The first copy of The Anzac Billy arrived in my letterbox last week. And it’s so beautiful. The artwork by Mark Jackson and Heather Potter is full of detail and delight. It’s been a while coming, this book but it’s worth the wait to see just how wonderful it looks. Thank you so much, Maryann Ballantyne and Black Dog Books for the behind-the-scenes work to shape this story.
What’s it about?
In 1915, Australians and New Zealanders raised money for the war effort and simultaneously created Christmas gifts – care packages – for their soldiers at war. This is the story of one boy, one family putting together a billy full of treats for their soldier. There was no way they could be sure that their soldier would receive this gift, but they filled it with their love anyway.
Care packages continue to be send to soldiers on active duty, but 1915 was the only year that they were sent in billies.
I’ve put together my own billy full of treats to take into classrooms when I share this book with young readers. I hope to set children thinking about what they would send if they were putting together a care package to send to a loved one away from home. I also hope that like my young boy, they will write a letter, or postcard.
The Anzac Billy will be released at the beginning of April.