Going to war…

Gill Arbuthnott’s latest book is The Secret Diary of the First World War – the story of a teenager who enlists aged just 14.

It’s illustrated throughout by Darren Gate and published by Floris Books.

But this isn’t fiction – Gill’s research into WW1 led her to a true story – and to a meeting with the family of James Marchbank, the teenage soldier on whom she then based the entire book.

The Secret Diary of the First World War has been selected as Scottish Book Trust’s Book of the Month and you can read a fascinating interview Gill gave for their website here.

Gill’s an experienced novelist, of course, and she’s also written a number of non-fiction books but the research for this book led her to watch an interview with James Marchbank made in 1976, and from there she was put in touch with his family. The diary he kept (against all the rules!) was a her primary source, and lends a powerful authenticity to the writing.

The Floris website has resources for readers and teachers based on Gill’s book. You can reach them here.

The Secret Diary of The First World War is available from all good bookshops, and through your local library.