Monday, November 10, 2014

3 Fantastic Children's Books For Veterans Day

(In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in a spot on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and city of Washington. This location became the country's primary destination for the veneration of America's veterans. Similar ceremonies took place in England and France on that same date, November 11th, and the three focused attention on the ending of the fighting in World War I at 11am on November 11th, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The date became known as “Armistice Day” and was later changed to honor all who have served in American Wars. We now recognize it as Veterans Day.*)

A warm book, perfect for Veteran's Day

Sure, your kids are probably learning about it in school, but if, like me, you have relatives who fought for our country and you'd like to reinforce the importance of Veteran's Day, here are three great books you can share with your kids: 

Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin – In this story, narrated by a little boy, he explains that, “My dad is a superhero.” No, he doesn't wear a cape or carry a laser gun, but he does wear fatigues and carries a rifle. The son explains many of the day-to-day actions soldiers perform like driving a tank, jumping out of an airplane, and working long hours far away from his family. Aimed at kindergarteners and younger, the book contains bright, simple illustrations that show what the father is doing while he's away from his much-missed son. I love the tone of Hero Dad – you can feel the love and pride the boy has for his dad. This is a treasure for a child with a parent deployed because they'll be able to picture, in their minds, what their missing parent is doing and may help them feel closer to that parent while they're far away.

Another surefire Veteran's Day classic!

The Wall by Eve Bunting – A young father takes his son to the Vietnam War Memorial where they look to find the name of the boy's grandfather who died in the conflict. They search seemingly endless rows and rows of names before finally finding Grandpa's. This is a solemn book, yet it's not heavy-handed at all. You get a sense of loss, but there's love and honor here, too. The dad tells his son that, “I'm proud that your grandfather's name is on this wall” while the son agrees, but innocently adds that “I'd rather have my grandpa here.” The Wall is the perfect catalyst for parents and grandparents to discuss family members and friends who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It's for kids in preschool through perhaps first or second grade. 

Why IS the poppy the symbol of veterans?

The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael And Her Tribute To Veterans by Barbara Walsh – Ever wonder why the Veterans give out red poppies at events and outside supermarkets? I did, too, until I read this book which tells the story of a schoolteacher from Georgia who was deeply affected when some of her students and friends became soldiers in World War I. Moina worked tirelessly to make the red poppy (seen by soldiers popping up amid the trenches, craters, and otherwise barren battlefields) as the symbol to remember and honor soldiers. honor the war veterans. This book is targeted toward kids in grades three through five and a portion of the book's proceeds supports the National Military Family Association's Operation Purple®, which benefits children of the U.S. military. 

Veterans Day offers us the priceless chance to share some of the history and sacrifices men, women, and their families have made for this country. Reading with them gives kids the chance to ask questions and explore the topic of war within the safe reaches of the people they love most. Don't miss this opportunity to share Veteran' Day with your kids!



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