The first edition cover of the first of Ethel Turner's trilogy of war novels. Although the Cub's elder brother is killed at the Front in this volume and he himself enlists, the cover focuses on an Edwardian couple in light chat.
The cover of Ethel Turner's novel inverts the reader's expectations by placing the visible injury on the small child and not the soldier next to him.
In this unusual addition to Australian children's war literature, a young girl discovers fairies in the Australian bush after her adored older brother enlists. The illustrations were the work of the author.
The Reverend Joseph Bowes specialised in chummy stories for boys, among them this and The Young Anzacs (1917).
Wolfgang Grasse's haunting cover image for Ivan Southal's novel about Anzac Day.
The cover image for the first edition of Elyne Mitchell's novel is very much of its time–but also full of taut movement and power.
The first edition of Deepwater showed a young farming girl reading a newspaper with a prominent Gallipoli headline: for this later reprint, the war has been further emphasised with the images of soldiers in the bottom left-hand corner.
In Candles at Dawn, an Australian girl travelling to Gallipoli for the Anzac Day celebrations befriends the daughter of her Turkish landlady. The silhouetted cover of this novel deliberately elides the differences between both the girls and their grandfathers.
The bifurcated cover of the first edition of Boys of Blood and Bone reflects the twin narrative, in which a contemporary law student becomes fascinated with a digger who died nearly ninety years before.
The red and yellow tones on this book cover cast a certain lividity across the faces of the soldiers.
Emphasising the non-combat roles of women in France in World War I, the cover for Jackie French's novel evokes Edwardian needlecraft–until the reader notices the line of soldiers.
Like Candles at Dawn, Evan's Gallipoli silhouettes the solitary protagonist on the cover, making him both unique and Everyman.
The cover of Boys of Blood and Stone labelled the 'Anzac Centenary Edition' makes the soldiers somewhat other than human, by concentrating on a face that is both strong boned and forged from metal. This image also rather elides the contemporary branch of the narrative.
Like Boys of Blood and Bone, Ronan's Echo tells two stories linked across ninety years. But despite the war content, the cover image emphasises the lost glamour of the Edwardian period.
After war broke out in July 1914, the countries involved sought to inspire the support and loyalty of their citizens for the departing troops–especially in the early stages of the war, before the heavy casualty lists began pouring in.
Among those targeted were children and adolescents. Patriotic poems began appearing in, for example, The School Paper for Grades VII and VIII (a magazine published by the Victorian Education Department) which published poems such as 'To the Helpers at Home' (October 1914), a plea to Australian children to assist the war effort at home, accompanied by a photo labelled 'Children at a Victorian State School Making Garments for the Troops.' Mainstream papers also targeted children with patriotic works: the Sydney Mail, for example, published Ella McFadyen's 'To Santa Claus' (December 1915), which begins:
Dear Santa Claus, I don't mind much
If you don't bring me toys
Cause p'r'aps your money's all been spent
On things for soldier boys
(To see the full list of Ella McFadyen's war poetry for children, follow this link.)
Established children's writers also began working the war into their fiction.
Mary Grant Bruce, for example, had begun her 'Billabong' series in 1910 with A Little Bush Maid. The series, three books strong when war broke out, already championed hard work and mateship, and Grant readily transposed these ideas to the war effort, beginning with From Billabong to London (serialised in Australia as From Billabong to the War) in 1914. Jim and Wally, like the real soldiers on whom they were patterned, wouldn't return to Australia until 1919 (in Back to Billabong).
Read one of Mary Grant Bruce's war novels, Captain Jim, in full via Project Gutenberg. Or, for a war-time experience, read the serialisation of From Billabong to the War in a 1915 newspaper (via Trove Australia).
Ethel Turner also began writing war stories, most notably in her 'Cub' trilogy (The Cub, Captain Cub, and Brigid and the Cub), which took her characters from enlistment to the armistice. But she also wrote standalone war novels, such as John of Daunt, in which the boy protagonist struggles with such problems as a German servant.
Read John of Daunt online via the Internet Archive.
Such works served a specific purpose (not entirely literary), and their sentiments and language are very much of the war period. But although the war ended in 1918, war literature for children did not.
Unsurprisingly, given the spans of time involved, more works have been written for children about World War I in the years since the armistice than were written during the war years. And as the war years retreat further from living memory, the ways in which authors make those year relevant to younger readers shift.
To explore all of AustLit's records for children's and young adult's works about World War I, follow this link.
Patricia Mullins's cover takes an anthropomorphic approach to the story of Anzac Day, by showing the story of Simpson and his donkey through the eyes of a donkey.
