While it’s important for young children to start to understand some of the gravity of Remembrance day, we don’t want to upset them. Books are a great way to introduce a difficult topic like this for three main reasons.
- Pictures aren’t as realistic as movies enabling children to have more separation from the subject.
- Books are read at your own pace and can be put down either entirely or for further discussion as necessary.
- They are typically read in the voice of the parent or the child, which creates comfort and distance from the topic at hand.
Here are 5 books that are a great way to start the conversation about Remembrance. Treat them as a discussion tool, read slowly and ask questions as you go. If you have a relative that fought in any of the conflicts mentioned be sure to tell his or her story. Connecting the book to your family history will create more meaning to your child and make it all the more memorable.
A poppy is to remember, Ron Lightburn & Heather Patterson:
This book is best for the younger children Grade 1 upwards. It has simple text and illustrations that explain why we wear poppies for Remembrance. It introduces the poem “In Flanders Fields” and is a great introduction to the topic.
And the soldiers sang, Patrick Lewis & Gary Kelley:
This one will tug on your heart strings. It’s written from the perspective of a soldier about the Christmas truce between the Allies and the Germans in the trenches during World War I. A poignant and emotive text supported by illustrations that capture the time and mood perfectly.
The road to Afghanistan, Linda Granfield & Brian Deines:
A modern day story profiling the work that the peace keepers do in Afghanistan. It profiles the life of a soldier who looses a limb from an encounter with a mine. An excellent account of modern day conflict.
In Flanders fields, Linda Granfield & Janet Wilson:
Period oil paintings accompany the text from the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. The illustrations do a good job of bringing the verse alive and depicting what life looked like back then. There is also extra commentary in the book explaining the poem further.
The kids book of Canada at war, Elizabeth Macleod & John Mantha:
It’s a good idea to mix fiction with factual books and this book is a really good ‘encyclopedia-esque’ book. It covers conflicts that Canadian’s have been involved in since first contact right up to the current peace keeping missions. It keeps each conflict to approximately one page so is a concise first reference for kids to get a big picture understanding from.
Thank you to kidsbooks.ca for allowing me to research this article by perusing their comprehensive selection of Remembrance books.