Children & Young Adult Books:

When Our Jack Went to War


Paperback / softback

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When Our Jack Went to War by Sandy McKay
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A powerful and moving YA story about two brothers, one of whom goes off to fight in World War One. It's 1917 and Jack enlists. And although 13-year-old Tom is envious of his elder brother, he soon changes his mind as the reality of war becomes more apparent. We follow Jack's story through his letters home and through the eyes of his younger brother. Tom writes about life at home in New Zealand: living with Mum and their young sister, Amy, learning to hunt with his uncle, getting a puppy and learning to knitafor the war effort. Jack writes of his first-hand experience in Trentham, the troop ship, Britain, France, the Battle of Messines and finally, Passchendaele. Sadly the story ends with Jack being killed at Passchendaele along with hundreds of other Kiwis. (Of the 180 soldiers in the 2nd Otago Division, 148 lost their lives in one day in New Zealand's worst ever military disaster.) When Our Jack Went to War is a fictional account of a real life tragedy, based on the author's research into the death of her own great uncle, who died in 1917. The NZ Post Award-winning Sandy Mckay ably conveys how war affects everyone - it's a superb meditation on war and its devastating effect on soldiers and their families.

Author Biography

Sandy McKay is an experienced writer for children; she is the author of over 12 titles, most notably, Recycled, My Dad the All Black, Losing It and One Stroppy Jockey. She's a recipient of the Dunedin College of Education Writer in Residency, and her books have been short-listed for the NZ Post and LIANZA awards and have been listed as Storylines Notable Books. Sandy won the Junior Fiction Category of the NZ Post Children's Book Awards for Recycled. Her landmark book, Losing It, was short-listed for the Esther Glen Award and dramatised by Radio New Zealand.
Release date NZ
April 5th, 2013
Country of Publication
New Zealand
Longacre Press
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