Each year on 25 April, the nation stops to remember.
This is the history of that day.
On April 25 1915 8000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers waded ashore on a Turkish beach, beginning a campaign which was ultimately unsuccessful in terms of the war, but which began a legend which has united Australians for almost 100 years. From that first Anzac Day to commemorations in the years that followed, and through to the ceremonies of today, and even beyond, this book traces the growth of the Anzac legend and the development of the day which now serves to remember not just the men who fought at Gallipoli, but all the men and women who have served the country in war, and all who have been affected by war.
French handles the topic with a mix of straight fact, useful reminders about the importance of the day and raising of issues along the way. Because the book spans almost 100 years of history, it touches on many issues, including the contribution of Aboriginal soldiers, Vietnam War protests, conscription, and more. Some of these are issues which young readers may be unfamiliar, which offers opportunity both for education and for discussion.
Illustrations, by Mark Wilson, use a variety of techniques, including pencil, ink and acrylic on canvas and on paper, and using in places images of historical documents, to reflect the varying time periods. Wilson includes scenes of war and battle, as well as of civilian faces and places, to give a broad image of Australia’s varied engagement in war. In doing so he gives an honest insight into a wide spectrum of issues and considerations, again giving food for thought and discussion.
This is a useful teaching tool, but also deserves a place in home libraries, helping children to understand the significance of Anzac Day.
A Day to Remember, by Jac kie French, illustrated by Mark Wilson
Angus & Robertson, 2012
This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.