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 and is perfectly timed to celebrate the Armistice centenary this November. 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.
The front line of the First World War couldn’t seem further away from Lily’s modern day life. Lily is a young girl who enjoys running in fell races and filling in the details in her running log. Lily has her own battles to fight, as she worries about finishing behind her running rival Abbie, putting up with her annoying younger brother and, most worryingly, attempts to come to terms with her gran’s Alzheimer’s. During an emotional visit to her gran’s house, Lily is pleasantly surprised to receive a box of running logs that once belonged to her great-great-grandfather, Ernest, including his detailed diaries from the First World War.
Intrigued, Lily becomes quickly drawn into Ernest’s first-hand account of his journey from being a young fell-runner just like Lily to signing up to fight on the front lines in France. As she works through the diary, events at her gran’s house cause her to pause between reading different parts of Ernest’s story. The two stories begin to alternate, with parallels cleverly drawn between each one. Lily keeps her discovery to herself but is easily able to relate to the mirrored themes of family, running, loss and coping with rivalry. Despite being alive 100 years after his story took place, Lily feels a strong connection to Ernest and finds that his experiences give her strength to face her own struggles.
This is a wonderful story to use in the classroom to explore the history of World War 1.
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