Book List: Stories for Anzac Day

There are some topics which can be difficult for children to process. War is one of those topics. Reading gentle stories and books can be an effective way to introduce or explain information to your children that they may be exposed to by the media.

There are also stories of bravery and honour that we want to pass on to our children. Finding  stories that are pitched at children can be difficult. Here is a collection of moving stories suitable for children.

My Gallipoli - Anzac Books on My Little BookcaseMy Gallipoli

Author: Ruth Starke

Illustrator: Robert Hannaford

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781921504761

Publisher: Working Title Press, March 2015

Suitable for ages: 9+

Available to purchase from The Kids’ Bookshop

With annotated notes on the closing pages, this incredible book chronicles the places and experiences of many people who encountered Gallipoli during the years of 1914- 1915, both ANZAC and Turkish soldiers and those who represented the British Indian Army; nurses and chaplains; young boys and Turkish leaders; Indigenous Australians and fallen soldiers; shipmen and mules; mothers fathers and sisters; artists and descendants. My Gallipoli is an inclusive and well-researched overview of the landing at Gallipoli and the people it touched.

The Last ANZAC - Anzac Books on My Little BookcaseThe Last ANZAC

Author: Gordon Winch

Illustrator: Harriet Bailey

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781925059298

Publisher: New Frontier Publishing, March 2015

Suitable for ages: 5+

Available to purchase from The Kids’ Bookshop

This is a great ANZAC story for young children who see soldiers as heroes. Through the eyes of a young boy, we meet and learn about Alec Campbell, the longest living ANZAC soldier, who died in 2002 at the age of 103.

The Last ANZAC - Anzac Books on My Little BookcaseThe Anzac Puppy

Author: Peter Millett

Illustrator: Trish Bowles

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781775430971

Publisher:  Scholastic NZ, March 2015

Suitable for ages: 6+

Available to purchase from The Kids’ Bookshop

Inspired by true events, The Anzac Puppy demonstrates the strength dogs often provided soldiers during war. Freda, born during the war, became a good luck mascot for a soldier and his friends and inspired them to stay safe so they could honour a promise to bring the dog home.

One Minute's Silence- Anzac Books on My Little BookcaseOne Minute’s Silence

Author: David Metzenthen

Illustrator: Michael Camilleri

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781743316245

Publisher: Allen & Unwin, August 2014

Suitable for ages: 10+

Available to purchase from The Kids’ Bookshop

It is a guarantee that the bravery and innocence of our ANZAC soldiers will never be forgotten, but this chillingly detailed and poetic story also awakens empathy for those we have long considered enemies.

Once a Shepherd - Anzac Books on My Little BookcaseOnce a Shepherd

Author: Glenda Millard

Illustrator: Phil Lesnie

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781921720628

Publisher: Walker Books Australia, August 2014

Suitable for ages: 6+

Available to purchase from The Kids’ Bookshop

This book offers children a subtle exposure to war. It reminds us that life exists before and after war, and that fallen soldiers find ways to live on in family and young ones.

The Soldier's Gift- Anzac Books on My Little BookcaseThe Soldier’s Gift

Author: Tony Palmer

Illustrator: Jane Tanner

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9780670077571
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia, 2014

Suitable for ages: 9+

Available to purchase from The Kids’ Bookshop

With sincere emotion, this story tells of a young soldier, who shares an influential and loving bond with his sister,  sending home three Aleppo Pine seeds from before he dies, knowing they will provide comfort to his grieving family.

Gallipoli- Anzac Books on My Little BookcaseGallipoli

Author: Kerry Greenwood

Illustrator: Annie White

ISBN: 978-1743621295

Format: Hardcover

Publisher:  Scholastic Press, March 2014

Author, Kerry Greenwood, shares her father’s story in a heart-warming tale of two mates who are initially excited about their post, but soon realise that their friendship is paramount in helping them get through the terror of fighting at Gallipoli. The story is quite detailed and lengthy, but is supported by a range of stunning water-coloured illustrations and sketches of personal sepia-coloured photographs.

