An Unexpected Hero

What could be worse, Matt Turner wonders, than having to leave your parents, friends and the buzz of big city life for a remote rural school that’s so small it only has two classrooms, and two teachers who are married to each other?

The twelve-year-old soon finds out that worse things can happen. A school project plunges him into his worst nightmare – he has to make a speech in public.

Matt decides to speak about New Zealand’s First World War pacifist, Archibald Baxter.

But is that a good idea in a district where almost every family has lost someone to war?

Written by L P Hansen

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Read NZ (Ali Kersten, Teacher Librarian, Hereworth School, Hawke’s Bay) ~ What is a conscientious objector and how could a conscientious objector possibly be a hero? ‘An Unknown Hero’ is a novel that is set in rural NZ with believable characters and happenings. It follows Matt’s fears and triumphs while also giving an insight into the life of Archibald Baxter, an ordinary kiwi bloke with a strong, determined and extraordinary mindset who lived years before. A conscientious objector who had to fight for his life, but not in the manner expected when at war. Regarded as a defiant coward who refused to participate on the battlefield, yet fighting one heck of a battle of his own to be later heralded as a hero.

Matt Turner takes up a challenge and speaks out about pacifism in World War 1, as part of a school project. This 12 year-old leads his classmates and their families to appreciate the value of individual rights and freedom of thought. His audience is horrified by the actions of those in authority, during the war, who brutally persecuted others for holding beliefs that didn’t align with their own. An unknown truth and an unexpected hero. To know more of Baxter’s story, source the School Journal, Level 4, March 2012. Reading this true account with children would give them a greater understanding of this ‘unexpected hero’.

L P HansenAbout the NZ author

Find out more about Wellington author L P Hansen on her author profile.

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Ōnepoto Press

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