Recommended Books for Remembrance Day

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Every year on Remembrance Day we remember those who have given their lives in conflicts around the world. 

This day of reflection ties in with Armistice Day on Saturday 11th November - the anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty that marked the end of the First World War in 1918. We still mark the day with a two minute silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day in November, with Remembrance Sunday falling on the second Sunday in November.

Remembrance Day is an important opportunity to talk to children about history, war and the importance of remembering people who have sacrificed their lives.

We've put together a list of some of the best books about the First and Second World Wars, including picture books, memoirs, non-fiction and novels.

Check out our other book lists:

50 Children's Books About World War Two

The Best Children's Books About the Holocaust

Toppsta
2023-11-05
Recommended Books for Remembrance Day
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The Secret Elephant: The true story of an extraordinary wartime friendship

For the very little ones learning about WW2, this gentle and touching picture book about a little elephant and her keeper will tug at all your heartstrings. 

This beautifully illustrated picture book is based on the true story of Denise Weston Austin at Belfast Zoo, which makes it even more special to read. The sweet story starts with a baby elephant whose home is in a zoo. But when World War Two begins, her keeper takes her in her home, and together they wait for the war to end. Their secret may be found out, but their incredible bond is stronger than the war. 

Written and illustrated by the true talent that is Ellan Rankin, we think this picture book will soon be up for awards and will become a classic over time. 


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The Sky Over Rebecca

We think this is a must-read for any child aged 9+ learning about WW2. A often sad but important read about friendship, time travelling and the Holocaust.

It’s no surprise at all that this heartbreakingly beautiful book was the winner of The Bath Children’s Novel Award 2019, with its gentle approach to grief and loneliness and compelling story. The book follows 10-year-old Kara, who one day follows a trail of footprints in the snow which take her to two children. But their reality is much different from hers – they’re refugees who have travelled through time from World War Two hoping to find their way back home. 

This is a heavy story, and some of its content may leave children feeling sad, but it’s an important read about history and the magic lies in the world around us, if only we have the courage to find it.


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Stateless

And now for the older, YA lovers, here is an exciting murder mystery set in 1937 and full of twists and turns, for readers aged 12+.

We’ve included this book in this round-up because it’s got such a fantastic strong female main character. A airplane pilot, Stella North takes part in an incredible air race around Europe. But the race is not for the faint of heart and soon enough one of the contestant’s planes mysteriously crash, and Stella decides she is to find out why.

The mystery storyline is interlaced with the main character’s struggle to get her passport identified in a place that declares her as ‘stateless’, which feels particularly timely.

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The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II

A personal, powerful and resonant account of the Holocaust by one of this country's best-loved children’s authors.

By turns charming, shocking and heart-breaking, this is the true story of Michael Rosen’s search for his relatives who “went missing” during the Second World War – told through prose, poetry, maps and pictures. When Michael was growing up, stories often hung in the air about his great-uncles: one was a clock-mender and the other a dentist. They were there before the war, his dad would say, and weren’t after. Over many years, Michael tried to find out exactly what happened: he interviewed family members, scoured the internet, pored over books and traveled to America and France. The story he uncovered was one of terrible persecution – and it has inspired his poetry for years since. Here, poems old and new are balanced against an immensely readable narrative; both an extraordinary account and a powerful tool for talking to children about the Holocaust.

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Safiyyah's War

War comes to the streets of Paris and Safiyyah’s life changes for ever. Her best friend’s family have fled, and the bombing makes her afraid to leave the mosque where she lives. But when her father is arrested by the Nazis for his secret Resistance work, it falls to Safiyyah to run the dangerous errands around the city. It’s not long before hundreds of persecuted Jews seek sanctuary at the mosque. Can Safiyyah find the courage to enter the treacherous catacombs under Paris and lead the Jews to safety?

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Armistice Runner

Lily has lots of worries. She's struggling to compete in her fell-running races and, worse, she's losing her gran to Alzheimer's. But then she discovers her great-great-grandfather's diaries from the First World War. Could his incredible story of bravery help her reconnect with her gran and even give her the inspiration she needs to push through and win?

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Owen and the Soldier

A crumbling stone soldier sits on a bench in the park. Only Owen understands how important he is.

At home, Owen and his mum are struggling and there's nobody he can talk to. Hidden away in the park, Owen feels free to be himself. When the war-weary soldier is listening, his worries slip away.

But nobody else cares about the soldier, and the town council want to tear him down. Owen's the only one who can save him but can he find the courage to speak up before it's too late?

A touching story of loss and remembrance from Lisa Thompson, the award-winning author of The Goldfish Boy. 

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YOUNGER READERS
Toppsta
2023-11-05
Recommended Books for Remembrance Day

7+

Toppsta
2023-11-05
Recommended Books for Remembrance Day

9+

Toppsta
2023-11-05
Recommended Books for Remembrance Day

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