Veteran’s Day

November 11, 2009

I believe that it is important to honor our veterans.  Our country has been founded on many men and women who have given their time, energy, and in some cases, their lives for our freedoms.

I love the book, America’s White Table.  I wrote about it last year.  It’s awesome.

The Wall by Eve Bunting is another long time favorite.

What favorite books do you use to celebrate our country?


America’s White Table

November 11, 2008

In honor of our veterans, Margot Theis Raven has written a beautifully moving piece called America’s White Table.  The American Legion and military events honor those men and women who have fought for our country.  Margot Theis Raven introduces this symbol of honor by writing a story of a mother telling a story to her three girls.  Each part of the table, from the white table cloth to the red rose, is explained.  She interweaves a repeating line:  “It was just little white table…“.  Margot also has the words of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” throughout the bottom of each two page spread.

The story unfolds through the eyes of the oldest niece.  She learns what happened to Uncle John during the Vietnam War.  When the story ended, Katie wanted to do something special.  Her sisters drew him pictures and another wrote him a letter.  Uncle John comes and Katie realizes that she will promise “to put the words from my heart into a little book about America’s White Table.

Margot Theis Raven goes on and shares in the Author’s Note the history of the white table.  “A group called the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association or the River Rats set the first MIA/POW Remembrance Table.”  May we not forget the courage and sacrifice our veterans have given for our freedom.

Savorings for reading and in writing for America’s White Table:

  • Repeating line – “It was just a little white table...”
  • Story within a story – flashbacks
  • Time of reflection
  • Gathering stories from families – writing them down to preserve for future generations
  • Illustrations – the coloring changes during the flashback

For All of Us

November 10, 2008

As we think about Veteran’s Day, picture books can help children relate to historical events.  Eve Bunting creates an honored respect for those who have served and lost their lives through her book. The Wall.  A young father and his son go to visit the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.  They are in search of someone, someone special – the young father’s father. The narrative is shared through the eyes of the young boy.  He wants to meet his grandfather.  Eve Bunting’s words command moments of silence and reflection.  “My dad stands very still with his head bent.”

When I read this book, a lump comes to my throat and tears fill my eyes.  I can’t help it.  Emotion wells up.  Whether I agree with why our country is at war, my heart bleeds for those who have given their lives for my freedom, for the freedom of my children.  Eve Bunting kneads her words, creating strong emotion.  Children will relate and gain a better understanding of why we honor our veterans.  I have a signed copy of The Wall by both the author and the illustrator.  Listen to what they say.

Eve Bunting:  “The wall is for all of us!”

Ronald Himler:  “Live in such a way that we will never need another wall like this one.”

See an interview with the author:  Eve Bunting.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Wall:

  • Theme – respect and honor
  • Strong emotion
  • Show don’t Tell – “Dad’s rubbing the name, rubbing and rubbing as if he wants to wipe it away.
  • Setting matches the mood – “bare trees behind us and the dark, flying clouds”
  • Symbolism – “The wall is black and shiny as a mirror.  In it, I can see Dad and me.
  • Simile – “The letters march side by side like rows of soldiers.”

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