I did not expect to like this book, with a statue of a soldier on the cover, but it is a book which demands the reader to think about important ideas. The complex story encompasses the many contradictions inherent in our celebration of the bravery of soldiers. The statue stands as a metaphor for the soldiers, who stood for King and Country in the fields of Gallipoli, but unlike the statue many of the soldiers “never came back” and many returned “with bandaged eyes and missing limbs”.
It pulls no punches with its description of war and the effects on the families, but it also is a lyrical celebration of the natural world, the curiosity of children and life in general. It acknowledges the years since WW1; years when many in society were not happy recognising ANZAC Day and years when more New Zealand soldiers died overseas. The statue has observed all the changes over time, but continues to stand as part of our collective memory.
This book would provide a great starting point for a discussion on war, bravery, beliefs, history, change and really anything to do with the human spirit.
Title: This is Where I Stand
Author: Phillipa Werry
Illustrator: Kieran Rynhart
Format: hardback picture book
Ages: primary and up
Reviewer: Carola Crawford, English teacher, Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College
How are you recommending this book? Highly Recommended
Opening sentence: The sun shines. The wind blows. The rain sweeps by.
You can buy this book here