ANZAC Day is tomorrow, a day in which we commemorate our fallen, returned and current Service men and women, a day in which we remember their sacrifices past and present. In honour of the occasion I set out to gather titles of Children’s Chapter Books for Anzac Day as books are a fantastic gateway to discussions and the beginning of understanding the many complex issues that arise from War. I focused on collating only books written by Australian and New Zealand authors – ANZACs; Australian New Zealand Army Corps. I had no idea that I’d end up with 60 titles! and I’m sure there are likely more still to find.
Talking mega posts of books, be sure to also check out my gathering of 58 Picture Books for ANZAC Day which already had grown to 62 😉
There is also this fantastic site, Children’s War Books compiled by New Zealand author Phillipa Werry. There are loads more books there with fantastic and comprehensive reviews.
World War One
Written for 10 to 15 year olds, this account of the actions of Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, ‘the man with the donkey’ at Gallipoli is copiously illustrated and makes extensive use of contemporary documents. Tells of events in the Gallipoli campaigning, focusing on Simpson’s rescue of his wounded comrades. Includes suggestions for further reading.
A Fortunate Life – A.B Facey
Autobiography. Born in 1894, Facey lived the rough frontier life of a sheep farmer, survived the gore of Gallipoli, raised a family through the Depression and spent sixty years with his beloved wife, Evelyn. Despite enduring hardships we can barely imagine today. For Teens
Loyal Creatures is the deeply moving story of war horse Daisy and her 16-year-old owner Will, sent from the Australian outback to the gruelling Middle Eastern campaign of the First World War. Their skill in finding water is vital to their regiment in the desert, but their devotion to each other is what keeps them alive in an overwhelmingly hostile environment. Is their unwavering loyalty enough to determine their destiny? The story is closely based on historical record.
Fourteen-year-old Evan Warrender travels with his father to the Dardenelles, where they intend to provide succour to the Allied soldiers. When they are captured by the Turks, they are launched into an epic journey, living on their wits and the kindness of strangers as they escape and travel through Turkey, back to Greece and finally home to Australia. Along the way they meet unlikely friends and companions, some of whom have deep secrets. And when Evan’s own secret is revealed, we realise just how incredible the journey has truly been. For Teens
Soldier Boy – Anthony Hill
The true story of Jim Martin, the youngest Anzac.
On 28th June 1915, young James Martin sailed from Melbourne on the troopship Berrima, bound ultimately for Gallipoli. He was just 14 years old. This is Jim’s extraordinary story of how an enthusiastic school boy became Australia’s youngest Anzac.
It scares me a lot, thinking of Dad out there, far away in that dangerous, terrible place, wondering how it will be when he comes back-if he comes back, that is . . . Marie’s dad has been away for two years, fighting on the Somme battlefields in northern France. For months there has been no word from him, no letters or postcards. Marie and her mother are sick with worry, so they decide to stop waiting-and instead travel to France, to try to find out what has happened to him. There she experiences first-hand what war is like, as she tries to piece together the clues behind her dad’s disappearance. Will Marie ever see her father again?
Scratcher was one such horse that travelled to Gallipoli and onto the Western front. This is the story of an Australian war horse.
A story about a boy, a horse and the last great calvary charge in history. In an army camp in a Middle Eastern desert, a young Australian soldier named Harry is saddling and grooming his horse, Bunty. She is sturdy and strong; an Australian Whaler who belongs to Harry’s sister, Laura, back home in Australia. As Harry finishes the grooming he stands in front of Bunty. The two of them, horse and master, stand totally still. Then Harry swings up into the saddle and turns away from the camp into the desert. A few soldiers watch them as they ride out. No one says a word.
It’s their last ride together.
