There are a lot of great children's books that help young readers understand the complexities of war. These books help young readers understand how war affects a family, a community, a country and our military men and women. I have received emails from parents asking for book recommendations for their children. There are so many great books to choose from and having the task of picking titles was not easy. My list is long, but here are a few of my favorites:
· "Miracles on Maple Hill," by Virginia Sorensen: Marly, a young girl, and her family and their life at a farmhouse after living in the city. Marly's father is recovering from being a prisoner of war and post war stress. A Newberry Award winner.
· "The Wall," by Eve Bunting: A young boy and his father and their travels to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, D.C. There they locate the name of the boy's grandfather and learn about the significance of this powerful memorial.
· "The Peace Book," by Todd Parr: Parr has an inspiring way of explaining to very young children the most challenging subjects. In bright and clever illustrations, he shares with his readers what peace feels like in a way that young people can understand.
· "The Diary of a Young Girl," by Anne Frank: The true story of the remarkable and brave Anne Frank and her life spent in an attic while hiding with family during the Nazi occupation. A moving account of the Holocaust viewed through a young girl's eyes.
· "War Horse" by Michael Morpurgo: This reminds readers that animals too have served in war and deserve recognition for their bravery and sacrifice. A story of a horse and the war horrors he witnesses while trying to be reunited with his owner.
· "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott: The four March girls and their life while their father is away serving as a Union chaplain in the Civil War. The family works together to endure this time and face the struggles of life while their father is away at war.
· "Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle," by Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery: A friendship between a Marine and a stray dog during his deployment in Iraq. The story of the dog's loyalty and survival as he follows the Marine unit during their travels.
· "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," by C.S. Lewis: Four children from England are sent to live in a country house because of a London evacuation during World War II. They soon discover a magical wardrobe that takes them to great adventures.
· "The Red Badge of Courage," by Stephen Crane: A young man who wants to leave the farm life and join the Union troops in Civil War. A classic story of a boy who quickly turns into a man as he experiences the tragedy of war.
· "Pepper's Purple Heart: a Veterans Day Story," by Heather French Henry: A little girl and her friend and their discovery of what it means to be a veteran and what Veteran's Day truly means.
· "Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes," by Eleanor Coerr: Born in Hiroshima, Sadako once healthy soon falls ill with leukemia because of radiation poisoning from the atomic bomb during World War II. She hopes that by making 1,000 paper cranes her life will be spared.
Author Toni Morrison once said, "If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." I send a message to all our veterans and military families: write your story, and share your history with our youth. It is important for generations today and for those who follow to remember your place in American history. Don't let your story be forgotten. The story of America is large and you the American veteran are part of that volume.
Donna Teresa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org