I’ve been putting together a collection of books on the First World War for courses, and thought it might be useful to highlight a few mainly recent ones that I find particularly valuable for key stages 2 and 3 children.
Picture books first of all. All of these are very impressive. In Flanders Fields is a compelling tale set in the trenches. I am a huge fan of Mick Manning and Brita Granström’s books, and Charlie’s War Illustrated lives up to their very high standards. Memorial by Shaun Tan and Gary Crew is not new at all, but I have only just come across it. Very moving and evocative. Archie’s War is also by no means recent, but so good that I could not leave it out.
I wasn’t really intending to include non-fiction here, but Charlie’s War had to be on the list, and so does this book. Line of Fire is the diary of an unknown soldier, found and stunningly illustrated by Barroux. Truly exceptional – a great addition to any secondary school graphics collection.
Next a couple of excellent new Barrington Stoke books. It’s great to have some good novels set in WW1 that are accessible to children with a fairly low reading age. Over the Line is based on a true story about a footballer who fought in the trenches. Tilly’s Promise is written from the perspective of a young nurse working near the front line.
Finally, three novels I haven’t yet read, but can’t wait to get my hands on. These look strong candidates for classroom collections and libraries, Boyne’s book for upper KS2 and above, the other two probably for a slightly older audience.