“In war the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one.”
— H. L. Mencken
The most rewarding part of my job as a school librarian is finding the perfect book for students who claim they do not like reading. After my usual response: “Think of a book as a really long text message,” I conduct a mini interview of their interests and start my search. My book recommendations are not just books that I enjoy, they are books that my students love.
Armed Forces Day celebrates the men and women who serve our country in all branches of the military. It can be difficult for children to grasp the importance of this holiday, but there are age-appropriate books that can provide a better understanding.
To fully appreciate our veterans and current service members, it is necessary to examine the past. Here are some book options that will educate your children about the armed forces through war examination, personal military experiences and fun facts.
You Wouldn’t Want to be a WWII Pilot
A uthor: Ian Graham
Series: You wouldn’t want to be... (Publisher: Franklin Watts; various authors)
Grade level: third through sixth.
My students are crazy about these books and have asked me to order every title in the series. Each book describes, in great detail, occupations and events from history and the danger that surrounds them.
There are more than 50 titles in this series including WWII Secret Agent, Civil War Soldier, Ninja Warrior, Pyramid Builder, Roman Gladiator and Viking Explorer. The information is presented in an exciting format that is full of entertaining illustrations and thought bubbles. Your child will love exploring these topics while learning fun historical facts.
Student Reviews: “I would recommend the Titanic book. I love this book because it gives you fun facts about the Titanic and what happened during the sinking that I never knew before. You wouldn’t want to sail on the Titanic.”
—Gianna Grasso, fourth grade.
“This book series is funny and informative. It brightens my day and gives me chills. Anyone wanting thrills, excitement and laughs will enjoy these books. I also like the illustrations.”
— Cassie Marvin, fourth grade.
The Split History of World War II by Simon Rose
Series: Perspective Flip Book (Publisher: Compass Point Books; various authors)
Grade Levels: fifth through eighth grade.
There are eight titles in this series which include perspectives on the American Revolution, Civil War and Gettysburg. Each book is actually two books in one and provides a deeper understanding of historic events by providing two perspectives. For example, the World War II book contains viewpoints from the Allies and Axis. This series is certainly effective in enhancing your child’s critical thinking skills. The text is accompanied by powerful images that will keep your child engaged.
Student Review: “I read the split history of the American Revolution and it was fantastic. I am learning about the American Revolution in my class and this book helped me learn about what the British and the colonists were thinking.”
— Alex Pica, fifth grade.
Here are some other student approved books that tell true military stories:
Grade level: third through sixth:
• The Voices of War series (Publisher: Capstone Press; various authors).
• Battle Heroes: Voices from Afghanistan by Allan Zullo.
Grade level: fifth through eighth
• Behind Enemy Lines: Under Fire in the Middle East byBill Doyle.