It’s 1915 and sixteen-year-old Australian Flora Wentworth is visiting Cairo with her archaeologist father. She watches with growing alarm as first a trickle and then a flood of wounded soldiers are shipped into the city from Gallipoli. Flora’s comfortable life is turned upside down when a hospital visit thrusts her into the realities of World War 1. She is soon transporting injured soldiers and helping out exhausted nurses – managing to fall in love along the way. As Flora battles to save lives and find her own, a tragic misunderstanding changes everything… For Teens
Based on the most famous animal in Australian history Simpson’s Donkey tells the story of his service during the Gallipoli campaign where for three weeks he was one of several donkeys that Simpson used to carry wounded men down to Anzac Cove. His life before and after Gallipoli is a mystery but Peter Stanley beautifully imagines the rest for the reader. Stanley tells the donkey’s story–in the donkey’s own voice–taking the reader on a journey from the Aegean island of Lemnos to Gallipoli to Egypt, Palestine and then back to Gallipoli at the end of the Great War. In doing so Simpson’s Donkey not only brings the donkey’s story to life it also brings the horrible realities of war to the fore. For Teens.
But their great adventure soon turns to disaster. The day after the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, more than 2000 of their fellow Anzacs are dead and the bold attempt by the Allied commanders to knock the Turks out of the war becomes a stalemate.
As the Gallipoli campaign drags on, Wally, Roy and Tom find themselves locked in combat with a formidable enemy, a ferocious landscape, flies, fleas, cold and disease. Graphic Novel
War on the Homefront: WW1
On Tiney Flynn’s seventeenth birthday, every church bell tolled as if heralding a new year, a new era. Tiney stood in the garden, purple jacaranda petals fluttering down around her. One by one, her sisters came outside to join her; first Nette, then Minna and lastly Thea. It was 11 November 1918. Armistice Day. For Tiney and her sisters, everything is about to change, but not in the way they might have imagined. Building peace is complicated; so is growing up. From tragedy to undreamt-of joy, from weddings to seances, from masked balls to riots in the streets, Tiney’s world will be transformed. At the end of the war and the dawn of the Jazz Age, Tiney Flynn must face her greatest fears and begin a journey that will change her destiny. For Teens
World War Two
in 1939 when the Second World War began, Charles Upham was a high country farmer in Canterbury. By the time the war was over he was one of the most famous soldiers in the world. He had won the Victoria Cross, the highest medal for bravery in the British and Commonwealth armies — twice. A brave man who didn’t like to be made a fuss of, Upham led his men in Greece during the Battle of Crete and through the desert war in North Africa, where he was finally captured by the Germans and sent to Colditz Castle. The story of Charles Upham’s war is an amazing tale of courage and determination and shows how one man who keeps calm even when he is in deadly danger can make an extraordinary difference.
The story of the essential messenger pigeons used by the Australian Corps of Signals Pigeon Service during World War 2 in New Guinea. The problems for the soldiers on the Kokoda Track are featured in detail.
War on the Homefront: WW2
Teresa and her family survived the bombing of their home and went hungry during the long siege of their island during the war. Life in peace time is still hard. Her parents want a better life, and so apply to migrate to Australia to find it. But after the long voyage to Sydney, there are more testing times ahead for Teresa as she tries to learn Australian ways, avoid the bullies and do well at school. She is not about to let anything stop her from making her family and her nanna back in Malta proud of her.
Sally and her friends live in Kings Cross where there’s a constant fear of possible invasion, especially after Japanese mini-subs enter Sydney Harbour! There are rations and restrictions and blackouts and the constant worry of having fathers serving overseas. Even Sal’s eccentric Gran can’t always cheer her up as she waits for her Dad to come home.
When of hundreds of Japanese captives arrive at Featherston POW camp, the tiny town is divided. Tensions run high and then, on 25 February 1943, disaster strikes. Three boys witness it all. ‘We knew straightaway that something was happening. Extra men in khaki uniforms stood at the main gates. Behind the wire, figures in blue sat on the ground. None of the usual moving around, washing up, wrestling, anything like that. Just rows of prisoners, sitting silently.’ It’s 1942, and the tiny farming town of Featherston is about to receive hundreds of Japanese soldiers into its prisoner-of-war camp. Ewen, whose dad is a guard there, can’t stop wondering about the enemy just down the road. Some say the captives are evil and cruel and should be treated harshly or shot. But when Ewen and his friends ride out to the camp to peep through the barbed wire, the POWs just seem like …well, people. Then a new group from a captured warship arrives and the mood in the camp darkens. Guards and inmates begin to clash. As tension builds the boys are told to stay away.
