On the occasion of Remembrance Day, we recommend some books that may help teachers have a discussion with their students about the difficult subject of war.
War can be brutal, swift, and all-encompassing. In his book, Jose Jorge Letria knows that sometimes, there is no way to sugarcoat the ugliness of war and hence this book offers a sobering depiction of what happens when people get affected by it. Letria lets illustrator André Letria’s stunning, monochromatic pictures convey a thousand words as the prose in this book is sparse, but the message about the aftermath of war still gets through to readers. A recipient of the prestigious Nami Concours prize, War is an evocative and bold interpretation on the subject that may serve as a vehicle for difficult yet necessary discussions among readers of all ages. Grades 4-7
One More Mountain is the fifth book in the award-winning, critically acclaimed The Breadwinner series. It’s 2021, and the Taliban have regained power in Afghanistan. Just when Parvana and Shauzia think they can move beyond the hardships of war, they have to revaluate everything. In Kabul, Shauzia meets a 15-year-old girl named Damsa who has run away to avoid being forced into marriage by her family. Shauzia takes her to Green Valley, a shelter and school for women and girls run by Parvana. It has been 20 years since Parvana and Shauzia had to disguise themselves as boys to support themselves and their families. When the Taliban were defeated in 2001, it looked as if Afghans could finally rebuild their country. Parvana’s Green Valley school offers girls a safe haven for learning and the chance at freedom. But now, not only are the Taliban back in the control, but they have reached the school, and Parvana has no choice but to lead the girls out of Green Valley and into the mountains for safety. Grades 5-9
Hidden on the High Wire follows a young girl named Irene who travels around Germany with her family’s circus. She loves everything about the circus, being surrounded by her loved ones and thrilling the crowds with her performance on the high wire. But one day, the audience boos. The Lorch family is Jewish, and the increasing power of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis has put them all in grave danger. When the circus is forced to shut down and Irene’s father is taken away, Irene and her mother must go into hiding with another circus. Every day is a frightening new kind of balancing act, caught between the desire to perform and the need to hide—even in plain sight. This book is based on a true story and is part of the Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers series published by Second Story Press. Grades 4-7