REVIEW: Sorry Day by Coral Vass and illustrated by Duff Leffler

Published: 1st May 2018

Publisher: National Library of Australia

Pages: 32

Format: Hardback picture book (borrowed from the library)

RRP: $24.99

5/5 Stars

Sorry Day acknowledges the past and shows a willlingness to make things right. The story commemorates both the momentous speech made by the Prime Minister of Australia to say sorry to the indigenous people for past abuse and to also recognise the decades of abuse suffered by the Stolen Generation. Told through the eyes of a young girl participating in the ceremony today and, in sepia colours, the eyes of the stolen children in the past.

Sorry Day by Coral Vass and Illustrated by Dub Leffler is a remarkable book for a number of reasons. Vass and Leffler have created the perfect book that illustrates the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd’s historic 2008 speech where he apologised for the government’s policy towards Aboriginals which resulted in the stolen generation.

Within the book, this speech shows a contemporary community watching and reacting to the 2008 speech, with the focus on a young child positioned in the crowd. As Rudd’s speech is presented in the ‘present’ time, Vass and Leffler juxtapose this against the historic reactions of the stolen generation on every second double-page spread. In both representations, we see small children, fearful and traumatised as they are separated from their parents. For the historic representation, this is done using force; the present-day representation the small child has wandered off in the sea of legs and is unable to find Mum.

Sorry Day is a poignant reminder of the need to educate all Australians about the harm that has transpired, and the need for the government to apologise. The picture book serves as a constant reminder, educational tool and perhaps most importantly, a comparison for today and future generations to understand a small percentage of the fear and nightmares the Indigenous community lived for years on end.

Sorry Day by Coral Vass and illustrated by Dub Leffler was shortlisted for the CBCA Eve Pownall Award earlier this year.

UPDATE: Sorry Day by Coral Vass and illustrated by Dub Leffler was awarded the winner of the 2019 CBCA Eve Pownall Award.


To purchase a copy of SORRY DAY, visit the following online retailers:

Amazon AUS | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | QBD 

to learn more about Coral Vass, visit the following social media sites:

Coral Vass | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


To learn more about Dub Leffler, visit the following social media sites:



2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Sorry Day by Coral Vass and illustrated by Duff Leffler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.