Remembrance Day Reading

This week, students from across the country will be reflecting on war and the sacrifices made by men and women on the front lines and the home front. Here are some titles to help contextualize the First and Second World Wars.

PICTURE BOOKS

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion
By Jane Barclay
Illustrated by Renné Benoit
ISBN 9781770491274 | Ebook
Ages 4-6 | Tundra Books
During World War I, a goat named Billy was adopted by a platoon of soldiers and made his way across the ocean to be part of the war effort. This charming true story follows Sergeant Billy from his small prairie town to the trenches of World War I and back, through harrowing moments, sad moments, moments of camaraderie and moments of celebration. This unforgettable goat and the platoon that loved him will capture your heart!

Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War
By Mireille Messier
Illustrated by Kass Reich
ISBN 9780735264427 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
During World War I, a goat named Billy was adopted by a platoon of soldiers and made his way across the ocean to be part of the war effort. This charming true story follows Sergeant Billy from his small prairie town to the trenches of World War I and back, through harrowing moments, sad moments, moments of camaraderie and moments of celebration. This unforgettable goat and the platoon that loved him will capture your heart!

MIDDLE GRADE

Innocent Heroes: Stories of Animals in the First World War
By Sigmund Brouwer
ISBN 9781101918463 | Hardcover
Ages 9-12 | Tundra Books
Never before have the stories of animal war heroes been collected in such a special way. This book consists of eight connected fictional stories about a Canadian platoon in WW1. The Storming Normans have help from some very memorable animals: we meet a dog who warns soldiers in the trench of a gas attack, a donkey whose stubbornness saves the day, a cat who saves soldiers from rat bites, and many more. Each story is followed by nonfiction sections that tell the true story of these animals from around the world and of the Canadian soldiers who took Vimy Ridge

Broken Strings
By Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer
ISBN 9780735266247 | Hardcover
Ages 10-14 | Puffin Canada
It’s 2002. In the aftermath of the twin towers — and the death of her beloved grandmother — Shirli Berman is intent on moving forward. The best singer in her junior high, she auditions for the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof, but is crushed to learn that she’s been given the part of the old Jewish mother in the musical rather than the coveted part of the sister. But there is an upside: her “husband” is none other than Ben Morgan, the cutest and most popular boy in the school. Deciding to throw herself into the role, she rummages in her grandfather’s attic for some props. There, she discovers an old violin in the corner — strange, since her Zayde has never seemed to like music, never even going to any of her recitals. Showing it to her grandfather unleashes an anger in him she has never seen before, and while she is frightened of what it might mean, Shirli keeps trying to connect with her Zayde and discover the awful reason behind his anger. A long-kept family secret spills out, and Shirli learns the true power of music, both terrible and wonderful.

NON-FICTION

A Soldier’s Sketchbook: The Illustrated First World War Diary of R.H. Rabjohn
By John Wilson
Illustrated by R.H. Rabjohn
ISBN 9781770498549 | Hardcover
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books
A unique First World War diary, illustrated with more than a hundred stunning pencil sketches, for children learning history and also for adults interested in a new perspective on the War and authentic wartime artefacts.

The War to End All Wars: The Story of World War I
By Jack Batten
ISBN 9780887768798 | Hardcover
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books
In this riveting account of a tragic episode in world history, author Jack Batten takes readers through a far bloodier conflict than mankind had ever before endured. Meet the soldiers who fought the deadly battles along the Western Front. Follow the trail of flying ace Billy Bishop as he tangles in the air with the Red Baron. Learn the strategy of Britain’s Grand Fleet of warships as it heads into the biggest sea battle in history. Discover how civilians decoded virtually all the messages the Germans sent to their ships around the world.

Each One Remembered – On se souvient de chacun

Award-winning author Linda Granfield, has been very involved in a school poppy program, Each One RememberedOn se souvient de chacun, for Vimy Ridge Day. On Friday, April 9, Canadians are invited to make poppies to pay tribute to all of those who served in the First World War. To participate in this program and for more information, please click on the links for English and French.

We applaud Linda Granfield for her heroic efforts on acknowledging our beloved veterans!