Suitable for 8+

I Was Only Nineteen and other ANZAC stories_ My Little BookcaseI Was Only Nineteen

Author: John Schumann

Illustrator: Craig Smith

ISBN: 978-1743317235

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Allen & Unwin, February 2014

Craig Smith brings John Schumann’s confronting war-themed song to life with illustrations rich in meaning and emotion. The text and illustrations will undoubtedly give parents and teachers much to discuss with children, in particular the human cost of war.

Suitable for ages 10+

Along the Road to Gundagai and other ANZAC books for children_ My Little BookcaseAlong the Road to Gundagai

Author: Jack O’Hagan

Illustrator: Andrew McLean

ISBN: 978-1862919792

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Omnibus Books (Scholastic Australia), February 2014

The lyrics of well-known Australian song, Along the Road to Gundagai, conveythe hopeful and optimistic thoughts of a soldier as he fights in WW1. This picture book adaptation features beautiful illustrations- some wordless- that alternate between the soldier’s reality and his dreams.

Suitable for ages 7+

Midnight and other ABZAC books for children_ My Little BookcaseMidnight

Author: Mark Greenwood

Illustrator: Frane Lessac

ISBN:978-1921977718

Format Hardcover

Publisher: Walker Books, February 2014

Published

This is the extensively-researched story of Midnight and her rider, Lieutenant Guy Haydon, who were part of the Australian Light Horse’s Charge on Beersheba in October, 1917. Frane’s rich and remarkable illustrations compliment this very touching story.

Suitable for ages 7+

ANZAC BISCUITS

Author: Phil Cummings

Illustrator: Owen Swan

ISBN: 978-1742833460

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Scholastic Australia, March 2013

RRP: $24.99
Here is a tender and subtle story of war. Anzac Biscuits is a story that goes beyond the experiences of soldiers. It shows the private moments of families who are left behind to worry about their fathers, brothers, uncles and sons.

Laid out over alternate pages, Phil Cummings cleverly tells two stories simultaneously. A young man fights a war on the other side of the world while his wife and daughter bake Anzac Biscuits for him.

Suitable for ages: 6+
Read our full book review and find out how to make an ANZAC care package

THE TREASURE BOX

Author: Margaret Wild

Illustrator: Freya Blackwood

ISBN: 978-0670073658

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia, January 2013

RRP: $24.99

After a library is burned down during the war, a young boy and his father keep the last surviving book safe in a treasure box. Even though they had fled their home, and the boy had lost his father and was too weak to carry his suitcase, he kept his promise to keep the book safe.

The Treasure Box starts with visions of war but symbolises identity, nationality, survival, hope and perseverance

Full review coming soon

Suitable for ages: 5+

Read our full review here and read about making your own Family Treasure Box.

THE RED POPPY

Author: David Hill

Illustrator: Fifi Colston

ISBN: 978-1869439989

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand Limited, March 2012

RRP: $26.99 (aud)

Publisher’s Description: The powerful story of one man’s fight in the trenches and the little messenger dog who saved him. Young soldier Jim McLeod waits in the trenches of World War I for the order to attack the enemy.

With him are his friends, and Nipper, the messenger dog. When they charge across no-man’s-land, Jim is shot and finds himself face to face with an enemy soldier.

Suitable for ages 6+

Read full review at Kids’ Book Review

LONE PINE

Authors: Susie Brown and Margaret Warner

Illustrator: Sebastian Ciaffaclione

ISBN: 978-1921541346

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Little Hare (Hardie Grant Egmont), April 2012

RRP: $24.95 (aud)

Lone Pine touches on battle and the loss of lives, but its main focus is to show how a pine tree and its scattered pine cones have connected families, generations and countries through memorial and remembrance.

Lone Pine is the combination of emotional text and wistful illustrations. It is the true story of the pine tree that currently stands in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial.

Read our full review here.

