Friday, July 25, 2014

Books That Sucker Punch You

One Minute's Silence by David Metzenthen and illustrated by Michael Camilleri is an absolutely stunning book.

It's one of those books I wish I had written myself because it so completely captures what I find so tragic about war - there are two side and the boys (in the first world war) fighting on each side are someone's son, brother, father.... they are "not so much different after all."

The story tells alternating between pages the Turks and the ANZACs perspectives.

This is a picture book, stunningly illustrated in pencil, that should be essential reading for any student of war and any who dare to teach such a subject. It captures the 1915 battle of Gallipoli but it is so much more.

The illustrations are moving, detailed, graphic and also contain excellent topographical views of Gallipoli which will give a much greater understanding to anyone trying understand the battle itself.

It's not a book for small children but I would use it in a heartbeat for learners from about year 5 upwards and into high school and even at university level. It teaches without condescending, it stands up as a piece of literary work and the illustrations are worthy in their own right too.

I feel so moved by this book and having visited Gallipoli and seen all those crosses marking people's places it meant a lot to me.

I would heartily recommend this as an essential for any school library, teaching unit on war or ANZACs and for any child interested in war and history.

I'm so glad that he also chose to finish the book with this amazing quote from Ataturk - I remember reading this in Gallipoli and feeling so moved by the grace and love extended in it:

Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

thanks to Allen and Unwin for this book - details published July 2014, RRP $29.99, also available as an ebook.

love you more than a book that makes you cry and gives you hope all at the same time xxx