As Remembrance Day approaches, there are plenty of picture books that deserve particular attention in the classroom. This is not to say that books with themes around war, remembrance, conflict, respect and courage should not take centre stage at any time of the year. Far from it. Many children have profound interest in stories of war and survival. I’ve seen lots of “reluctant readers” completely captivated by these books.
Some of my favorite, dearest picture books follow in this list. They are arranged roughly according to age-appropriateness (younger to older readers), although I find that some of the more juvenile titles have much to offer older children too. Be advised that many of these books are intense and emotional, with mature content, so they should be read / introduced carefully.
What does Peace Feel Like? – Vladimir Radunksy
A Little Peace – Barbara Kerley
The Peace Book – Todd Parr
Why War is Never a Good Idea – Alice Walker
A Poppy is to Remember – Heather Patterson
The Librarian of Basra – Jeanette Winter
The Cello of Mr. O – Jane Cutler
Playing War – Kathy Beckwith
This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort – Georgia Heard
Rose Blanche – Ian McEwan
I Never Saw Another Butterfly – Hana Volavkova
Gleam and Glow – Eve Bunting
Anne Frank – Josephine Poole
Faithful Elephants – Yukio Tsuchiya
Talking Walls – Margy Burns Knight
Peace One Day – Jeremy Gilley
Paths to Peace – Jane Breskin Zalbin
There are many lists of books out there that address themes related to conflict. The Jane Addams Peace Association presents awards yearly to books that tackle such topics with honesty and grace.