Why do we celebrate Anzac Day? Why were donkeys used at Gallipoli? Why do we wear poppies on Anzac Day? Why is the last post played at the Dawn Service? Why do we have Anzac biscuits? All these questions and more are answered in Philippa Werry’s new book, Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story – What it is and why it matters
Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story – What it is and why it matters is a fascinating, beautifully designed, thoroughly researched, and very accessible book for New Zealand children about Anzac Day. It’s one of those non-fiction books that is both great for teachers to use in the classroom or for children to delve in to by themselves. Philippa has written it in such a way that it is accessible for children of different ages, from 8 years and up, with lots of images to break up the text. This book is different from other non-fiction books about Anzac Day and New Zealand’s involvement, as it looks at not only the past, but also the present and how we commemorate today.
Everything you would expect to find in a book about Anzac Day is here – what it is and why we celebrate it, a timeline of the Gallipoli campaign, profiles of key New Zealanders who played a part, and statistics of casualties and deaths. However, it’s the focus on why Anzac Day matters and how we celebrate it now that really makes this book stand out. There is a whole chapter about how we remember the war dead with poppies and war memorials, and another chapter on Anzac Day commemorations both in New Zealand and around the world. There are also lots of fact boxes with tidbits of information about the animals at Gallipoli, Anzac biscuits, the New Zealand flag, and why the New Zealanders had ‘lemon-squeezer’ hats.
There are lots of primary resources in the book (which makes it great for teachers), from photos and newspaper clippings, to soldier’s diaries and paintings. Philippa has created some incredibly helpful material at the back of the book too, including a glossary, bibliography, a list of helpful and authoritative websites, and a list of ‘More things to do’ to extend children’s understanding of the topic.
Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story – What it is and why it matters should be in every home, school and library in the country. It’s a book that will be well-used and well-read.