A book for Anzac Day:
Lest we forget by Feana Tu’akoi, illustrated by Elspeth Alix Batt (Scholastic, 2011)
32 pages with pen and wash illustrations
Subjects: World War Two, Vietnam, Anzac Day, dawn parade, family, picture books (Year 2-5)
This story is unusual for a picture book about war, in that it spends a lot of time focusing on women and giving them a voice. Tyson doesn’t want to go along to the Anzac Day dawn parade because he thinks it’s all about glorifying war. But after talking with his mother, Nana and Great-gran, he starts to see another side of the story. On Anzac morning he gets up early after all and goes to the dawn parade with his mother and Koro, who was wounded in Vietnam, and together they recognise the importance of the day and remember those who have died in war.
The te reo Māori version was shortlisted in the SLANZA Te Kura Pounamu awards 2012 and the late Katerina Mataira won the Te Rōpū Whakahau award Te Tohu Pounamu 2012 for her translation.
There’s a family tree at the beginning, which is useful to flip back to until you have the family connections straight in your mind.
Here's a review on the National Library Create readers site.
You can also listen to the story on the RNZ Storytime treasure chest.
About the author
Feana Tu’akoi has written many stories and article for the educational market, as well as the What is a ///? non-fiction series. She lives in Hamilton with her Tongan husband and their children. Book Council and Storylines sites.
You can read more about her
Here’s an interesting interview with her on Paula Green’s Poetry Box website:
“I wrote very quickly – in one sitting, in fact – although I did spend a lot of time editing and re-editing, until I was happy with it. I didn’t need to do any research, as it was a mixture of all the thoughts I’d ever had about ANZAC Day parades. The understanding that Tyson comes to during afternoon tea is the understanding I came to, after studying NZ history at university.”
There’s another interview, talking about why she wrote this book, on the My best friends arebooks blog: "We need to remember the past, so we can make better decisions in the future. I think that the next generation is smart enough to do just that. And that’s why I dedicated this book to my kids.”
About the illustrator
Elspeth Alix Batt has also done a lot of illustration work for the educational market, especially the School Journal
Other books you might like:
Grandad’s medals by Tracy Duncan, illustrated by Bruce Potter, My Grandad marches on Anzac Day by Catriona Hoy, Anzac Day parade by Glenda Kane
Have you read it?
Have you read this book? Let me know what you think!