• Written by Jane Morey

The not-for-profit Copyright Agency’s online hub for teachers, Reading Australia, has curated a collection of books and associated resources to help teachers explore the diverse themes of war with sensitivity and purpose in Australian high schools and primary schools.


With students across the country returning to school following ANZAC Day, many will be curious to better understand the challenges Australian defence forces faced in many theatres of war, the sacrifices they made, and how those stories have enriched the fabric of modern Australian society.


The list of books and resources – all linked to the Australian curriculum – thematically explore the multiple impacts of wars including the Gallipoli campaign. By utilising the resources, teachers can create meaningful lessons that explore the themes of bravery, mateship and hardship.


The titles and resources selected by Reading Australia include:


  1. The One Day of the Year (play), Alan Seymour

  2. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan

  3. Once, Morris Gleitzman

  4. Little Brother, Allan Baillie

  5. The Silver Donkey, Sonya Hartnett

  6. The Treasure Box, Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood


The One Day of the Year written by Alan Seymour in 1958explores the universal theme of father–son conflict against the background of the beery haze and the heady, nostalgic sentimentality of Anzac Day. The play was banned in 1960 for fear of offending members of the Returned Services League. Teachers can use the resource for Year 9 and 10 students and there’s an accompanying essay written by Anne Pender, an Associate Professor of English and Theatre Studies and Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of New England. It explores the themes of coming of age, national identity and the generation gap.


Richard Flanagan’s critically acclaimed Man Booker Prize winning, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, is set in a Japanese POW camp on the notorious Thai-Burma death railway. The accompanying teaching resources for senior secondary students explore the themes of bravery, hope and the cruelty and futility of war. There’s also a thought-provoking essay by Dr Kerryn Goldsworthy.


Multi award-winning The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett is set in France. It tells the story of a soldier, blinded by the war, who is found by a little girl named Coco, and her older sister Marcelle. In return for their kindness, the soldier tells the sisters stories connected to the keepsake he carries in his pocket: a perfect, tiny silver donkey. The accompanying teacher resource for year 5 and 6 students enables teachers to explore key themes of friendship, the human spirit and mateship.


To receive access to resources, essays, monthly updates, book news and competitions, teachers can visit Reading Australia’s website – www.readingaustralia.com.au/register - and register for free.



Independent Candidate for the Seat of Gippsland East, Matt Stephenson

MATT STEPHENSON TO GO INTO THE RING WITH BULL A sixth generation East Gippslander is “throwing his hat in the ring” to challenge Tim Bull at the forthcoming state elections. As an aspiring Independen...

Malcolm Turnbull press conference with the Minister for the Environment and Energy

Well the Party Room today has today overwhelmingly supported the National Energy Guarantee, and as a consequence, we are one step closer to cheaper and more reliable energy. This policy is part of ...

Independent Parliamentary Budget Office exposes Shorten's lies

Bill Shorten's false claims about so-called insecure work lie in tatters today, following an analysis published by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).  The PBO’s independent analysis...

Business News

3 Tips for Better Management

Running your own team, whether it’s the whole business or simply one department, means making sure that you are a good manager. Being a manager is a lot harder than many people assume, and often mea...

Research reveals the avoidable task 92% of people and businesses are wasting time on

New research commissioned by Zoom2u, an innovative platform that provides radically fast and reliable deliveries, reveals that despite massive tech advancements in the delivery space, 92% of Austral...

JB Hi-Fi battles on despite Amazon

Expected to be one of the most vulnerable companies amid Amazon Australia’s arrival, an emboldened JB Hi-Fi has posted an increase in revenue of 21.8% over 2017-18, to total $6,854.3 million. The gr...


AYANA Komodo Resort, Waecicu Beach

  20 August Sydney, Australia – 15 September 2018 marks the launch of the first and only 5-star resort on the island of Flores, AYANA Komodo Resort, Waecicu Beach by AYANA Hotels. Alongside the spe...

Discovering South Australia

Hey there! Have you ever thought about visiting Australia? Just imagine road tripping in a Winnebago with your family in tow and enjoying the beauty of the Down Under. If you have never enjoyed visi...

Lake Macquarie for an adventure to match every budget

Explore the environs of Australia’s largest saltwater lake on a shoestring and still have a blast If your tastes for travel out weight your wallet, and low cost or no cost activities are what you ...

You might also like