Tag Archives: Anzac Day

The ANZAC Billy – Claire Saxby/Mark Jackson & Heather Potter

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Walker Books

anzacbilly

ISBN: 9781925126815
Imprint: Black Dog Books

Release Date: April 1, 2019

Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

As thousands of Australians and New Zealanders pay homage to those who have given to our countries in service, often with the ultimate sacrifice, this is not only a timely release for this time of year but for all time. If we as educators are to help our students to comprehend the devastation of war and to embrace a more peaceful way forward, there is no better way than to provide them with a glimpse of a child’s experience during such circumstances.

Children in the First World War were encouraged to send welcome Christmas packages to those serving in the war zones, as indeed they still are today. For one little boy, the filling of his father’s Christmas billy is an important mission and he along with his mother and grandmother make sure that every item packed lovingly into the vessel is chosen with real care.  But there are hundreds, indeed, thousands of such billies packed and sent. How will this particular one reach his Daddy? Well, perhaps it won’t – but it will reach a digger who will appreciate the true love that it contains and it this significant aspect that is arguably the most telling. Yes, this little boy misses his father and prays he is safe but if he can make one soldier’s Christmas brighter, it is the same he hopes for his own Dad.

We live in perilous times and our daily news is filled with horrendous acts of hate and violence. If we are to have any hope for a peaceful future we must – MUST – guide our children towards compassion and love for all.

The text is simple but powerful and the illustrations completely capture the sense of the period in history, particularly the colour palette echoes the pervading feel of both the times and the critical situation that was The Great War.

This is my choice for our Friday story telling session tomorrow in the library – with accompanying ANZAC biscuits of course.

Thank you to the creators for giving us another wonderful entrée for our young readers into an important understanding and potential for personal growth.

Highly recommended for sharing from Prep upwards.

 

The Poppy – Andrew Plant

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The Poppy – Andrew Plant

Ford St  Publishing Pty Ltd

March 2014

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RRP  $26.95 HB $16.95 PB

ISBN 9781925000313 HB 9781925000320 PB

Another stunning new picture book for everyone’s Anzac Day collection, particularly suitable for younger readers 9+ but also eminently suitable to use with older students as an exploration of this particular aspect of the First World War. Many will already know of the history of Villers Bretonneux, a village in Northern France, where Anzacs achieved the impossible and saved the village from complete annihilation by the German invaders. Not without a great cost, the Anzacs suffered huge casualties in their successful action. You will find much rich historical material around this significant piece of history, including a documentary which I recall watching in recent years, now available on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4DXU9m-dRo in episodes.

Through over 70 beautiful colour paintings and a simple but moving text, Andrew Plant has retold the story, focussing on the part played by Victorian schoolchildren who helped rebuild the village school after the war. This single act of compassionate action has resonated through time as the Victoria School continues to be a focal point of Villers Bretonneux, for both locals and for those making a pilgrimage. In the ‘pay it forward’ style, the village children responded in kind when the devastating Ash Wednesday totally destroyed Strathewen Primary School in 2009.

The individual illustrations boxed in a black background tell much of the story, making this a highly effective visual text. Andrew Plant has handled this piece of history with a gentle finesse, creating a non-fiction text that will speak volumes to all readers.

As the centenary commemorations of the First World War and the Anzacs begin, this book will prove an invaluable addition to any collection and is a fitting tribute to those who not only sacrificed their lives, but those who did whatever they could to help Villers Bretonneux recover from the tragedies.

Highly recommended for all readers 9+ – This one is a must for your 2014 collection.

http://www.andrewplant.com/thepoppy.htm

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