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

Friday, 24 April 2015

Review: My Gallipoli

Publishers have offered a significant number of high quality Anzac stories for children this year to coincide with the centenary of the Gallipoli landing. There have been some really outstanding picture books in this selection and My Gallipoli is one of my favourites.

This older reader picture book beautifully illustrated by Robert Hannaford offers multiple perspectives on the Gallipoli battle, giving readers a comprehensive and insightful overview of this historic event.

Ruth Starke’s text is personal and emotive. Written in first person, it shares the perspective of many people who aren’t generally acknowledged in accounts of Gallipoli written for children – the soliders, of course, but also the nurses, war correspondents, the Turkish soldiers and Gurkhas, chaplains, families at home, and medics. I particularly appreciated that the first account is from Adil Sakin, a local who considered Gallipoli (or Gelibolu) his home.

The story concludes with the brief statement ‘We will remember them.’ The book itself prompts readers to broaden their concept of ‘they’ to include all those impacted by the Gallipoli conflict. The final pages include notes on each person featured in the story including several profiles of people actually present at the conflict including William Edward Sing, Chaplain Major William McKenzie, Henry ‘Harry’ Freame, Mustafa Kemal and Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean (C E W Bean).

My Gallipoli is a beautifully balanced account of this significant historical event suitable for sharing with school-aged children but also meaningful for teens and adults.

There are teachers' notes available for this book.

Title: My Gallipoli
Author: Ruth Starke
Illustrator: Robert Hannaford
Publisher: Working Title Press, $ RRP
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781921504761
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book

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