along which to line them up into a coherent whole. After some time the idea of the death of the industrialist came to me, and with this I had that thread.

Now I had the What, and that left the How. What interested me in this was not at whom to direct the book but to find the optimal way to tell what wanted to be told. This concern lead to a somewhat unusual form: a traditional first part in which text and images complement each other in the telling of a story, and a second part of large, silent images that deal independently with a common theme without the conventional frame of a story.

Now the book is out. It says what I wanted to say, and in my opinion it says it well. But will it change anything?

The CBCA judges say...

A challenging and unsettling picture book expressing the deep connection between capitalism and the state of our planet within the setting of an uber wealthy family. Bleak but beautiful compressed charcoal and pastel illustrations evoke a visceral response. In this picture book for older readers the reader is invited to sit with the metaphorical and literal darkness of this chilling tale. Many older readers will be engaged with and energised by the haunting nature of the wordless pages that don’t give in to a ‘happy ending’ temptation. The bold use of negative space and ironic title will provoke much discussion.

Teaching Notes for this book...

The publisher has generously made teaching notes available for this book. Find them on their website below the blurb.

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