In my other Anzac posts I’ve highlighted some great new Anzac books from New Zealand authors. In my last Anzac post I want to tell you about a couple of my favourite Anzac books, The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound by Sandy Nelson and A Rose for the Anzac Boys by Jackie French.
The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound by Sandy Nelson
What would you do if the ghosts of World War Two were stuck inside your head and wouldn’t leave you alone? Paddy is an ordinary New Zealand kid who becomes obsessed with a book that he gets from the library about the wrecks of warships sunk in World War Two at Guadalcanal. This book is special – the ghosts of men who were killed in these battles are trapped inside and they want everyone to remember why they died. The ghosts call out to Paddy but only he can hear their voices. Whose voices are they and why are they reaching out to him? The ghosts tell him he has to ask his grandfather about the battle at Guadalcanal, but his grandfather has never talked about the war so how will Paddy get him to tell him his story?
The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound is a fantastic and unique book about the horrors of war and how it affects people. The ghosts of the war talking to Paddy is a really interesting way to tell the story and Sandy Nelson makes you really care about what happens to the characters. This is now one of my favourite war stories. Sandy Nelson joined us on the Christchurch Kids Blog in 2011 to talk about her book and the research she did before writing her story. Her posts are really interesting and well worth checking out.
A Rose for the Anzac Boys by Jackie French
It is 1915. War is being fought on a horrific scale in the trenches of France, but it might as well be a world away from sixteen-year-old New Zealander Midge Macpherson, at school in England learning to be a young lady. But the war is coming closer: Midge′s brothers are in the army, and her twin, Tim, is listed as ′missing′ in the devastating defeat of the Anzac forces at Gallipoli .
Desperate to do their bit – and avoid the boredom of school and the restrictions of Society – Midge and her friends Ethel and Anne start a canteen in France, caring for the endless flow of wounded soldiers returning from the front. Midge, recruited by the over-stretched ambulance service, is thrust into carnage and scenes of courage she could never have imagined. And when the war is over, all three girls – and their Anzac boys as well – discover that even going ′home′ can be both strange and wonderful.
Exhaustively researched but written with the lightest of touches, this is Jackie French at her very best.
The reason I love A Rose for the Anzac Boys is because it tells history from a female perspective. In this case it tells the stories of a group of Australian girls who travel to France to do what they can for the war effort. Jackie French is an amazing writer and she always tells a good story. Jackie also provides detailed historical notes at the end of the book so you can see how historically accurate her story is.
- I’m currently reading David Hill’s My Brother’s War and Ken Catran’s Earth Dragon, Fire Hare, both of which are shortlisted in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. I’m sure I will be able to add these two to my list of favourite Anzac stories too.