A temporarily blinded English soldier who deserts from the war is found by some French children. He has a small silver donkey like a charm or talisman, and he tells the children stories based around the theme of donkeys. These include 'The First Tale', which is about Joseph, Mary and the donkey that carries her to Bethlehem, and 'The Third Tale' which, while not specifically saying so, is based on John (Jack) Simpson Kirkpatrick and the donkey at Gallipoli.
The Silver Donkey is an important anti-war story.
Sonya Hartnett is the internationally acclaimed author of several novels including Thursday's Child, winner of the 2002 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and Forest, winner of the 2002 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award (older readers).
In 2000, and again in 2003, Sonya was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Young Novelists of the Year. Her work has been published internationally.
In 2004, The Silver Donkey was published to great critical acclaim. It won the 2005 Brisbane Courier Mail award for young readers, was the 2005 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year (younger readers) and was shortlisted in the NSW Premier's Awards (Patricia Wrightson Prize).
Source: Penguin Books (used with permission)