Sunday 6 August 2017

Three books by Mark Wilson

Angel of Kokoda (Lothian Children’s Books, 2010)
Vietnam diary (Lothian Children’s Books, 2013)
The Afghanistan pup (Lothian Children’s Books, 2014)

All similar format: hardback, 32 pages with full colour illustrations

Subjects: World War Two, Papua New Guinea, Pacific, Vietnam, brothers, Afghanistan, animals, dogs, mascots, picture books (Year 3-6)

A Papua New Guinea boy helps a wounded Australian soldier along the Kokoda Track. A young man goes off to fight in Vietnam, despite the protests of his brother. A dog is rescued from the ruins of a bombed school and becomes a soldier’s pet. 

These three books are part of the Children in War series which explores children’s experiences of, and reactions to, four different wars involving Australians:  World War One, World War Two, the Vietnam War and the war in Afghanistan. The texts are clear and not too detailed (apart from the Vietnam one, which includes handwritten diary entries).

They are well-produced books that cover lesser known aspects of war, although I would have liked some more context for each story (perhaps because they are very Australian - oriented). 

Reading time (from the Children's Book Council of Australia)
reviews The Afghanistan pup here and admires the way that Mark Wilson "skilfully weaves narratives that tell stories of tragedy and hope with his extraordinarily evocative illustrations", while "snippets of newspaper clippings, reports, poems and letters enrich the stories and add layers of meaning."

There are teacher notes and activities - 
for The Afghanistan pup here 
for Angel of Kokoda here
for Vietnam diary here.

About the author: 
Mark Wilson's website shows his prolific and impressive output and also talks about his interesting life and varied career!

Other books you might like: Also by the same author is My mother’s eyes: the story of a boy soldier.  Mark Wilson illustrated A day to remember: the story of Anzac Day by Jackie French.

Have you read it? Have you read these books? Let me know what you think!

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