In 1941, Poppy lives in Darwin, a peaceful paradise. But when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and then Australia, everything Poppy holds dear is threatened. Terrified, she flees to Sydney – only to find that the danger follows her there. Poppy must face her war with courage and determination. Will her world ever be the same?
It’s 1941 . . . and the war is changing Pearlie’s life every day. Darwin is full of soldiers, there’s a spy on the loose, and people are turning against Pearlie’s best friend, Naoko, just because she’s Japanese. When everything falls apart, will Pearlie be brave enough to stick up for what’s right, or will her old fears get the better of her? Book 1
It’s 1941 . . . and school is almost over – not just for summer, but forever. Darwin could be bombed any day, and everyone Pearlie knows is leaving for a safer place. Animals and pets of all kinds are being left behind, and Pearlie can’t bear it. But can she rescue them all? And what will happen when it’s her turn to leave the home she loves? Follow Pearlie on her adventure in the second of four exciting stories about a courageous girl in a world at war.
It’s 1942 . . . and Pearlie is all alone in Darwin. Not only has she been separated from her family, but now Beake, the spy, is back and he’s on the loose. He’s out to get Pearlie – but she has a plan . . . Can she pull it off? And when bombs fall on Darwin, will Pearlie survive? Book 3
It’s 1942 . . . and Darwin is under attack. While bombs are falling, Pearlie is doing all she can to save her beloved pets and help the wounded soldiers. But it’s too dangerous to stay, and when Pearlie finally has to say goodbye, only the thought of being reunited with her best friend Naoko can cheer her up. Book 4
I am still moving despite the fact that this dreamed-up bastard Khan walks with me – no, he doesn’t walk with me, he rises up to fire, has my life in his hands, my head in his sights, and that is the image of all images that I have somehow to lose. Johnny Shoebridge has just returned from fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. He no longer carries a weapon – only photos of the dead and a dread of the living. Pursued by a Viet Cong ghost-fighter called Khan, Johnny makes one last stand – knowing that if he cannot lay this specter to rest, he will remain a prisoner of war for ever. For Teens
Black parachutes fall from the sky: young soldiers – and a dog – on a rescue mission in a remote part of Afghanistan.But the mission ends in chaos, and Mark and Prince embark on a perilous journey through enemy territory. Will they make it back to base? All they have is each other. All they can do is survive, today, tomorrow and the next day.A dramatic, powerful story of war and the bond between a young soldier and a dog. For Teens
This hero has four paws and a wagging tail! Based on the true stories of heroic military and service dogs who save countless lives.At the kennels, Caesar the chocolate labrador doesn’t look special. But Corporal Ben Fulton sees something different – an intelligent dog whose curiosity will make him an excellent sniffer dog in the Australian Army. On operations in Afghanistan with Ben, Caesar proves his worth, finding hidden explosives and saving the lives of the soldiers. Then, during a Taliban ambush, Caesar is separated from his master. Ben and his best mate Charlie are seriously wounded and evacuated to hospital. But where is Caesar? From their home in Australia, Ben and his family search for clues that might reveal whether their beloved dog is still alive and surviving Afghanistan’s bitter winter cold and capture by the Taliban. It will be a long road home, and Caesar will face many hardships along the way, but for this brave and loyal dog, anything is possible.
Our canine hero is back on duty . . .When injured war hero Charlie finally returns to SAS service, he no longer needs Caesar’s help as a care dog. Caesar can go back to being a super-sniffing explosive detection dog in the Australian Army.On their first mission back together, Caesar and his handler, Ben, discover a bomb at the Sydney Opera House, targeting the visiting secretary-general of the United Nations.A fortnight later, while on a peace mission in Afghanistan, the secretary-general’s helicopter goes down and he is captured by the Taliban. Caesar, Ben and Charlie join an international team to rescue him. Will they succeed? An experimental mini-submarine might help – and Caesar’s famous nose is sure to sniff out trouble along the way.
