Updated: Oct 16, 2018
As the centenary of the World War One Armistice approaches in November, we are delighted to host a guest post from best selling author Tom Palmer, whose new book Armistice Day is available now (see our review here).
In this blog post, Tom picks out his top 10 recommendations of books that can help children learn about the Armistice.
While I was writing Armistice Runner last year, I read everything I could find about the last days of the First World War. Some of the books listed here are ones I relied on. Others are new books, published this autumn to coincide with the centenary of the end of that horrible conflict.
Books for children
Remembrance Day: 1918 Great Events
Gillian Clements (Franklin Watts)
A non-fiction book about what Armistice Day is about. Short chapters and heavily illustrated, this is a great first book for newly-independent readers.
You can order Remembrance Day: 1918 Great Events online or from your local bookshop or library.
Remembrance Day: Start Up History Jane Bingham (Franklin Watts)
A well-illustrated picture book for younger children explaining Remembrance Day. Not specifically about the Armistice, but an excellent introduction for parents or teachers to read with children and talk through some of the issues .
Tom Palmer (Barrington Stoke)
A modern-day girl finds her great-great-grandfather’s diaries about his role as a trench runner during the last days of the First World War and a choice he had to make when he found himself in charge of a German prisoner of war as the guns fell silent.
Paul Dowswell (Bloomsbury)
American, British and German soldiers come together in the last hours of war as enemies. But they must put their rivalry aside to survive.
Books with great content to use with children
Armistice: A Laureate’s Choice of Poems of War and Peace Carol Ann Duffy (Faber)
A selection of poems from Carol Ann Duffy. In 100 poems, well-known poets of the Great War speak alongside those from other conflicts and cultures, so that we hear some of the lesser-heard voices of war, including wives, families and those left behind.
Voices from the Past: Armistice 1918
Paul Kendall (Frontline Books)
A vast oral history of the experience of men and women as the First World War ended, giving us an understanding of its impact on the frontline and at home in most of the nations involved.
Victory 1918: Celebrating the Armistice in Photographs
(The History Press)
Words of history and fiction are very powerful ways of us understanding the Armistice. The images in this book work in a different way, from the outrageous scale of the war to the looks on individuals’ faces in the crowd, these pictures are a great way of engaging children and adults alike.
The Armistice and the Aftermath: The Story in Art
John Fairley (Pen and Sword)
We are very aware of the impact the First World War had on poets and their voices have helped us understand that conflict. Many artists responded to those events too. This is a collection of their paintings, drawings and other art.
You can order The Armistice and the Aftermath online or from your local bookshop or library.
Armistice: Images of the National Archives
Louise Bell (Pen and Sword)
Rarely seen images from the spring offensive of 1918 to the aftermath of the war and the shocking post-war world that conflict left behind.
Around the time of the Armistice centenary there will be magazines and replica newspapers of the time published and available in newsagents. These can be very useful too.
There are many arts and history projects taking place to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. Check out Tom Palmer’s blog that features ten national and local opportunities for schools and families to take part in this November: http://tompalmer.co.uk/10-ways-schools-can-mark-the-armistice-centenary-this-autumn/.
Tom Palmer is the author of thirty plus sports stories for children. They feature spies, detectives, ghosts and figures from history. Find out more about his books at www.tompalmer.co.uk.
Many thanks to Tom for sharing these great book suggestions with us.
You might also like our recent review of Tom's new book Armistice Runner.