The Water Bottle

Philippa Werry, illustrated by Burak Akbay

Kiwi author and Turkish illustrator join to create children’s book that fosters the bond forged at Gallipoli

It’s cause for hope when countries that were at war can transcend that enmity, even when separated by thousands of kilometres.

That is what New Zealand and Turkey share — a deep friendship that is commemorated each 25 April on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

The Water Bottle not only celebrates that friendship but was born from it — with Kiwi children’s author Philippa Werry working across the globe with Turkish illustrator Burak Akbay to tell a tale that crosses the Gallipoli trenches.

Young girl Derya and her family move from Turkey to live in New Zealand. Among the heirlooms they bring with them is the water bottle that an Anzac soldier gave her great-grandfather after he had been wounded from Gallipoli.

At school she learns that her classmate Tom had a great-great-uncle who fought at Gallipoli.

Together with their friend Airini they  learn about the war, attend an Anzac Day ceremony, then come home to make Anzac biscuits with Tom’s mum.

‘Look at the three of us,’ Airini says. ‘Many years ago our families fought each other, but now we can be friends.

The Water Bottle was created between Turkey and New Zealand via email, Zoom and file sharing.

Oratia Books in Auckland thanks Philippa and Burak for their amazing work; Göksun Bayraktar and Nazlı Gürkaş of The Black Cat Agency, Istanbul, who shared the initial idea and made it happen; and author Christopher Pugsley for his advice.

The Authors

Philippa Werry is an award-winning author of books for children, both fiction and non-fiction. She is well known for history books including Anzac Day and Best Mates. She lives with her family in Wellington (see

Burak Akbay is a prominent illustrator and designer of children’s books who lives in Istanbul, Turkey. From his origins in creating comic fanzines, he now illustrates books full-time and loves comics, graphic novels and film noir.




Publication Date: 5 April 2021 |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004215-7 |  RRP $22.99

Paperback, 270 x 210 mm portrait, 32 pages colour