Major Peter Romsey contacts Jaxson’s dad to ask if some medals he found in an op shop could possibly belong to the Donoghue family. Intrigued by the story of his great, great uncle being part of the Great War, and what happened to him after that, Jaxson reads about Gallipoli. As a result his close friendship with Abi wavers. Even if this conflict took place ninety odd years ago, Abi’s family are Turkish. Does this make Abi his enemy?
A TV interview where a retired army officer talked about finding and returning lost medals to the descendants of the soldiers awarded them. I would like to think this topic is rarely written for such a young audience. Hopefully, I have made easy for the reader to relate to Jaxson and Abi and helped them understand why we celebrate the Anzacs and Anzac Day.
Which age group is it for?
As a junior novel aimed at younger readers, it gives context and background to Anzac Day and to the soldiers who died at Gallipoli. The story is told from the point of view of a young boy. Though there are inserts from Great Uncle Jack’s letters home, their message is about the horrors of war and sacrifices so many young men made.
Major Characters include:
Jaxson Donoghue aged 11 This is Jaxson’s journey of discovery, not just about Gallipoli but also about friendship and his relationship with Abi.
Abi Nachbar is Jaxson’s best friend, and a 2nd generation Turkish-Australian. He lives within an extended family. Jaxson often stays with the Nachbars when his parents are late home from work.
Reviewer: Anastasia Gonis.
This wonderful book is a valuable resource for young readers with its unique approach to the legend of ANZAC. The story istold through two points of view: the diary entries of eleven yearold Jaxson today and those of Private Jack Donaghue during 1915.
Jaxson is surprised to learn that an ANZAC Commemorative Medallion belonging to his great great uncle, Private Jack Donaghue has been found in an Op Shop. The purchaser, Major Peter Romsey, is trying to track down the relatives of the owner. This sparks an examination of Jack Donaghue’s life. More so, when Jaxson’s school project uncovers more questions and answers about the Great War.
Another thread through the book is the close relationship between Jaxson and his Turkish mate Abi. After learning about Great Great Uncle Jack, dynamics change between Jaxson and Abi. Jaxson has mixed feelings about the reasons for the War and how enemies can become friends. Abi can’t understand why things are different.
The friends struggle with this dilemma. We share their fears, the questioning and reasoning, and view their painful journey through doubt to the exultant resolution. This superbly illustrated book of historical fiction (with a map of the ANZAC area at the end) is presented in a fine prose style. While made up of a compact 28 pages, it holds extensive information and important themes and is ideal for readers of all ages.