Monday, 6 April 2015

ANZAC Day resources

There are some topics that are difficult to approach with young children - war is one of those topics. But thanks to some fantastic authors and illustrators we are able to share stories and discuss the topic of war in a gentle way that educates and enlightens our children to something that is generally an unpleasant and sometimes unspoken topic.  

ANZAC Day (April 25th) marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. 

ANZAC stands for: Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. 
To find out more about this important national occassion, head to the Australia War Memorial site.

After seeing a lot of requests on social media sites for books and activities to use with students to teach them about ANZAC day, I started researching the best books and activities for teachers to use for various age groups/year groups.

Storybooks for Preschoolers, Kindergarten, Year 1 & 2 students (Infants):

Author: Phil Cummings

Illustrator: Owen Swan
Publisher: Scholastic Australia, March 2013
Suitable for ages: 5+
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.

Author: Margaret Wild
Illustrator: Freya Blackwood
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia, January 2013
Suitable for ages: 5+
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.

Author: David Hill
Illustrator: Fifi Colston
Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand Limited, March 2012
Suitable for ages: 6+
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.

Authors: Susie Brown and Margaret Warner
Illustrator: Sebastian Ciaffaclione
Publisher: Little Hare (Hardie Grant Egmont), April 2012
Suitable for ages: 6+
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.

Author: Sally Murphy
Illustrator: Sonia Kretschmar
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, March 2012
Suitable for ages: 5+
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.

Author and Illustrator: Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, March 2008
Suitable for ages: 5+
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.

Author: Catriona Hoy and Bejamin Johnson
Publisher: Hachette Australia, February 2008
Suitable for ages: 4+
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.

Author: Jack O’Hagan
Illustrator: Andrew McLean
Publisher: Omnibus Books (Scholastic Australia), February 2014
Suitable for ages 7+
The lyrics of well-known Australian song,"Along the Road to Gundagai" convey the 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.

Author: Mark Greenwood
Illustrator: Frane Lessac
Publisher: Walker Books, February 2014
Suitable for ages: 7+
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.

Storybooks for Year 3, 4, 5 & 6 students (Primary):

Author: Kerry Greenwood
Illustrator: Annie White
Publisher:  Scholastic Press, March 2014
Suitable for ages: 8+
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.

Author: John Schumann
Illustrator: Craig Smith
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, February 2014
Suitable for ages: 10+
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.

Author: Martin Flanagan
Illustrator: Ainsley C. Walters
Publisher: One Day Hill, December 2011
Suitable for ages: 9+
'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.

The Horses Didn’t Come Home
Author: Pamela Rushby
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Suitable for ages: 10+
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, and her horse was sent to the Middle East to be used during World War I battles. The second character is Harry, 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.

Activities for Preschoolers, Kindergarten, Year 1 & 2 students (Infants):


Activities for Year 3, 4, 5 & 6 students (Primary):



And for all age groups, making ANZAC cookies is always a great activity. For your littlies, you could do a cut and paste step-by-step procedural activity, and for your lower and upper primary students you could have them cut and paste the recipe in order or find their own and write it out.

I hope this has been helpful. Please share any other resources you really like doing with your students below.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    Its Annette Fraser here from TPT, Thanks for using my ANZAC Day resources as a link!