Jack & Sandy

  • 7 July 2023

Jack & Sandy: One war. Two friends. Three generations
Bob Kerr’s latest graphic novel is based on his father’s experiences as a merchant seaman who was part of Operation Substance in World War Two – a story that for years was stored away in a suitcase on top of the wardrobe. 

He’s taken a personal story inspired by his own father Robert Kerr’s WWII experiences to craft Jack & Sandy, a part fiction/part fact adventure story which rings true and spans three generations. Using his own water colour drawings, Kerr communicates the story in short, boldly illustrated chapters – some in graphic novel format. This is combined with Kerr Snr’s own photos, documents and newspaper clippings. The result is poignant, deeply moving and expansive touching on everything from male friendship, parental expectations, lost love, the impact of war across generations and grief and forgiveness. It’s an incredible achievement to pack so much into 104 bountifully illustrated pages. It’s subtle, never moralistic, and because of this succeeds in being entertaining, instructive and yes, educational.
Dionne Christian

Lost Love and the impact of war
By Dionne Christian, Central Leader. Read review here.

Bob's creative practice combines his two artistic endeavours: painting and writing. Through the eyes and voices of scientists, conscientious objectors, and war veterans, he tells the story of New Zealand's history, people and landscape. Born in Wellington, Bob has a DipFA (Hons) from The University of Auckland. He has written and illustrated a number of children's books, receiving the Best First Children's Book Award in 1993 for The Optimist (1992). His paintings are held in private collections across New Zealand and overseas, with his best-known work appropriately appearing on the cover of Michael King's book The Penguin History of New Zealand (2003).

View more of Bob's work here



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