Tag Archives: Anzacs

One Minute’s Silence – David Metzenthen. Illustrated by Michael Camilleri

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One Minute’s Silence – David Metzenthen. Illustrated by Michael Camilleri

ISBN 9781743316245

Allen & Unwin Children

23 July 2014

Hardback. 48 pp.

RRP $29.99

One Minute's Silence

As we approach the end of the year and Remembrance Day, as well as the ongoing centenary commemoration of World War 1 and the ANZACs’ role, this powerful and deeply moving picture book will be a must-have for your collection.

We are all aware of David Metzenthen’s skill as a writer and now combined with dramatic and poignant illustrations by Michael Camilleri, this is a book that begs to be shared across many year levels.

Beautifully told from both the Australian and Turkish perspectives, Camilleri chose to depict the combatants, using Year 12 students from the Sophia Mundi Steiner School as models, in contemporary dress and using both genders. This has the effect of visually demonstrating that ordinary young people were caught up in a bloody conflict of extraordinary proportions.

The traditional ‘one minute’s silence’ is used as the recurring motif throughout the text as moments of huge impact are recounted solemnly and with elegant simplicity.  The repetition of circular shapes and cogs connect to the passing of time in each minute’s duration. Among the many visually stunning illustrations the double page spread showing the many small contorted bodies under the dark ground, as the ANZACs depart is heart-stopping. It reduced my normally boisterous Year 10s to complete stunned silence, such is its profundity.

Camilleri’s illustrations are detailed finely  and by rendering them in monotones evoke the period of time – as does the choice of the sepia tones such as those on the cover. This also conveys the bleakness and despair of the Gallipoli campaign (or indeed any conflict) and the intense emotional impact on those involved. The reader can easily empathise with both sides in this desperate situation.

My boys were intrigued (naturally!) by  the diagrammatic style illustrations of the shrapnel bomb and the rifle.  Though clearly illustrated in the film/comic strip style action, the shooting of a young soldier is subdued, though obvious, and hence reduces the horror for younger readers.

In one minute of silence you can imagine sprinting up the beach in Gallipoli in 1915 with the fierce fighting Diggers, but can you imagine standing beside the brave battling Turks as they defended their homeland from the cliffs above…

Truly a reflective and evocative picture book, One Minute’s Silence is, I predict, potentially an award-winning book for next year’s lists.

Highly recommended for both Primary and Lower/Middle Secondary.

 

click here for Teacher’s notes and here for Michael Camilleri’s commentary.

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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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