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August 10, 2016

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Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

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Veterans Day from the Kid’s Perspective

Earlier today, we talked about a few nonfiction books that tell the stories of soldiers and veterans. Now we’re going to turn to the home front with these semiautobiographical tales, in which kids cope with the challenges of having a parent in uniform.

Year of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins, illustrated by James Proimos

In this touching picture book, author Suzanne Collins turns away from the dystopian world of the Hunger Games series to tell a story based on her own childhood. In 1968, when Suzy is in first grade, her father is deployed to Vietnam. As the year goes on, his letters and postcards grow less frequent; meanwhile, his family, along with many Americans, becomes more aware of the terrible and dangerous realities of the war.

Unlike many other soldiers, Suzy’s father makes it home safely, but not without being changed by his experiences. Still, the book ends on a hopeful note, as Suzy comes to understand and appreciate her father’s courage.

 

Crow Call by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Heartrendingly written, with evocative and strikingly realistic illustrations, this is another picture book based on an acclaimed author’s childhood. Liz is up early one morning to go bird hunting with her father, who has just returned from World War II. She feels disconnected from him after his long absence, and she also wonders about how the violence of war has affected him. Their hunt ends without a shot being fired; instead, it becomes a time for father and daughter to reconnect and to celebrate the return of peace to their lives.

 

When the Sergeant Came Marching Home by Don Lemna

Unlike many books about returning veterans, this feel-good chapter book is funny. In fact, the first paragraph made me laugh:

Early in the summer of 1946, an infantry sergeant returned from the war and ruined my life by forcing me to move from our comfortable basement apartment in Wistola, Montana, out to a farm in the middle of nowhere.

Ten-year-old Donald is angry that his father feels he can make decisions for the family after a long absence, and he uses humor to deal with his feelings. Though Donald struggles to adapt to the major changes he’s facing, he eventually mends fences with his dad and comes to see the new farm as home.

 

Author Bio: Morgan Walker does online title presentation for Scholastic Book Clubs.

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November 11, 2013