For most, Memorial Day means the unofficial start to summer and an opportunity to get out of town for the weekend. Barbecues, family gatherings and fun are all part of the last weekend in May. However, the reason behind the long holiday weekend shouldn't be forgotten and reminding ourselves and our children of the sacrifices made by American service men and women is an important responsibility.
Along with spending some time at a Memorial Day parade, a service honoring fallen military heroes and taking some time to discuss family members who may have served in the military, make sure kids have access to books like the following. The books listed are for juvenile readers of all ages and help reinforce the true meaning of Memorial Day.
"Duke" by Kirby Larson, published by Scholastic Press (August 27, 2013): It's World War II and citizens are being asked to donate their dogs to the government to be used as guards, sentries and mine sniffers. With Hobie's dad in Europe fighting, he doesn't want to let his German shepherd, Duke, out of his sight, but he knows it could help bring his dad home even sooner. It's a decision he regrets and then comes to realize is one he must make.
"Memorial Day" by Clara Cella and Gail Saunders-Smith PhD, published by Pebble Plus (August 1, 2012): A simple, yet well-written book for beginning and emergent readers to enjoy. Sometimes holidays are celebrated without understanding the reason why. This book will help explain it in terms young readers can understand.
"The Wall" by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler, published by HMH Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (August 24, 1992): The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is one of the most-visited areas of the nation's capitol. This book follows the journey of a young boy and his father's experiences as they visit the tribute to fallen servicemen and women.
"Memorial Day Surprise" by Theresa Golding and Alexandra Artigas, published by Boyds Mills Press (April 1, 2004): The Memorial Day Parade is a tradition that Mama and Marco never miss. Their usual stop at Grandpa's house is forgotten this year as they rush to get to the parade on time. Did Mama forget or is there a big surprise waiting for Marco?
"I Survived #4: I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941" by Lauren Tarshis, published by Scholastic Paperbacks; 1 edition (October 1, 2011): What starts out as a fun day exploring on the beach for eleven-year-old Danny soon turns into a struggle to survive as he battles smoke and bombs to make it home safely. The attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii is something Danny will never forget.
These books can be purchased from the publishers or at independent bookstores.