Photographs in the Mud

Download Teachers’ Notes (pdf)

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Written by Dianne Wolfer
Illustrated by Brian Harrison-Lever
Published by Fremantle Press, March 2005

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from your local bookshop or from
Fremantle Press (Australia)
Booktopia (Australia)
Book Depository (UK)
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Read an excerpt (pdf)


Photographs in the mud Japanese coverThe Kokoda Track, 1942. Jack and Hoshi are soldiers from opposing armies, who meet in battle and discover they have much more in common than they could ever realise. Told from the point of view of two soldiers, one Australian, the other Japanese, ‘Photographs in the Mud’ reveals the personal human tragedy of war for both the soldiers and their loved ones at home.

Photographs in the Mud was first released in March 2005 and has not been out of print since then. Set on the Kokoda Track in 1942, the story explores one battle through the eyes of an Australian soldier, a Japanese soldier and the families that wait for them. This story was inspired by a 2002 trip to Papua New Guinea to walk the Kokoda Track and research YA novel Shadows Walking (not yet published). You can see photos from this expedition in the photo gallery.

Photographs in the Mud has been shortlisted for multiple awards and is used as a peace reference internationally. In 2009 a limited edition Japanese translation was released. Illustrations by award winning artist, Brian Harrison-Lever, bring multiple layers to the text.


‘Here is a stunning book that will force readers, young and old to assess their own beliefs of just war theory. Not to be missed.’ – Reading Time

Teachers’ Notes

Download Teachers’ Notes (pdf)

Behind the Scenes

In July 2002 I went on a research trip to Papua New Guinea, where I walked The Kokoda Track with eight fellows and our porters. Two of the men were brothers and their father was in the famous 39th Battalion during WW2. Their two sons were also in the group, along with family friends, myself and, Reg, our trek leader.

6 thoughts on “Photographs in the Mud

    1. Dianne Wolfer Post author

      Hi Maddie, nice to hear from you ๐Ÿ™‚ In the story it’s an open-ending, so the reader can choose whichever they want to live.
      The story was inspired by the account of a Japanese soldier who fell into a ditch with an Australian soldier in 1942. In that instance, the Australian fellow died, so it could be argued that he survives.
      In the first draft they both died, so I guess you can choose!
      Cheers and best wishes, Dianne

  1. Maddi

    Dear Mrs Wolfer,
    I love your way of writing and I think it is a
    Great book and I encourage everyone to
    Read it! In my opinion, I think the Australian
    Soldier survives because when Jack says
    Something to Hoshi, the book tells us
    That Hoshi can barely hear jack but his voice
    Comforts him. I think it’s a way of telling the
    Reader that he is drifting into a deep sleep
    Not to be woken. Thanks!๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Dianne Wolfer Post author

      Hi Maddi, thanks for your lovely feedback. The ending can be taken either way and I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about it.
      Very best wishes ๐Ÿ™‚ Dianne

  2. Rachel Harris

    Hello there, we are 3 year 6 teachers in England who are about to embark on a writing unit for your book, Photographs in the Mud. We hope to inspire our 10/11 year olds to create a moving piece of writing based around the book. Is there any chance you could drop them an email to show your interest to give them a purpose for writing? Maybe wanting to show off to you their best writing and you wan to see the best one fro each class? We like to give the children an audience to give them purpose. If you spare 5 minutes, that would be absolutely amazing.
    Kind regards
    Rachel Harris Kennington CE Academy UK
    for Westminster, Gloucester and Leeds
    year 6 classes.

    1. Dianne Wolfer Post author

      Hello Rachel and huge apologies for my slow reply – I keep forgetting to check these messages ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am far more reliable on as I am on that all day… How exciting that you will be studying my book and yes of course I would love to drop a line to your Year 6 students. Let me have a think and if you are able to email the address above we can chat directly via email. Again so sorry for keeping you waiting :-O


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