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Tell Me Why, by Archie Roach

Tell Me Why is a raw, heartbreaking, yet ultimately uplifting account of singer/songwriter Archie Roach’s life. Archie was forcibly removed from his family as a young child and placed in various foster homes, until he came to live with the Cox family. Here Archie came to know love and stability – but everything changed one day when he was 14 and received a letter that would tear apart everything he had believed to be true about his life and his identity.

This memoir takes us on a journey of discovery as Archie seeks to identify his true family and identity. His journey takes him to the streets, and to various places around Australia, searching for a place to call home and a sense of self. This is a story of family and heartbreak and music and creativity. It is both a love story and a story of discovery.


Archie’s voice resonates with something lost as we follow his endless quest to discover his family and where he came from. Yet hope and light ultimately shimmer through. Archie is a true poet and lyricist, telling his story with honesty and courage.


This book provides an important opportunity for young adults to learn more about the Stolen Generations. We gain an insight from this book into the way trauma is intergenerational, and there is much to be discussed around themes of identity, courage, and the way in which creativity can lead to understanding and healing.


Lyrics from some of Archie’s well known songs are included at the start of each chapter.


This book is the 2021 winner of the NSW Premier's History Awards - Young People's History Prize.


Archie Roach AM, a Gunditjmara and Bundjalung man, was born in Victoria in 1956.


#youngadult #memoir

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