The Flying Angel, by Vicki Bennett, illustrated by Tull Suwannakit
This beautiful picture book is the perfect reading choice as we remember and commemorate the sacrifices made in war, on Anzac Day here in Australia.
This book is inspired by the story of Sister Marie Eileen Craig, who was one of a group of nurses who flew to the frontline in Papua New Guinea during WWII to rescue injured soldiers. They are known as the Flying Angels.
The story gives us an insight into both the horrors of war, and the compassion of the nurses who bravely went to help on the frontline, in a way that is accessible to younger readers. The narrative is clear and concise, telling the realities of war in a way that is both honest and sensitive - it is impossible not to feel a tug on the heartstrings as we witness Sister Marie making sure the safety of the injured soldiers in her care come first, under fairly harrowing circumstances.
This is then followed by the sweetness of receiving a thank you note from one of the soldiers she helped protect.
The illustrations by Tull Suwannakit are exquisite, rendered in washed out sepia tones - a nod to vintage photos from the time period during which the book is set. The dark colours also effectively convey the bleakness and fear associated with a war zone. The illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this remarkable story of a brave nurse's unwavering commitment to caring for others.
This book will most certainly inspire young readers to further research and investigate the role the Flying Angels played during WWII, and is highly recommended for your home or school library.
Published by Scholastic Australia.