I know this time of year everyone’s excited for (and sometimes overwhelmed by) Halloween. But we have another holiday coming which I sometimes fear stands the risk of being forgotten. Do you remember what it is?
Bestselling children’s author Linda Granfield certainly does. When she asked a room of grade 5 students “who knows what a veteran is?” She says a lot of hands went up, and “their reply was “someone who works with animals.””
That was a turning point for her and she’s just completed her 10th book “that is entirely or partially about Canada and the wars. It’s about the war in Afghanistan. Those who have served there will be the veterans visiting Canada’s classrooms in the future”.
I’ve been reading her books to my children pretty much since they were born. I think we often take for granted the freedoms we have here in Canada. We owe it to those men and women to remember what they did, because they did fight for us.
Last year I took my then 7-year-old daughter to London for Remembrance Day. It was an incredible experience. Our first day, we were waiting in a tube station and my daughter said “mom? Did people really sleep here?” It brought the realities home and it suddenly wasn’t just a story anymore. As we climbed to the very top of St Paul’s Cathedral, she kept asking how the fire watch got all the buckets of water to the roofs. “The same way we are, step by step.”
As Linda says “We can never argue that war is good–there is so much tragic and terrible about it. But when we teach young people about war we should be focusing of more than the tales of battles and bloodshed. There is lots to learn by reading about what families did while their sons/daughters were away. “At home,” boys learned to knit, girls learned to build, Victory Gardens provided shared food, medicines were invented, community service grew. Children’s books and games reflected world events more than ever. During times of war people also learn a lot more about the geography of the world–example: how many people could locate Afghanistan on a map before 2001 when Canada sent troops there?
“There’s a fear that if we teach about past wars we will want to continue fighting them. I’ve been taken to task for writing about our past wars; I’ve been asked why I don’t write books about peace. My response? The best way to learn about peace is to know about war, not to avoid it.”
In 1915 John McCrea wrote “If ye break faith with those who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.”
Do you talk about it with your kids? Do you celebrate? And if so, how? Scholastic Canada has given me 3 prize packs to give away, which include Linda’s books Remembering John McCrea and The Unknown Soldier. Winners will be randomly chosen from comments left below.
Contest closes November 2nd.
Click here for Contest Rules and Regulations.
UrbanMoms.ca members are eligible to win so don’t forget to sign-in. Not a member yet? Click here to join.