'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 26 July 2014

Review: One Minute's Silence

On Remembrance Day, in one minute of silence, you can imagine a war long gone - Australian soldiers fighting and dying on a distant shore, the sound of gunfire, and the courage and fear of young men far from home.

If you really try, one minute of silence is also long enough to think about the enemy, another group of young men filled with courage and fear, fighting and dying for their homeland.

One Minute’s Silence is an incredibly moving account of the Gallipoli campaign, portrayed in a way that emphasises the similarities of the young men on either side of the battlefield in what is arguably Australia’s best known military battle.

Author David Metzenthen and illustrator Michael Camilleri work together seamlessly to create a very challenging account of the battle at Gallipoli. Camilleri’s illustrations are devoid of colour but rich in emotion as they bring a classroom of bored high school students into the battle scenes, creating images that connect modern readers with this significant historical event.

Metzenthen’s text creates a wonderful balance between the two sides of the battlefield, allowing readers to develop the natural connection with the Australian soldiers and their experiences, and then extending this connection to the Turkish troops.

The story concludes with the incredibly moving quote of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk reminding the mothers of those who died on Turkish soil that their sons ‘having lost their lives on this land, (they) have become our sons as well.’

One Minute’s Silence is a wonderful tribute to the soldiers who fought and died at Gallipoli and an important reminder of the humanity of the soldiers of both sides of the conflict. It is ideal for late primary and high school classroom discussions (teachers’ notes are available) and puts a very human face on what can become a dry historical event for children and teens.

Title: One Minute's Silence
Author: David Metzenthen
Illustrator: Michael Camilleri
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $29.99 RRP
Publication Date: 23 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781743316245
For ages: 9+