Sunday, April 27, 2014

Anzac Inspired Reading

Anzac Day (Friday 25 April) is our annual day of remembrance for the Kiwi and Australian soldiers who fought at Gallipoli during World War I. The day also commemorates the service men and women who have served and died in military conflicts around the world.

Our children and teens librarian Andrea has reviewed two fantastic books that deal with the horrors and realities of war.

Title: Once
Author: Morris Gleitzman
This is an unusual story in the way it is written. However it reveals to the reader the horrific conditions of wartime upon people, especially the Jews. We read of some of the events of World War II and Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe.

The story centres around Felix, a young Polish boy and son of a bookseller, who starts his life in an orphanage. We find out the hardships Felix faces as he lives through the war filled years. To Felix, everything is a story: But as Felix's journey gets increasingly dangerous, he begins to see horrors that not even stories can explain. Despite his grim surroundings, Felix never loses hope. Maybe this can be inspiration for us to peruse through our difficult times.

Title: Candles at Dawn
Author: Serpil Ural
An easy book to hook into and read and with the one hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign on 25 April 2015, this is also a very relevant novel.

It shares with the reader the stories of two families and centred around the two girls, one Turkish and the other Australian. Their interest in the upcoming Anzac ceremony is highlighted when Australian Ellie and her mother travel to Turkey's Anzac Cove where they befriend Zeynep, a young girl whose mother runs a boarding house. A relationship develops when the girls discover their grandfathers fought as enemies at Gallipoli.

Historical facts illustrated throughout the story provide a realistic description of the hardship soldiers on both sides endured. Throughout the story the girls question why war happens, what is gained by fighting and the innocence of the soldiers enlisting for an unknown and miscalculated adventure.

As a reader it made me question things too, and helped me to come to an understanding of the control powers-at-be hold at the expense of our venerable soldiers.


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