Review : Gallipoli

Gallipoli : 4 titles reviewed by Ms Powling.

On 25 April 2015 we mark the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli. How can we ever imagine or begin to understand what it was like at Gallipoli in 1915? Many books have been written and lately there have been some exceptional picture books that try to help us understand.

One that I reviewed last year was One minutes silence by David Metzenthen and Michael Camilleri.


The latest book that I have read is The Beach They Called Gallipoli.

This is a book about Gallipoli, the place, and what happened on the Gallipoli Beach from April to December 1915. In this powerful book by using place as a focus the author, Jackie French, can encompass a range of perspectives about different peoples, those who fought and those who defended. Jackie French and Bruce Whatley bring the Gallipoli campaign to life with pages of sparse, but rhythmic, text and collages of real life imagery, created from old photographs, sketches, diagrams, maps, letters, postcards, symbols and more. The colours are muted and the collages create hauntingly sad images, which are not overly graphic, but do feature many fallen soldiers. It is a picture book for older readers and not designed for young children. The focus reiterates the futility of war. The blood that was shed at Gallipoli merges into other stories of battles where there are no winners or losers just people caught up in events of the times.

The Beach They Called Gallipoli: Jackie French and Bruce Whatley in conversation here.

Jackie French and Bruce Whatley talk about their research for Inside History here.

Harper Collins Teacher Notes here 

One-Minutes-Silence_CRV_WROne Minute’s Silence: another great picture book remembering WWI  by David Metzenthen and illustrated by Michael Camilleri.

One minute’s silence is another story remembering WWI. This one has text written by an author who I believe captures the Australian character very well and I enjoy reading David’s YA novels.

This picture book really showcases his ability to use language emotively. Michael Camilleri’s images are equally powerful. I am thinking about the CBCA Book Week display and the theme this year “Reading to Connect: Connect to reading”. This book certainly enables us to connect to the past and not just to the ANZACs but to the Turkish soldiers as well. It is a beautifully presented picture book that takes an unusual path to look at WWI’s Gallipoli campaign.OneMinutesSilence_TXTENDS_WR_Spreads-16

It begins in a 21st century classroom with students depicted, in black and white drawings, as fairly uninterested. The minute’s silence for remembering those who died in WWI (at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month) is about to begin. The text then repeats, page after page, the words “in one minute’s silence….” as it depicts, in black and white illustrations, and describes, in emotionally moving text, what happened at Gallipoli, from both perspectives. Using simple language, the reader is asked to think and imagine what the men at Gallipoli felt/thought/went through. The stories of courage and fear of the young men on both sides of the battle are seamlessly merged offering balance to the campaign that is very well-known in Australia. The extract from Mustafa Ataturk’s moving speech is a fitting end to the book. A great deal of careful thought has made the text and images deceptively simple as fit they together to give the reader a powerful experience.

David Metzenthen and Michael Camilleri have created an amazing book for all ages.

Some of David’s thoughts here. There are teacher’s notes for the book on the publisher’s website.


Lone Pine by Susie Brown and Margaret Warner (2014). (Picture book)

The story begins in December 2008 with a dramatic  image of a lone pine tree being buffeted by a lightning storm in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial. The rest of the book explains why and how it came to be there. The story is simply told but the images and the colours chosen to accompany the story are dramatic and emotive. They not only support the text but add to greatly to it. The last two pages in the back of the book briefly explain  the Battle of Lone Pine, a brief summary about the Smith family who were involved in the story and what happened to the pines grown from the seeds.1011

Downloadable teacher’s notes by Bec Kavanagh are available via the Hardie Grant Egmont site here

the-gallipoli-storyThe Gallipoli Story (The Story Of Gallipoli) by Patrick Carlyon (2014 edition)

The story takes you into the thick of the war fought, nearly 100 years ago, on Turkish soil, by ANZAC soldiers. The book retells the stories of some of the individuals involved, and puts a human face to the Gallipoli legend that most of us know about.

We have explained the reasons for the outbreak of the war and the Gallipoli campaign is put into context. We learn about Joe Cumberland, a young train driver from NSW, who was one of the first to enlist from the Hunter valley and of his brother, Oliver. We hear about the actions of Charles Bean, a journalist, who landed at Gallipoli with the Australian troops on 25th April 1915. He later became famous as the official war historian and was partly responsible for the growth of the ANZAC legend. The actions of William Birdwood, Colonel William Malone are related to us as well as learning more about John Simpson than just his donkey.DOC160315-16032015125712-0001

The book explores the decisions and choices made by soldiers, officers and politicians. The author also tries to fill in any gaps in stories and attempts the difficult task of separating fact from the myths and legends that have grown around Gallipoli.

There are maps, black and white photographs and diagrams and appendix containing letters and a good bibliography and index. Also includes 16 unnumbered pages of plates

Other titles:

What now?


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