Tag Archives: Anzac Day

#365PictureBooks Day 33 – The red poppy by David Hill


“Jim, a soldier on the Western Front in World War 1, is wounded while charging through No Man’s Land. He stumbles into a shell crater for shelter and finds a badly wounded German soldier. The two men try to help each other, but it’s Nipper, the messenger dog, whose gallantry gives them a chance for survival.”

I’m busy putting together WW100 and ANZAC Day resources for a school wide project we are working on. Picture books and sophisticated picture books play an important  part in the curation of resources for a school wide project for all our students from Y1 up to Y13. There is nothing like a picture book to show readers big issues and explain them in an age appropriate but still thought provoking way.

My first pick is the Red Poppy by David Hill. We will also be using the Te Reo edition Te popi whero.  I love the moody and emotive illustrations which use a very sombre and minimal palette of grey and brown. The poppies and the blood stand out as the only red on the battlefield and colour on the pages.

The red poppy was the Storylines Notable Picture Book for 2013.

Other resources and links:

Teachers notes – Scholastic

NZ Herald review – interview with the author and background information on the writing and production process.

Bibliographic details:

The red poppy / Written by David Hill and illustrated by Fifi Coulston, with contributions by Rob Kennedy.

Published by Scholastic, 2012.

38 pages+ CD contains song: Little red poppy / by Rob Kennedy.


RRP NZ$ 33.00

Anzac Day : two great books to share with children today

Here are two books that are wonderful to share with children to explain what Anzac Day is all about and why we commemorate it.


Anzac Day : the New Zealand story (What it is and why it matters) by Philippa Werry. Published by New Holland, 2013. Paperback. ISBN:9781869663803. NZ$24.99

From the publisher:

The 25th of April is a very special day for New Zealanders and Australians. Do you know why? What does ANZAC mean? When did the tradition of the dawn service first start? Why do we wear the red poppy, and play the Last Post? This book will tell you all these things and more, and it’s crammed full of fascinating pictures as well.

From me:

I was delighted to receive this book in time for Anzac Day.

This newly published book is not only a wonderful resource for teachers and classroom study but a fantastic book for children to explore. It is laid out in an easy to follow format. Plenty of captioned pictures for younger readers, but interesting text blocks for children wanting to explore. It is full of photographs, quotes, songs, poems, recipes and other visual elements presented in a photo journal or scrapbooking style. Everything is covered in this book; the who, why, where and when questions for inquiry on this topic.

It is presented in four main chapters :

  1. The Gallipoli Campaign
  2. New Zealand at War, 1914-18
  3. Remembering our war dead
  4. Anzac Day, then and now

The author then provides a wealth of other resources that can be used for further research and investigation as well as activities for children interested in the topic.

Author website: http://www.philippawerry.co.nz/books_anzacday.html

You can listen to the interview with Philippa Werry about her book on National Radio’s Nine to Noon programme here:

Book trailer:


Grandad’s medals by Tracy Duncan illustrated by Bruce Potter.  Published by Raupo Publishing, 2005/ Penguin, 2008. ISBN9781869486655/9780143503187 Paperback (This may be out of print now, but some children’s books shops may have copies and it is in many school and public libraries).

Every year Grandad marches in the Anzac Day parade and wears his medals, walking proudly beside his old comrades. But this year Grandad’s best mate is too sick to walk and the number of old soldiers still marching is getting smaller.

Not only is this a lovely story about a young boy’s relationship with his grandfather, it is also an empathetic account of the Anzac memorial day service and why it is important.

A good list of other resources is here: http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/blogs/create-readers/08-04/anzac-resources