The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War

illus. by Jim Kay. photos. 304p. Candlewick. Apr. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780763675547.
Gr 5 Up—Last year marked the centennial of the start of World War I. This collection of short stories, with chapters by acclaimed British authors, including Printz winners Marcus Sedgwick and David Almond, is a timely choice. Each tale is inspired by actual artifacts from the time (an army helmet, sheet music, a compass) and focus on the British participation in the war. In the exceptional "Another Kind of Missing" by A.L. Kennedy, a young boy narrates the story of his father who has returned from war with severe facial injuries. David Almond's "A World That Has No War in It," tells the story of how writing with a soldier's pencil ended a deadly feud between two Irish families. And in Sheena Wilkinson's "Each Slow Dusk," a teenage girl realizes she will have to sacrifice her college plans in order to care for her wounded brother. Interspersed throughout are Kay's haunting illustrations and at the end of the compilation are photos and descriptions of the items that inspired the stories. As there are no living World War I veterans to tell their stories, this profound collection may be as close as some readers will get to truly understanding the emotional devastation of one of the world's bloodiest wars.
VERDICT A solid purchase for public and school libraries, particularly those needing to update their World War I collections.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing