On the last day of school before half term I went along to my son’s school where they were having a special assembly about Remembrance Day. They’ve been taking part in the There But Not There project with the local church. Each class had taken a name of a soldier on the War Memorial in the school and done some research on the soldier. They then sang this song and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
Fairly unusually, we have two soldiers listed on the school War Memorial. They are my Great Uncles, both died horribly young in France. I’m very proud of these boys who went to war and didn’t come back, but I would like to know more about them. I’ve always spoken to my son about these two boys, but as he’s got a bit older, he’s started to understand what it all actually means. Over half term we did some reading and learned a bit more about the First World War, about why we remember and about Remembrance Day.
Here are our six books about Remembrance
Charlie’s War Illustrated: Remembering World War One by Mick Manning. Mick Manning’s grandfather joined the army in 1914 and served right through the First World War. Fighting in the artillery on the front line in Egypt, Palestine and France, Charlie lived to tell his tale. Written for readers aged 6+ this book was nominated for the 2014 English 4-11 picture book awards. Charlie’s War doesn’t pull any punches, but it shares the reality of war on the front line in a way which is interesting and engaging for primary aged children.
Remembrance Day by Jane Bingham & Ruth Nason. Remembrance Day looks at the background to the First World War and looks at objects, such as poppies and the Cenotaph that are key to the day itself. Key words at the bottom of each section help children build their vocabulary and get a better understanding of the topic. It’s a simple book for children aged 6+ and will help children to understand why we remember.
Coming Home (My Story) by Jim Eldridge. For slightly older children (8-11 years), this first hand account of a 13 year old who goes off to war to find his father is both gripping and moving. Joe returns home after the war and finds life is very different life to the one he left behind. His father is injured and furious at Joe for going to war, plus the Spanish flu is raging. Joe may have survived World War One, but the danger isn’t over yet.
Poppy Field by Michael Morpurgo. Most famous for his incredibly moving story, War Horse, Michael Morpurgo has written a special book about the meaning behind the poppy with the Royal British Legion. This illustrated book shares the real horrors of war in a poignant way through the love and loss of one family. The book also includes a full-colour, illustrated afterword that explains the history that inspired the story.
Remembrance: Imperial War Museum Anniversary Edition by Theresa Breslin. For readers aged 9-12 years; this is the fictional story of a group of Scottish teenagers who become engulfed by what is to become known as The Great War. Determined to forge their own paths during a time of enormous upheaval, the five friends encounter the horrors of the trenches. Their lives will be changed forever – and nothing will ever be the same again. It’s an incredibly moving and powerful story, one which is very thought provoking.
This November there will be a number of events and Remembrance Services that we will go to. We will remember those who gave their lives so that we could have the freedoms we enjoy today. We will never forget.