Top books to read on Anzac Day

Publish Date : 24 Apr 2018
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As we approach Anzac Day, it’s a poignant time to reflect not just on Gallipoli but on war and peace. Choose from a selection of adult fiction titles that cover the First World War and the Kiwi experience.

1. All Quiet on the Western Front 

A book that’s been both banned and celebrated, this was one of the first war novels to question the 'glory' of war and explores the experiences of German soldiers during the First World War.

2. Anzac heroes 

This graphic novel presents 10 Anzac war stories celebrating the personal bravery, comradeship and action found in the midst of battle.

3. White feathers 

The second in the Children of War series, this saga follows English-New Zealand immigrant Tamar Murdoch and her children’s struggles, victorious and grief during World War I. Check out the first book in the series, Tamar

4. Good sons 

Explore the coming of age tale of three friends from Oamaru, set against the backdrop of WWI. The journey follows them from the rural fields of the South Island to the battlefields of France, highlighting the impact of war on ordinary people. 

5. Soldier 

Originally written in 1918, this personal story recounts the war experiences of Kiwi politician and activist, John A. Lee.

6. The Christmas Match 

Discover the true events of the renowned 1914 ‘Christmas match’ – a few hours in the middle of the war when the two sides lay down their arms to come together in comradeship.

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Share in the story of Tū, the only survivor of three young men from one family who went to war. Follow Tū as he tells his niece and nephew what really happened to the brothers as the Māori Battalion fought the war in Italy. Written in te reo Māori.

8. The virgin and the whale 

A perspective from those left behind – this love story follows Elizabeth Whitman as she waits for her ‘presumed dead’ husband to return from war and keeps him alive for their son by telling the story of a man she calls The Balloonist.

9. The daughter of Mars 

A story from the often-untold perspective of the nurses of WWI. Two Australian sisters join the war effort, escaping the confines of their father’s farm and carrying a guilty secret with them.

10. A Gallipoli soldier’s secret

Explore the weight and pain that remain years after war ends. A young New Zealand woman goes on a pilgrimage to Turkey to find her great-grandfather's grave and stumbles over dark secrets that have been hidden in a village near Gallipoli for decades.

This list was curated by Anne Dickson from Mahurangi East Library.

If you want to explore the significance of Anzac Day to young children, check our list of Anzac picture books curated by Anne Coppell from Helensville Library.

You can also check out more book lists here.

Get more information on these books (and more) and get them on loan for free.

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