The naive style of Frané Lessac's cover illustration for Mark Greenwood's picture book somehow works to amplify the heat, pain, and struggle behind this static image.
Lighthouse Girl is based on the story of Fay Howe, daughter of the Breaksea Island lighthouse keeper, who relayed messages for departing ANZAC troops in 1914. As a home-front story, it avoids images of the war itself.
In contrast, Wolfer's companion volume, Light Horse Boy showcases a dynamic image of boy and horse, presumably in combat. The movement of this image is in direct contrast to the staticity of the cover of Lighthouse Girl.
In contrast to Dianne Wolfer's Light Horse Boy, the focus in this cover is very much on the light horse itself: Midnight's rider, Lieutenant Guy Haydon, is entirely absent from the image.
The beautiful, painterly cover of Lone Pine combines the abstract but familiar Gallipoli symbol of the lone pine with the equally powerful symbol of a sunset.
Annie White's cover for Kerry Greenwood's again uses the image of the Lone Pine, but in this example it dwarfs two soldiers in khaki, and the washed-out colours of the image add a melancholic tinge.
Shaun Tan's gorgeous cover for Gary Crew's book shows children scrambling into the branches of a tree planted as a memorial by returning soldiers nearly a century earlier.
Sub-titled 'The story of a boy soldier', My Mother's Eyes illustrates the story of sixteen-year-old soldier William with a black-and-white drawing of a disturbingly young face.
Another disturbingly young face, but the focus in this cover is on the bugle itself, the inanimate object that comes to stand in for the absent Jack.
One of many works that tell the story of the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, when AIF soldiers suffered heavy casualties in re-taking the town from the German army with, as the town's mayor noted when unveiling a memorial in 1919, 'the spontaneous enthusiasm and characteristic dash of their race'.
Another picture book exploring the aftermath of the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux; in this example, the sharing of national identity is literalised in gorgeous, surreal illustrations.
Brian Harrison-Lever's cover for Norman Jorgensen's story of a soldier who crawls out into no man's land to rescue a trapped robin uses the bright red of the robin (and of Flanders poppies) against a sombre background.
A third account of the Second Battle of Villier-Bretonneux, The Poppy makes an ever more dramatic use of the bright red of Flanders poppies.
Ethel Turner wrote several war stories, among them this trilogy centering on 'the Cub', the younger son of an Australian family, who enlists after the elder son and heir is killed on the battlefields.
Turner is best known, of course, for Seven Little Australians (1894), and was still a highly successful author twenty years later when this trilogy appeared.
The first volume in the trilogy introduces the Cub, and brings news of his brother's death before his own enlistment.
The works listed here are all set 'somewhere in France' (or Belgium) during World War I.
A story unravels in two time periods: in 1916, twin brothers leave behind the girl they both love to march off to war, and nearly a century later, a forensic anthropologist uncovers family secrets among the bodies of lost Australian soldiers.
A third account of the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, this one with surreal and beautiful illustrations.
An English army deserter in France uses a small silver donkey charm to teach a group of children about courage and loyalty.
In 2010, Random House released a 'younger readers' edition' of this autobiography of a teenaged soldier in World War I.
In three novels published between 1915 and 1919, Mary Grant Bruce takes the characters she invented for her popular 'Billabong' series and puts them in service to the Empire.
In this first volume of the war-time Billabong stories (the fourth volume of the Billabong series), the Billabong folk pack up and move to London when Jim and wally decide to enlist.
An encounter with gas in the trenches of France sends Jim and Wally off the Ireland to recuperate, do a little trout fishing–and run across a German submarine.
These works are all set in and around the Gallipoli peninsula.
Reminiscent in some ways of Puck of Pook's Hill, The Unknown Australian Soldiers brings forth the ghost of the eponymous digger, who gives two children a first-hand glimpse of the battlefields of World War II–including the Gallipoli Peninsula.
In this version of the tale, the donkey is given a more prominent role, both in the title and on the cover.
These stories all take place on that 'one day of the year': Anzac Day.
This anthology, published in the 1940s, includes the story 'Children of Anzac', in which children contrive to enable their ex-serviceman father to attend the local Anzac Day march.
Southall's protagonist vibrates between the perspective of his grandmother (who never misses an Anzac Day march) and his ex-serviceman father (who never attends one), until one Anzac Day he meets two people who show him yet another perspective.
These stories concentrate as much–and sometimes more–on those left at home as they do on those who march away.
In the Adelaide Hills in 1915, German settlers are increasingly being treated with suspicion as the casualty lists continue to roll in.
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