This dog never forgets a friend. When their friend Lucky is kidnapped by elephant poachers in Tanzania, the Global Rapid Reaction Responders team is called in to find him. Caesar the super – sniffing war dog is sent with Ben and Charlie on the mission. After a death – defying parachute jump into the ocean, they start gathering clues. The poachers were last seen stealing village children to become soldiers for their army – and they have forced Lucky to write a ransom letter. If the team can trace the letter, and work out which way the rebels went, they might be on the right track. Saving Lucky from the heavily armed poachers is their top priority, but the GRRR team is prepared to do whatever they can to stop the cruel trade in elephant tusks and to free boy soldiers. Can Caesar’s nose locate the illegal cargo – and trace and rescue a good friend – before it’s too late? A battle on the African plain is about to erupt.
Explosive detection dog Caesar is in Texas with his handler, Ben, to train the local police. When a bomb detonates nearby and Caesar sniffs out a second bomb at the scene, he attracts the wrong kind of attention. Mexican crime lord Carlos Marron, known as the Green Parrot, decides that the world-famous labrador can protect him from the kind of bomb attack that targeted his brother. Carlos orders his subordinates to dognap Caesar – and when Ben leaves Caesar in quarantine, the gang swoops. Now, Ben, Charlie and the GRRR team have to locate and rescue Caesar in Mexico, in the middle of a deadly crime cartel war.
When Sergeant Ben Fulton’s family joins him on a cruise ship holiday, Ben, Josh, Maddie and Nan travel in luxury among the islands of the Caribbean while Caesar is in quarantine. But a gang who have broken out of a Cuban prison have other ideas. They hijack the massive ship and hold its three thousand passengers to ransom. With passengers of all nationalities in danger, only the United Nations can step in to help. Ben’s best friend, Charlie, and the rest of the GRRR team assemble. Charlie will need super-sniffing explosive detection dog Caesar with him as he parachutes in to sneak aboard the ship. Will Caesar and Ben be reunited in time to find the hidden explosive devices that threaten the ship? Can Operation Black Shark capture the modern-day pirates before it’s too late?
The bombs were falling, the smoke was rising from the concentration camps, but all Hitler’s daughter knew was lessons with Fraulein Gelber, the hedgehogs she rescued from the cold and infrequent visits from her beloved Duffi, her father.
Was it just a story? Did Hitler’s daughter really exist? If you were Hitler’s daughter, would it all be your fault? Could you still love your own father if he had done what Hitler did?
It’s 1939, and for Georg, son of an English academic living in Germany, life is full of cream cakes and loving parents. It is also a time when his teacher measures the pupils’ heads to see which of them have the most ‘Aryan’- shaped heads. But when a university graduation ceremony turns into a pro-Nazi demonstration, Georg is smuggled out of Germany to war-torn London and then across enemy seas to Australia where he must forget his past and who he is in order to survive. Hatred is contagious, but Georg finds that kindness can be, too.
This is the story of Johannes, and Frau Timmins, and the strange girl now known as ‘Helga’. It is also the story of how they survived the death camps, the vast wilderness faced by refugees in World War II, and eventually found happiness in Australia.
This moving and compelling book follows on the award-winning and bestselling Hitler’s Daughter and Pennies for Hitler, and shows us that evil must be fought.
