Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to our country. On this day we commemorate the sacrifices our soldiers have made by decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, having parades and visiting memorial sites. Here is a list of seven books you, your kids or your students can jump into reading that celebrates American military history.
1: The Impossible Patriotism (Linda Skeers) –Recommended by: Pat Zietlow Miller
What does patriotism mean to you? This is what goes through Caleb’s mind when his class plans on making projects that represent patriotism to display at Parents’ Night. Caleb’s dad is serving as a soldier and when he starts thinking about what he is doing for the country, inspiration finally strikes!
2: Johnny Tremain (Esther Forbes) – Recommended by: Cat Michaels
Fourteen-year old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. He becomes a horse-boy who rides for the patriotic newspaper, the Boston Observer, and the messenger for the Sons of Liberty. There he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the critical events shaping the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington. Johnny Tremain is the winner of the 1944 Newbery Medal and is one of the finest historical novels ever written for children. The novel defines events leading up to the American Revolutionary War.
3: The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans (Barbara Walsh)
Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, knew she had to act when American soldiers entered World War I. Moina worked hard to establish the red poppy as the symbol to honor and remember soldiers. Her entire life was devoted to making sure the symbol would last forever. Thanks to her hard work and dedication the poppy symbol remains strong today. A portion of the book’s earnings will support the National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple®, which benefits children of the U.S. military.
3: Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops (Jill Biden)
Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, tells a story through a child’s eyes of what family life is like when a parent is at war across the world. When her father is drafted to war Natalie knows that she will miss him. She is proud of her father and knows he is doing what is right, but there is nothing to stop her from wishing and praying he was home. Natalie works with her Nana to bake and send her dad and the other service men and women cookies and treats. She can see and talk to Dad over the computer, and the kindness of friends at school and at church helps her feel supported and loved. But day after day Natalie waits for Dad, and knows that nothing could ever compare to the joy she feels when he is finally home. Jill Biden’s own granddaughter Natalie inspired Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops.
4: The Wall (Eve Bunting)
A boy and his father visit the Vietnam War Memorial to look for the boy’s grandfather’s name among those who were killed in the war. They find his name surrounded by the rows of printed names that “march side by side, like rows of soldiers.”
5: See Inside the Second World War (Rob Lloyd Jones)
From 1939 to 1945, the world was at war. Hundreds of tanks rumbled across battlefields, submarines blasted battleships, and everyone had to work together to survive. With vivid illustrations and flaps to lift, this book will take you and your child into the action of the Second World War. It also makes a great book for history lessons at school.
6: What the Baby Saw (Theresa Mamah)
This non-fiction children’s book gives readers a slice of WWII history through the eyes of a baby. The author, Theresa Mamah, was inspired to write What the Baby Saw, because of a Christmas letter written by her aunt when she was eight years old. She used this letter and the memories from her Hungarian family to put together this unique story. It will appeal to readers of all ages and highlights many perspectives. The theme is based on the power of kindness and love.
7: Books by Jean Fritz
Award-winning author Jean Fritz brings historical figures to life and makes their biographies entertaining, informative, witty and filled with natural child appeal. She was awarded the Regina Medal by the Catholic Library Association, presented with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by the American Library Association for her “substantial and lasting contribution to children’s literature,” and honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature, which was presented by the New York State Library Association for her body of work. Some of her books include And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? and Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? These are fantastic books for any schoolteacher or history buff.
How do you commemorate our US troops and veterans on Memorial Day? Let us know!