About Children's war books

Anzac Day, celebrated every year on April 25th, is a special day for New Zealanders and Australians. While I was researching for my book on the history of Anzac Day, I became interested in the subject of books on war written for children. Many of these are classics, but there are others that are much less well known.

The best of these books can help children (and grown-ups) understand the nature of war: how things are not always black and white, how there can be different definitions of heroism and cowardice. Books about war can highlight acts of bravery, courage and loyalty, amongst those who served and fought, as well as those who were caught up in war through no choice of their own.

I decided that I'd like to read more children's war books and post reviews of them online. Each review will contain a plot summary, information about the author and illustrator, questions, photographs or illustrations, and links to relevant websites and to other books that deal with similar aspects of war.

I hope you find these reviews interesting and helpful. If you're a teacher, you might find an idea for a book to read to your class. If you're a reader - child or adult - I hope they inspire you to hunt down a copy from a library or bookshop. If you have a a favourite book that you'd like me to review, please let me know by emailing me through my website. 


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  2. Hello. Can you recommend a book for my 7 year old? She is trying to understand why we have war. So I'm looking for more general coverage on wars rather than focusing on a specific war. Thanks for your help! Heather

    1. Hi Heather. That's such an interesting question and you're right in that many children's books on war focus on particular wars, or episodes in wars. Books like the one you're looking for are very hard to write, but anti-war books might be a good place to start. One that manages to be both funny and serious is The butter battle book by Dr Seuss which tells the story of the Yooks and the Zooks, who live next to each other but have differing opinions on the best way to butter their bread. (I haven't yet reviewed it online, but will soon.) Raymond Huber has this post on anti-war books for children that may give you some other ideas: http://www.raymondhuber.co.nz/childrens-books-guide-classics-tintin-moomins-teaching-notes/anti-war-books-for-children/