the hole was moving! the walls were falling down.. there was a rope under his arms. there was a face above. An anxious face, yelling something down to him, something he didn’t understand. A strange face, with something wrong about the eyes. tanned skin, unshaven, black hair a bit too long. Joey knows there is a Japanese soldier hiding in the hills. It was a Japanese man, a soldier, who hauled him out of the mineshaft, who lit the fire to bring the searchers, and then disappeared. But nobody believes Joey. After all, it is World War 2 and children have nightmares. Joey knows he will have to find the soldier himself – must find him. Could he be part of the invasion force Could he be sending messages to waiting submarines
The year is 1942 and the world is at war. Nancy Clancy left school at fourteen to spend a year droving, just like her grandfather Clancy of the Overflow. Now sixteen, Nancys family has sent her to Malaya to bring home her sister-in-law Moira and baby nephew Gavin. Yet despite the threat of Japanese invasion, Moira resists, wanting to stay near her husband Ben. But not even Nancy of the Overflow can stop the fall of Singapore and the capture of so many Australian troops. When their ship is bombed, Nancy, Moira and Gavin are reported missing.
Back home at Gibbers Creek, Michael refuses to believe the girl he loves has died. As Darwin, Broome and even Sydney are bombed, Australians must fight to save their country. But as Michael and the families of Gibbers Creek discover, there are many ways to love your country, and many ways to fight for it.
Most Australians know of Simpson and his donkey, who became heroes at Gallipoli, even among the Turkish forces. Did you know another man carried on rescuing the wounded with the donkey after Simpson died? A story of Anzac heroism.
In 1914 Jim and Charlie abandon the Australian outback for the excitement and adventure of the war to end all wars. But in the Light Horse they quickly discover the brutal realities of life on the frontline. And nothing will ever be the same again. Featuring stunning charcoal sketches by Brian Simmonds alongside primary source documents and historical photos, Light Horse Boy goes behind the scenes of the Light Horse legend for an intimate look at their experience of World War I.
In the Lamplight is the story of Rose, a young English girl turned nurse who cares for and falls in love with Jim, the Light Horse Boy. On the long journey back to Australia they experience the appalling loss of life in the Spanish influenza epidemic, only to face more challenges upon repatriation.
Based on the true story of Fay Howe, this gentle tale brings to life the hardships of those left at home during the war. Drawing on fascinating archival material, and interweaving fact with fiction, award-winning author Dianne Wolfer deftly recreates this period in Australian history from the perspective of a young girl.
A tiny dog, the runt of the litter, is born on a remote cattle station. She shouldn’t have survived, but when Elsie finds, names and loves her, the pup becomes a cherished companion. Life is perfect … until War arrives. With Japanese air raids moving closer, Elsie’s family leaves the Pilbara for the south and safety. But the small dog has to stay behind. After travelling far from home with drovers and a flying doctor, she becomes a hospital dog and experiences the impact of war on north-western Australia. She witnesses wonderful and terrible things and gives courage to many different humans. But through all her adventures and many names, the little dog remembers Elsie, who loved her best of all. Will she ever find her again?
New Zealand Authors
In 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill established a secret organisation “to set Europe ablaze!”. Discover how the work of British secret agents changed the course of World War II.
High interest, low reading level books for struggling readers.
For Frances and her family, living on a remote lighthouse station, World War Two is both far away and scarily close. There are rumours of submarines in the Pacific. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, taken Singapore and bombed Darwin…so what’s to stop them invading New Zealand next? But then trouble strikes closer to home – and Frances, the only girl on the island, has more to worry about than the threat of Japanese invasion. Suddenly, everyday life is harder than ever before. And it’s up to Frances to hold the family together.
Fourteen-year-old Beatrice Thomas lives with her widowed mother and younger sister Tilly in a small country town overshadowed by the events of World War One. Many of the local boys, including Beaty’s friend Caleb, are away fighting. When Beaty has to leave school, she gets a job as a telegram girl at the Post and Telegraph Office. It’s a hard job, especially when she has to deliver news of war casualties. She must convince the telegram boys, and herself, that she’s up to the task, at a time when women’s roles were limited. Meanwhile, Caleb’s letters turn darker as his initial enthusiasm fades and reality takes over. Rumours of peace start to spread, but Beaty continues delivering telegrams through the Armistice, the peace celebrations and the dreadful influenza epidemic. Soon she’s running the Post Office almost single-handed. Then Caleb’s letters stop arriving.