The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has published a children’s book after receiving a Queensland Anzac Centenary Spirit of Service Grant.  The book is titled Voices from the Trenches and is written by Dr Martin Kerby.

Other significant contributors to the book are Associate Professor Margaret Baguely and USQ Visual Arts graduate Eloise Tuppurainen-Mason, who illustrated the images, while Zoe Lynch created the animation for the DVD version of the picture book.

The book features historical quotes and extracts from the diaries and letters of Australian soldiers, civilians and politicians to complement illustrations depicting significant events in Australia’s history.

Senior Lecturer in USQ’s School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood Dr Kerby said the book would help strengthen children’s connection with Australia’s Anzac heritage.

“While it’s not a traditional picture book, our aim was to make it accessible to young adults through the quality of the artwork,” he said.

“Some of the quotes we’ve used come from people like Harry Gullett who was the official historian of the Australian Light Horse and Charles Bean who was one of the most influential writers of Australian history and one of the founders of the Australian War Memorial.”

Dr Kerby said each page included historical background notes for teachers to use as further reference material.

“War can be a difficult subject to navigate with children, although that does not mean they should be prevented from engaging with this topic. I believe children today are very sophisticated consumers of visual imagery particularly, more so than we often give them credit for,” he said.

“I would like to think they will read it and find something of interest that encourages them to read more widely.”

The Queensland Anzac Centenary Spirit of Service Grant honours the commitment and sacrifice of servicemen and women during the First World War.

The grant also provided funding for an original music score composed of nine original pieces titled Anzac Rocks: World War 1 in 9 Rock Songs by Dr Robert Keane for the St Joseph’s Nudgee College rock ensemble.

The 11-piece group, conducted by Brett Foster, recently toured regional Queensland, which included a special performance at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ), with various images from the children’s book projected behind the band.

Associate Professor Baguley, said this was the third Anzac project where USQ has collaborated with St Joseph’s Nudgee College in the past four years.

“We were both deeply committed to ensuring the Anzac legacy and tradition were commemorated respectfully through this project and believe it will resonate in schools and the wider community,” she said.

Copies of Voices from the Trenches have been distributed to schools across Queensland.

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