Remembrance Day is a time for reflection on the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Specifically, we commemorate Remembrance Day on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month as this was the time when World War I (i.e., “the war to end all wars”) ended in 1918. In modern times, we mark Remembrance Day as a day to honour all those who have died in all wars since World War I.
While there are many controversies surrounding the meaning and observation of Remembrance Day (take for instance, the “White Poppy” debate), one thing remains true: war (and peace) is a difficult concept to teach children. Fortunately, there are so many great children’s books out there to assist parents, teachers, and librarians in educating and discussing war-related history and issues. Below, I have recommended five children’s books that I believe are good resources to this effect.
I also want to HIGHLY recommend Alex Baugh’s fantastic website, The Children’s War which contains books written for young readers set in World War II. Check it out!
Five Children’s Books for Remembrance Day
Title: The Peace Book Author: Todd Parr Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication Date: November 1, 2010 Pages: 32 Recommended Ages: 3 to 7
Describes peace as making new friends, sharing a meal, feeling good about yourself, and more.
Title: What Does Peace Feel Like Author: Vladimir Radunsky Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers Publication Date: November 1, 2004 Pages: 24 Recommended Ages: 3 to 8
What does that word really mean? Ask children from around the world, and this is what they say….
Title: Blowin’ in the Wind Author: Bob Dylan Illustrator: Jon J. Muth Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books; Har/Com edition Publication Date: November 1, 2011 Pages: 28 Recommended Ages: 4 to 8
With words by one of the most admired songwriters of all time and illustrations by a Caldecott Honor medalist, this powerful and timely picture book will be treasured by adults and children alike.
Title: The Wall Author: Eve Bunting Illustrator: Ronald Himler Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers Publication Date: August 4, 1992 Pages: 32 Recommended Ages: 4 to 8
A young boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Title: The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans Author: Barbara Walsh Paintings: Layne Johnson Publisher: Calkins Creek Publication Date: September 1, 2012 Pages: 40 Recommended Ages: 7 to 10
When American soldiers entered World War I, Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, knew she had to act. Some of the soldiers were her students and friends. Almost single-handedly, Moina worked to establish the red poppy as the symbol to honor and remember soldiers. And she devoted the rest of her life to making sure the symbol would last forever. Thanks to her hard work, that symbol remains strong today. Author Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and artist Layne Johnson worked with experts, primary documents, and Moina’s great-nieces to better understand Moina’s determination to honor the war veterans.