Suitable for ages: 6+  (★★★★★)

ARCHIE’S LETTER: AN ANZAC DAY STORY

Author: Martin Flanagan

Illustrator: Ainsley C. Walters

ISBN: 978-0980794878

Format: Paperback

Publisher: One Day Hill, December 2011

RRP: $19.99 (aud)

Martin Flanagan has adapted The Line (written in collaboration with his father, Archie Flanagan) to provide a story suitable for older children.

Archie’s Letter effectively combines personal recount and primary sources to provide children with a comprehensive and heart-wrenching account of one soldier’s war experience.

Archie, a teacher and a writer, kept records of his experiences in letters and poems during World War II. He wrote poignantly about working under Japanese rule on the Burma Railway, disease, abuse, death and working alongside ‘Weary’ Dunlop.

Archie’s children noticed that their father was different from other men. Quiet and withdrawn he would deal with his grief without inflicting hate on the ones around him. In 2002, Archie met with an elderly Japanese woman who wanted to know the truth about World War II. She helped him to forgive the Japanese for their wrong doings towards him and his friends.

Archie’s Letter ends with a copy of a letter Archie wrote to the Anzac community in 2010, explaining the reason he would miss his first Dawn Service.

Suitable for ages: 9+ (★★★★)

DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA

Author: Sally Murphy

Illustrator: Sonia Kretschmar

ISBN: 978-1921529863

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Walker Books Australia, March 2012

RRP: $29.95 (aud)

Publisher’s Description: Henri lives in the French village of Villers-Bretonneux. Billy lives in Melbourne, Australia. These two little boys, who live thousands of miles away from each other, share one story that unites Villers-Bretonneux and Melbourne in history. A moving and inspiring story of World War One.

Read a full review at Boomerang Books- Kid’s Book Caper

Suitable for ages 5+

A DAY TO REMEMBER: The Story of Anzac Day

Author: Jackie French

Illustrator: Mark Wilson

ISBN: 978-0732293604

Format: Hardback

Publisher: HarperCollins, March 2012

RRP: $24.99

This non-fiction picture book provides a visual timeline of what has occurred on each Anzac Day over the past century.  It describes the various wars fought by the ANZACs during this time, and how our respect for the ANZACs has changed and grown over time.

The timeline begins with a snapshot of the fatal day in 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Anzac Cove.

Each subsequent snapshot, representing a different year, provides information on the elements of history that have made Anzac Day what it is today. Readers learn about where soldiers have fought, when the first dawn service was held, when Anzac Day became a public holiday, when the Australian War Memorial was opened, when Anzac Cove was named, and when children began walking in the parades.

It is an extraordinarily informative and comprehensive book that is complemented by Mark Wilson’s extremely detailed illustrations. He uses a range of colours and styles to effectively portray different eras, personal experiences and individual perspectives.

Suitable for ages: 8+

(★★★★★)

THE HORSES DIDN’T COME HOME

The Horses Didn’t Come Home

Author: Pamela Rushby

ISBN: 978-0732293543

Format: Paperback

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd

RRP: $16.99 (aud)

This is the harrowing tale of the horses that bravely fought with the Australian soldiers in the Battle of Beersheba. It is a part of Australia’s military history which is not widely known.

The story is shared between two characters. Laura is at home in Australia. Her horse was sent to the Middle East to be used during World War I battles. The second character is Harry. He is a soldier fighting in the Battle of Beersheba with his sister’s horse, Bunty. Harry sends many letters to Laura, and never shields her from the truth. It is in a poem written by Trooper Bluegum that she learns the fate of her horse.

The Australian soldiers won the battle with the help of their loyal steeds. Ultimately the horses would not be given the respect they deserved though. Deemed too expensive and difficult to return home to Australia many were killed and others were sold to English and Indian armies. Many devastated soldiers, including Harry, illegally destroyed their horses to ensure abuse and torture would not come their way.

Pamela Rushby credits her inspiration and research sources. She provides a glossary for readers and a background to the story at the back of the book.

