Please welcome my guest author today, Andria Rosenbaum, with her list of picture books about children and war! We are giving away a signed copy of her latest book, Hand in Hand. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
Hand in Hand by Andria Rosenbaum
This is a really powerful story about the horrors of war. After soldiers stomp into town, a brother and big sister wait for their mother to return with food but she never does. They are sent to an orphanage and her brother gets adopted. The older sister eventually immigrates to a new country, and late into her life, she is able to see her brother. She has kept her promise to never say goodbye. This reads to me as a Holocaust story that any refugee of war can relate to. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
p.s. Here are a few more great picture books on war:
Varenka by Bernadette Watts
A widow lived all alone in a hut in a forest in Russia. A terrible war has broken out and she decides to stay and prays for a wall around her house so the soldiers will not find her. As the days pass, she finds refugees in the forest fleeing from the war. She takes them all in — Peter the Goatherd and his goat, a young man, and a little girl. The soldiers get nearer and nearer to Varenka’s hut in the forest. When they are very close, the snow begins to fall heavily, blanketing the hut in a protective layer. The soldiers pass by without finding the hut. When the snow melts, the people leave the hut and find that peace has returned. Varenka’s prayer has been answered. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Pea Pod Lullaby by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Stephen Michael King
This is a lyrical lullaby about the refugee experience. A boy and his mother escape war and set off to sea where they help others along the way. The lovely watercolor illustrations balance the heavy theme. Because the words are so poetic, they lift the reader to a place of inspiration, celebrating courage, fortitude, and compassion for others. This is a gentle book to read with young children to teach them about the refugee experience. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Ruby in the Ruins by Shirley Hughes
World War II is over and Ruby and her mother await the return of her dad, a soldier serving far away. She and her mother have survived the blitzkrieg of bombings but there are many houses in ruins in London. It’s a little strange to have dad home again. Ruby explores the bomb site ruins with the neighborhood boys when she falls and hurts her knee. When her father comes to bring her safely home, she can finally give him a kiss. This is a story of fatherly love and the bonds that ties families together. [picture books, ages 5 and up]
Picture Books About Children and War
Fish for Jimmy by Katie Yamasaki
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Taro and Jimmy are separated from their father and
taken to internment camps. Taro worries most about his younger brother, Jimmy who stops
eating. But he bravely finds a way to restore Jimmy’s hope and his appetite. Based on a true
story, Katie Yamasaki tackles this terrible time in history. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Pinkus, a young, black, former slave, now soldier saves Say, a white boy/soldier during this civil
war story. The kindness and humanity shown to the young, white boy by Pink and his mother are
seared into Say’s (Sheldon Russell Curtis) memory. He passes Say’s story to future generations like a prized possession. Based on a true story told to the author by her father. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Brothers in Hope: The True Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
In this true story, War takes everything from eight-year-old, Garang. Forced to flee with
thousands of boys like him, he walks on a harrowing journey to Ethiopia, ending up in Kenya.
After many years, Garang and his brothers are allowed to immigrate to the United States. [picture book, ages 7 and up]
The Journey by Francesca Sanna
War interrupts and alters the life of a young girl and her family forever. When her father is killed
they are forced to flee the only home she’s ever known. She places all her trust in her mother as
they travel to find a new home. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
My Grandfather’s War by Glyn Harper
Sarah asks her grandfather to share his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War so she can
better understand his moods. She gains a new understanding of why he limps and is sometimes
sad as he explains his regrets over his involvement in the war. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes, illustrated by Sue Corneliso
This is the true story of a family forced to flee Mosul, Iraq. They escape with their beloved cat,
Kunkush. But along the way, Kunkush is frightened and runs away. Eventually, thanks to the
help of many strangers, the family is reunited with their beloved pet in their new home in
Norway. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Harmonica by Tony Johnston, illustrated Ron Mazellan
Base on a true story, this book is about a Jewish, Polish boy separated from his family during the
Holocaust. It’s the harmonica, given to him by his father that enables him to survive when he’s
forced to play for the commandant. This is a dark book that doesn’t soften the horrors of war. [picture book, ages 7 and up]
Stepping Stones by Margriet Ruurs, artwork by Nizar Ali Badr
This poetic and powerful story of a young refugee’s harrowing escape and survival is beautifully
illustrated in unique stone artwork. It’s written in both English and Arabic. [picture book, ages 7 and up]
The Day War Came by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
When war rains down on a young girl it suddenly shreds her life. Alone, she finds herself forced
to escape. As a refugee, she is turned away until other children welcome her to their classroom.
The book spotlights the ten million-plus, children refugees who are left alone to somehow
survive. The soft illustrations powerfully echo the theme. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Hand in Hand Signed Book GIVEAWAY!
We are giving away a signed copy of her latest book, Hand in Hand. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.
Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum is the author of TRAINS DON’T SLEEP, illustrated by Deirdre
Gill (HMH) and BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
(Scholastic Press). She hunts for picture book ideas from her home in New Jersey. You can
follow her on Twitter @andriawrose, or learn more about Andria and her books at her website.
p.s. Related posts:
Modern Immigration & The Refugee Experience Books for Kids
FREE Classroom Empathy Kit: Immigration & Refugees
10 Middle Grade Books about Immigrant Families
Meet Asian Pacific American Hero Haing Ngor
166 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
13 thoughts on “Picture Books About Children and War & GIVEAWAY!”
Thank you for curating such an important list of books on this difficult topic.
“Hand In Hand” looks beautiful, and “The Journey” has an impressively gorgeous design.
I like The War That Saved My Life, and, of course, my own nonfiction picture book, Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum.
So many great book titles. I really loved My Grandfather’s War, but I had a friend who was a Vietnam Vet who left me a very negative message about my sharing it! I thought he’d be thrilled. It told me how it still remains a touchy subject — even more of a reason to share it with kids.Have read many, but the Harmonica story really grabbed my attention!
I’ve read many of these picture books, but I see some new ones, too. Thanks so much for sharing this list.
So very important and needed. Many thanks, v-
What a great list! I have purchased several of these but am interested in the others also. It is a difficult but important topic. Thanks for the list.
Thanks for all your curation
Since Pink and Say is referenced, I’ll add James Ransome’s The Bell Rang (2019) as a powerful expression of love, loss and slavery from a child’s POV. For lighter fare, there’s Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming (illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen, 2003), which describes the growing relationship between a community in Holland and one in America after WWII or Flowers for Sarajevo by John McCutcheon. I hope someday to add my PB on Israel-Palestine to the list above. 🙂 Looking forward to reading Hand in Hand.
Thanks for the suggested books and the chance to win.
What a great list of picture books on war. I’m familiar with a few of those picture books but see new ones to read, and Hand in Hand looks like a lovely addition.
I have read several of these and know I could recommend a lot of middle grade books and Holocaust picture books, but not so many picture books on war. There is The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II by Louise Borden and Michael Foreman. Patricia Polacco has several stories that fir besides Pink and Say such as Tucky Jo and Little Heart.
So happy to find your blog. I have been looking for diverse books to introduce to my daughter.