The King’s Medal
The King’s Medal
“Poppa, what’s that?” asked Manu.
His grandfather opened etched hands to reveal a medal.
Manu leaned in. “Did you win it?”
“Sort of. A king gave it to me.”
Manu’s mouth gaped. “Why did a king give you something so precious?”
So begins the true story of the Anzac soldiers saving the Greek King in World War II. The King and the Anzac soldiers must flee the Nazi paratroopers, climb steep mountains, avoid gunfire from Greek soldiers who think they are spies, and find the ship that will get them to safety.
From the award-winning author of Anzac Heroes comes an action-packed story of daring, bravery and loyalty. Based on true recounts from Anzac soldiers, during a significant event in World War II.
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“This picture book takes an unusual incident in New Zealand history (and also Australian and Greek history) which was in danger of being forgotten and brings it to fresh life for young readers… Grandfather tells his story of their escape in a simple, matter-of-fact way, which still manages to convey the drama of their situation… Alistair Hughes has provided colour illustrations of the men on their perilous journey, as well as an excellent map of Crete, showing the route followed. The portraits of Manu and his grandfather are charming; Alistair Hughes found his models at a local marae. He has dealt well with the challenge of re-creating historical war scenes in a way suitable for a children’s story. The best picture shows two nervous soldiers rowing out to sea in the moonlight to find out if a nearby warship is friendly or hostile. You can almost smell the tension.
The book also has two pages of background information about this operation and the people involved.
On a personal note, I was encouraged in my enjoyment of history by W.J. ‘Mont’ McClymont, who published the NZ War History volume To Greece while I was a pupil in his History class. I did my History M.A. under Professor Angus Ross, who managed to write 23 Battalion’s history without mentioning that he was awarded the Greek Order of Valour Aristion Andrias. I was, therefore, aware of the NZ Army’s involvement in bringing the King and Prime Minister of Greece to safety when Crete fell to the Germans. To find the tale presented in a form that makes it easily accessible to young readers has given me great pleasure.
From The Source