Anzac Day is an important day for our family because it wasn’t too long ago that we discovered that one of T’s forebears fought in France in World War 1. T and I visited various war memorials in France and as we silently stared at the rows and rows of white tombstones I wept and wept for those poor boys buried halfway across the world from their families.
I think the meaning of Anzac Day is actually quite a difficult subject to broach with children as every question leads to another question.
Here is a selection of other Anzac Day picture books which deal war, family, tragedy, death and life.
The Poppy by Andrew Plant. Stunningly illustrated in over 70 paintings, The Poppy is the true story of Anzac Day, 1918, when a desperate night counter-attack in the French village of Villers-Bretonneux became one of Australia`s greatest victories. Age 9+ years.
Along The Road To Gundagai by Jack O’Hagan and illustrated by Andrew McLean. The song lyrics may be familiar, but the story they tell may not be. The story of the men who went to the Great War, many of them never to return home. Age 5+ years.
Gallipoli by Kerry Greenwood illustrated by Annie White. It was 1914 and Dusty and Bluey are headed for adventure. They were ANZACS, members of the Australian Light Horse, on their way to the Great War. The story of Bluey and Dusty is a story of family and friendship. It is the story of Gallipoli. Age 6+ years.
An Anzac Tale by Greg Holfeld. With the outbreak of war in 1914, best friends Wally and Roy, and new mate Tom, are among the first to enlist. But their great adventure soon turns to disaster. The day after the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, more than 2000 of their fellow Anzacs are dead. As the Gallipoli campaign drags on, Wally, Roy and Tom find themselves locked in combat with a formidable enemy, a ferocious landscape, flies, fleas, cold and disease. Age 7+ years.
Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer and illustrated by Brian Simmonds. In 1914 Jim and Charlie abandon the Australian outback for the excitement and adventure of the war to end all wars. But in the Light Horse they quickly discover the brutal realities of life on the frontline. Ages 9+ years.
Anzac Biscuits by Phil Communings and illustrated by Owen Swan. Rachel is in the kitchen, warm and safe. Her father is in the trenches, cold and afraid. When Rachel makes biscuits for her father, she adds the love, warmth and hope that he needs. Age 6+ years.
My Mother’s Eyes by Mark Wilson. This unique, stirring picture book is based on true stories of the twenty-three teenage soldiers who fought with the Australian army in World War I. Age 5+ years.
The Afghanistan Pup by Mark Wilson. The story of an Afghani schoolgirl fighting for her education, an Australian soldier struggling to survive, and an abandoned Labrador pup who touches the lives of both of them. Ages 9+ years.
What other books can you recommend for teaching kids about the meaning of Anzac Day?