Sunday, November 16, 2014

The ANZACS 100 Years on in story and song by Ted Egan

I rarely review books like this - Non Fiction - but this is such a special and important volume.  2014 marks the Centenary WWI and next year Australians will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli.

The ANZACS 100 Years on in story and song has 158 pages and is probably best read by adults and teachers but I am mentioning it because it is such a fabulous resource.  The accompanying CD has fourteen tracks interspersed with commentary by a soldier who survived WWI.  Jack (John Leslie Nicholson) was born in 1894 and died in 1986.  The contents of this book and CD are organised in chronological order and so between each section Jack recalls his experiences in a way which is so poignant. Chapter 12 of the book briefly relates some details of Jack's life and war experiences. Listening to Jack should help our students make a connection to this important period of world history.  The choice of songs and beautiful recordings are also worth mentioning.

I cannot do justice to this whole book so I would like to focus on one song which touched my heart - A song for Grace.  Here is the third verse :

When the telegram came, my mother collapsed, and I had
The terrible task of breaking the news to my Dad.
With our old draught-horse, Punch, my father was ploughing the land
[When] I ran to the paddock, the telegram clutched in my hand.

The Irishman read it, said: 'Thank you, now leave me alone,
'Go on back to the house, help your mother, she's there on her own'
He called: 'Stand up, Punch; we have to get on with this job'
But I saw his slumped shoulders, and I heard his heart-rending sob.

I don't normally tell my readers where to buy books but I do highly recommend this one for all school libraries so here are the publisher details.  You can read more about Ted Egan here.

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