Suitable for ages: 10+

(★★★★★)

SIMPSON AND HIS DONKEY

Author and Illustrator: Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac

ISBN:978-1921150180

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Walker Books Australia, March 2008

RRP: $ 25.99

Set during World War I, Simpson and his Donkey is a child friendly story about the difficult topic of war and the heroes that arise from it.

. Read our full review here.

Suitable for ages 5+ (★★★★)

ANZAC DAY PARADE (Australian Edition)

Author and Illustrator: Glenda Kane and Lisa Allen

ISBN: 9780143504412

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Penguin Group (NZ), March 2010

RRP: $14.95 (aud)

Publisher’s Description: A poignant look at war through the eyes of a former member of the 18th Battalion. Told in rhyme it takes place on Anzac Day when an old man and a young boy meet – the young boy wide-eyed and wanting to hear the glories of war and death; the old man quietly sad to remember the reality of what was faced.


MY GRANDAD MARCHES ON ANZAC DAY

Author: Catriona Hoy and Bejamin Johnson

ISBN:978-0734410368

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Hachette Australia, February 2008

RRP: $16.99

This is a simple and emotive story that shows how war service can bring generations together.

It is a story of a young girl who participates in formal Anzac Day events with her father and grandfather. Readers walk away from the book with a strong need to remember and pass on the stories of our national servicemen and women.

My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day includes a detailed foreword about Anzac day and the ode.

Suitable for ages 4+. (★★★★)

Book List: Stories for Anzac Day

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  1. My Grandad Marches on ANZAC Day is a beautifully touching story. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. L-J said: On April 21, 2011

    Jackie, I got My Grandad Marches on ANZAC Day for Lilu (7) and Lija (4) to read with my Dad. I thought it was a lovely book and am proud to be selling it in the store. We’ll have to get the others you mentioned in next year!

  3. Thanks for a great list of books on such a difficult topic to discuss with kids.

  4. Thanks for a great list Jackie. Hope you don’t mind I have linked it in my latest post about Anzac Day. :)

  5. I hope you will include AN ANZAC TALE, published by Working Title, March 2013, a new graphic novel from Ruth Starke and illustrator Greg Holfeld. It is like no other book about Gallipoli! We promise yoou that.

  6. Istnieje nadzwyczaj multum osób, jakie na wskroś znają się na prowadzeniu własnych interesów,
    oraz także, które oprócz wiedzą, ile jest dozwolone spośród
    nich się nauczyć. Szkoły państwowe, Niepubliczne przedszkole Piaseczno niekiedy nie są w stanie całkowicie
    ciągnąć się poszczególnej jakości przedszkola.

  7. Współcześnie możemy wykorzystywać drukowanie wizytówek z wielu
    nowoczesnych technologii, jakie spośród jednej okolica pozwalają na tworzenie daleko lepszej jakości produktów, a z drugiej okolica takich,
    które możemy kupić taniej. Z tego powodu nowoczesne technologie pojawiają się
    w co chwila większej liczbie firm. Możemy je odkryć między innymi w drukarniach w jakich wykorzystywane są ogromnie różnorodne formy drukowania.
    Drukować możemy zarówno na papierze, gdy natomiast na innych rodzajach materiałów.
    Nowoczesne formy druku pozwalają na drukowanie ogromnie wymyślnych wzorów nawet na produktach.

  8. A fantastic collection!

  9. Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was once a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to far brought agreeable from you!
    However, how can we keep up a correspondence?

  10. Great list. Can I add ‘Meet the Anzacs’ by me (Claire Saxby) and illustrated by Max Berry. Pub Random House?

  11. Please add An Anzac Tale by Ruth Starke and Greg Holfeld to this list. It is unique and true to the ANZAC legend, characters anthropomorphised in Australian animals. The list is not complete without it.

  12. Thanks, Cathryn. Definitely the list should contain ‘An Anzac Tale’. Now I have a new title to add to the list: ‘My Gallipoli’ (Working Title, 2015), illustrated by the acclaimed artist Robert Hannaford. It’s released this month and has already been ordered by many schools. All ages should appreciate this book.

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