17. Oct, 2018

The 'Poo Book' Blog Reviews Australia Remembers - Books On Tour


Wednesday 7 November: Ahead of Remembrance Day, the 'Poo Book' Blog is proud to review Allison Paterson's Australia Remembers, as a part of her Books On Tour promotion.

The Book: Australia Remembers Anzac Day, Remembrance Day & War Memorials

Category: Junior Non-Fiction (6 - 12 yrs)

Author: Allison Paterson

Published: Oct 2018, Big Sky Publishing

Available at: Big Sky Publishing Online

RRP: $24.99 (Hardback) / $14.99 (Paperback)


The Intro: When I was in primary school, I remember learning more about the Gallipoli campaign and the ANZACs, than any other military effort in Australia’s history. It’s certainly a moment in time etched in my psyche, but I’m not sure I ever really appreciated the sacrifice of the Australian and New Zealand forces, until much later in life. You could say it’s because I never lost a relative in the Great War, or you might turn to the resources used by my history teachers, on the importance of Remembrance Day. Probably both played a part, but it’s a contemporary reference book like Allison Paterson’s Australia Remembers, that really hits home. It’s a best practice example of a non-fiction resource for children, that leaves its mark . Itonveys the truth of Remembrance Day, and the importance of War Memorials for all modern Australian war efforts. 

About the Author: Like many savvy children’s authors, Allison Paterson has the profession of teacher-librarian on her extensive CV. This specialised type of educator is fortunate to have exposure to a wide range of literature, both factual and fictional, leading to a strong vantage point from which to pen their own books for children. With 20-years teaching under her belt, and many years reviewing for Magpies Magazine, Allison turned her skills to writing history and has become a specialist in junior reference materials for Australian military history. With industry recognition for children’s title Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front, Paterson has also had Granny’s Place and Shearing Time published, as well as receiving the coveted May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship. Her newly released Australia Remembers, is first in a series of books with the history of war remembrance and the traditions of the Australian defence force at its heart.

About the Book: I read Australia Remembers in one sitting. I was drawn to the content, and the way the stories of the ANZACs, Remembrance Day and War Memorials were presented. I usually dread reading reference books for any other purpose than research, but I can honestly say that Paterson found a way to educate me, while genuinely holding my interest. As alluded to previously, this is the type of non-fiction book that can inspire children. It can engender a true empathy for the people of the past, and those that survive them in the present day. 

Divided into manageable themed chapters, each covering a different aspect of the Australian war efforts and memorial traditions, the text is large and broken up into digestible chunks for the young researcher. Usually break-out boxes drive me to distraction as I feel my attention pulled in too many directions, but Paterson and the layout designer have found a way of making them work. The break-out graphics flow with the main text, rather than fighting against it. The sum of all Australia Remembers factual parts, is both readable and meaningful.

I also loved the balance of original source materials (war photos, propaganda posters, and poetry), with quotes and anecdotes from the survivors of war and their relatives. That is the power of this book and its value in keeping a respect for ANZAC alive. Even if you do not have personal experience of war, nor relatives who fought for the cause, you can still walk away from this book more understanding of the true human experience of sacrifice and why so many Australians still commemorate Australian war efforts.

Recommended For: With her background in school libraries, Paterson understands the needs of her audience and pitches perfectly to self-readers from the age of 6 to 12. While older primary students will have a greater depth of understanding of the resource materials contained within the book, and be able to work independently with the materials, there are clever engagement techniques for educating younger students. Examples include Did You Know-style snippets of information, as well as craft and cooking-related activities, to encourage a tangible interest in the red poppy of Remembrance Day, and the biscuits of the ANZACs. While a keen student might choose to read the text in its entirety, it is certainly designed equally, as a well-segmented and indexed reference book for project work. This is, after all, often the first step to a love of history in a curious child. I for one, wish that I had had such a book when I was at school. 

Australia Remembers Tour Dates: Monday 5 - Sunday 11 November

Monday 5 November
Tuesday 6 November

Wednesday 7 November

Thursday 8 November
Friday 9 November
Saturday 10 November

Just Write For Kids & Books On Tour