Teachers, librarians, and parents may also want share these books:

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion
By Jane Barclay
Illustrated by Renné Benoit
ISBN 978-0-88776-951-1
Ages 4-7

“…beautifully modulated picture book about war and remembrance…. Renné Benoit’s subtle gouache and watercolour illustrations are perfectly attuned to Jane Barclay’s story.” – The Globe and Mail

The War to End All Wars: The Story of World War I
By Jack Batten
ISBN 978-0-88776-879-8
Ages 10+

“…Batten’s account is a model of lucidity, a good place for a young reader to start. Batten’s clean, intelligent prose makes this highly readable and comprehensible….” – The Toronto Star

Remembering Our Veterans

Introduce the very young to Remembrance Day and Veterans’ Day and what it means:

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a LionProud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion
Written by Jane Barclay
Illustrated by Renné Benoit
ISBN 978-0-88776-951-1
Ages 4-7 | 24 Pages | Hardcover

A gentle, lyrical, new book about war and remembrance. Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion is a special book that will put very young readers on the path to remembrance and lasting appreciation for those who sacrificed and risked their lives in service to their country.

“… a perfect choice for read alouds on Veteran’s Day. It explains why we honor veterans very succinctly and makes perfect sense – a serious but easily understood title.” – Chasing Ray

“… a quiet, loving dialogue between the generations punctuated with vividly realized war scenes. …makes a statement about heroism. …a tight narrative, rich language, a strong story arc….” – Feature Review, Quill & Quire

“…meaningful and engaging…. Barclay has taken on an important topic in an effective and touching way.… There is a lovely rhythm to the prose that would make this a perfect choice by parents and teachers to read-aloud. The text is complemented beautifully with Benoit’s artwork rendered in watercolours and gouache…. Highly Recommended.” – CM Magazine

“Small photos in sepia shades evoke the past in images… the lively animal images in the words are also part of the pictures. …The blend of grim reality, heroic battle, and playful fantasy will speak to kids.” – Booklist

For older readers, a concise history of World War I:

The War to End All Wars - The Story of World War IThe War to End All Wars: The Story of World War I
Written by Jack Batten
ISBN 978-0-88776-879-8
Ages 10+ | 160 Pages | Hardcover

Meet the soldiers who fought the deadly battles on the Western Front. Follow the trail of flying ace Billy Bishop as he tangles in the air with the Red Baron. The War to End All Wars evokes the heroism and suffering of the men from every country, whose stories changed the face of the world forever.

“…Batten’s account is a model of lucidity, a good place for a young reader to start. Batten’s clean, intelligent prose makes this highly readable and comprehensible….” – The Toronto Star

“This superb book – with its high production values and a multitude of archival photographs, it’s as handsome as it is informative – belongs in every school library and on every family bookshelf. [Jack Batten] makes history vivid, almost palpable, for readers of any age…. Batten’s elegant prose tracks the broad sweep of the war…. The quality that makes this book the outstanding achievement that it is, though, it Batten’s detail-rich delineation of the particular, the depth of his reach into a character, an incident or a battle….” – The Globe and Mail

For middle-grade readers, a novel of danger, warmth, and dark humour:

Watching JimmyWatching Jimmy
By Nancy Hartry
ISBN 978-0-88776-871-2
Ages 9+ | 160 Pages | Hardcover

A novel of danger, warmth, and dark humour – set in 1958, Watching Jimmy is a brilliant portrait of a time past, a family of strong women, and a resourceful young girl who exudes character, resilience, and most of all, love.

“Like a steady beat that pulses louder and louder, the story unfolds against a backdrop of postwar social and political concerns and Remembrance Day. Carolyn is a passionate and feisty character, delineated with love and precision, and readers will be drawn to her. A compelling and satisfying novel.” – School Library Journal

“…this short tale of a Canadian preteen whose life centers around protecting her brain-damaged friend recalls … it’s not until she falls in with some wise and savvy adults at a new church that she gains the confidence she needs to blow the whistle—which she does in the course of a passionate Remembrance Day speech arguing for universal health care. … [an] absorbing read.” – Booklist

“…lyrical language…. The book gives a picture of what it was like living in the post-World War II Canada. Readers will be drawn into the gripping story and will worry about the safely of both Jimmy and Carolyn.” – VOYA

“Hartry… has perfectly captured this determined child’s voice and vividly recreates the setting of Toronto in 1958. It’s not hard to connect the dots … which brings the story home to modern readers. As Carolyn encounters one nearly overwhelming challenge after another, they will find her ultimately optimistic tale impossible to put down.” – Kirkus Reviews

Please take time to remember today.