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World War I Topic (WW1)

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Best children’s books about the First World War 

Explore the history of World War 1, from tanks and trenches to memorials and medals. We’ve put together a list of the best children’s books to learn about life during World War 1 – both on the home front and on the battlefields.

Chapter books about the First World War

Tom Palmer
 & Tom Clohosy Cole
Chapter book Dyslexia-friendly

Best-selling author Tom Palmer has a track record of bringing together his passions for sport and history in popular stories with a high appeal in primary schools. His new story, Armistice Runner, brings into the spotlight messenger runners on the front line of World War I. As with all of Tom’s books published by Barrington Stoke, these books are ‘super-readable’ due to their accessible layout including a dyslexia-friendly font and tinted paper. This is a wonderful story to use in KS2 classrooms to explore the history of the World War 1 Armistice.

Marcia Williams
Graphic Novel
This is a scrapbook-style text by the popular author-illustrator Marcia Williams. It recounts the experiences of a ten-year-old boy during the war, who uses clippings and comic strips to explain his own experiences. Humorous and moving, this book offers a wonderful insight into what life might have been like for children living through World War 1.
Michael Morpurgo
Chapter book
This classroom classic by award-winning Michael Morpurgo gives voice to a soldier on the battlefields of World War 1. This moving story explores the power of memories to provide hope in difficult situations, as well as wider themes of courage and justice. This edition also contains additional materials to explain the historical context of the story.
Terry Deary
Chapter book

What do you do when you find out that your mother is a spy? This is exactly what happens to Aimee, a young French girl in the year 1918. Aimee befriends a German boy called Marius and what follows is a thrilling adventure of a friendship that survives despite the heavy shadow of war that poses danger at every turn. A gripping story suitable for upper KS2.

Holly Webb
Chapter book

In the small town of Whitby, everybody is preparing to do their part to support the war, including schoolgirl Evie and her little sister Kitty. Following the death of their younger brother, the two young girls find themselves thrust into school life, just as the war takes hold. Based on the real-life bombing of Whitby in 1914, this story is full of loss, love and hope.


Rebecca Stevens
Chapter book

Taking us back to first world war London, Rebecca Stevens delivers a tale of war, family and friendships but above all an inspirational story of ladies’ football.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable and realistic portrayal of a young woman’s plight during the First World War, the danger of the chemicals that some women were exposed to, the empowerment of women during this time and the realisation, once the war is over, that life would never be the same again.

Tony Bradman
 & Tania Rex
Chapter book
November 1920. The body of an unknown soldier is to be buried at Westminster Abbey. The war has claimed the lives of thousands of men whose bodies will never make it home, and the Unknown Warrior will represent them all. As hundreds of people crowd to Westminster Abbey, Daisy knows she has to make it to the ceremony. Because although they call the warrior 'unknown', she is sure that he is her father...
Tom Palmer
 & Ollie Cuthbertson
Chapter book
It's the proudest moment of Jack's life - his debut as a professional footballer. Now he has a chance to achieve his dream of playing for his country. But it's 1914 and the world is at war. Talk of sportsmen's cowardice leads to the formation of a Footballers' Battalion and Jack has little choice but to join up. The promise of a Cup in Flanders offers a glimmer of hope, but Jack and his teammates will have to survive a waking nightmare if they are ever to play again. A stunning new edition of Tom Palmer's bestselling novel based on the true story of WWI war hero and footballing legend Jack Cock.

Picturebooks about the First World War

Hilary Robinson
 & Martin Impey
Picturebook

Nominated for a number of prestigious awards, this poetic new book brings the memories associated with World War I to a level suitable for younger children. Perfect for use around Remembrance Day, Where the Poppies Now Grow tells the story of best friends Ben and Ray, who swap their simple lives on countryside farms for the raging battlefields of France. This book is rare in its ability to make both the narrative and illustrations poignant and evocative without being too frightening or graphic for young children. You may also like Flo of the Somme and The Christmas Truce by the same authors.

Hilary Robinson
 & Martin Impey
Picturebook
Peace Lily is a rhyming story that celebrates the humanity and compassion that thrive even in the darkest of times. Lily is a nurse at Passchendaele, working in a hospital tent to treat those wounded in battle. This is a moving story that explores the important contribution made by women on the front line during World War One.
Michael Foreman
Picturebook

This picture book tells the remarkable story of a group of soldiers in the trenches who play a football match with others from the opposing trenches, during a rare pause in the fighting at Christmas time. Illustrated with water colour pictures, this is a highly recommended picture book that is popular in KS2 classrooms. You may also like War Boy by the same author.

Michael Morpurgo
 & Tom Clohosy Cole
Picturebook
A richly illustrated gift picture book edition of Michael Morpurgo's classic wartime story War Horse. This powerful book for younger readers tells the enduring story of a friendship between a boy and his horse amid the turmoil of the First World War. For 40 years, War Horse has been helping children understand conflict. As we move beyond centenary commemorations and continue to strive for peace across the world, it remains an important book for young readers learning about the past.

Non-fiction and Poetry about the First World War

Gaby Morgan
Poetry
An anthology of poetry covering the topic of World War 1. Perfect for teachers to dip in and out of and choose the most appropriate poems for their classes, this collection explores how a range of different people expressed experiences and emotions of the war through poetry. Poets include Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Vera Brittain, Siegfried Sassoon and more.

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