Thursday 25 April 2013

A Day to Remember

My love affair with both Jackie French and Mark Wilson continues. I've gushed over Jackie French quite a few times here, so much so that she has her own label. I've never blogged about Mark Wilson before, but I've read a number of his books, he illustrated a great series of books on extinct animals with Gary Crew (who also really deserves a presence on this blog- an oversight that I hope to remedy soon). 

I'd seen A Day to Remember around last year, but had not got a copy, then recently I saw a stack in the shops again, and with Anzac Day coming up I knew it's time had come so I bought one. 

Jackie French and Mark Wilson have created an extraordinary book which has rightly been shorlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book Award 2013

Anzac Day, April 25, is an important day in Australia (and other places around the world, but I mainly know about Australia). It commemorates the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. A Day to Remember traces the history of Anzac Day, from the story of those courageous but hapless young boys in 1915 through to modern times. 

The purpose of Anzac Day has changed over time. On the first few Anzac Days World War I was still going, "floundered in the mud of France and Belgium." The Anzac Day commemoration was to help enlist more young men for the war effort. 

It's fascinating to know that the first dawn service was an impromptu affair  in Martin Place in 1927. 
In the grey light of dawn, in Sydney, an old woman laid a wreath of flowers at the Sydney Cenotaph, not yet finished as a memorial to the Anzacs. A small group of returned soldiers, coming home late after a reunion the night before, joined her.
 They remembered the first dawn landing and the Last Post bugle call played each night, to signal that the night's sentries were on guard, and that the camp could sleep. They promised that next year there would be a service here at dawn. 

A Day to Remember reminds us that of course the War to End All Wars didn't actually end war, and that young lives are still being lost in conflicts around the world. At the end A Day to Remember cleverly looks forward towards those Anzac Days to come, to remembrance ceremonies that will held around the world, commemorating those who served and fell in many lands. 

Interesting to learn that those famous words were written in 1914,
before Gallipoli, in the first months of World War I. 

A Day to Remember is an important book, that every Australian, child or adult, should read and ponder.



MedicatedMoo said...

You've just given me a great idea for a nephew's birthday present - thank you!

Marg said...

Jackie French is so prolific. I think she would be fascinating to listen to as a speaker just because she has written across so many different topics!