Dreaming Soldiers by Catherine Bauer

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Illus. by Shane McGrath. Big Sky Publishing, 2018. ISBN: 9781925675528.
(Age: 7-13 years) Highly recommended. Themes: World War 1, ANZAC Day, Indigenous soldiers, War Veterans, Dreaming, Friendship, Australian History, Outback South Australia. Jimmy and Johno have shared everything growing up in outback South Australia. Life on an outback station meant they were free to do as they pleased. As they grew up Johnno went off to school and university in the city but always came home to his family and great mate, Jimmy. The two lads eventually signed up and went off to fight in World War 1. They served together and loyally looked after each other.
This is an excellent story to share with students about the meaning of ANZAC Day and the theme of mateship. The illustrations support the text beautifully. This simply written story sensitively provides an historical perspective of the racism and discrimination endured by Indigenous people and returning soldiers. It would be a wonderful starting point for a discussion with older primary-aged students looking at Indigenous History in Australia.
Indigenous soldiers returning home from the horrors of World War I were plunged headlong into another long-running battle. Read the full story in a timely article the link to which is provided: 'They were back to being black': The land withheld from returning Indigenous soldiers. Teacher's notes are available.
Kathryn Beilby