Books are so magical. They open our eyes to the world and to knowledge, and, at least for me, inspire and motivate. Introducing new topics, especially topics as profound as Memorial Day, can be daunting to most of us. For me, the best place to start is the library.
I research and seek out books written for the appropriate age range. Once I pile up the books and review them (along with my son), the road is seemingly endless with add on activities. Topics like Memorial Day never get old; the books and the activities evolve as your child moves into new stages in his childhood.
Even with the parades and BBQs, Memorial Day can be one of those heavy topics. How do we teach our children about Memorial Day, about honoring those people who lost their lives serving our country?
My grandparents were Veterans so my understanding and learning of what that meant to them and subsequently to my family was almost innate. We visited cemeteries, talked about the wars, had BBQs and involved ourselves in the annual parade.
My grandfather was buried with a traditional folding of the American Flag. Our first big family trip (and my first trip on an airplane) was to Washington D.C. when I was 8 years old. I recall defining moments on that trip. I can still feel the emotion. My grandparents were a big part of my life and so I “got it” early on.
I struggle with my boys. This generation of children is even more separated from the meaning of the holiday. How do I explain the significance behind this important holiday amidst the business of parades and BBQs? Where do we begin? Yes, you got it, I began with books.
There aren’t many books dedicated to this topic but I found two with which I fell in love. So, I am using the introduce this important holiday, Memorial Day.
Memorial Day Children’s Books
Appropriate for age 4 and up, this book is adorable and gets the point across to kids. A mom tells her young son, who sweetly mistakenly yet very fittingly calls the holiday “Memory Day” that she has a surprise for him. After a number of would be surprises he finally receives his true surprise, seeing his grandfather, a veteran, in the parade.
I liked this book because of the message conveyed is one of gratitude, appreciation, and respect. Plus the illustrations are cheerful and energetic. The main character was clearly extremely proud of his grandfather, an emotion to which I can relate very well. A perfect book to introduce this topic.
The Wall by Eve Bunting
The illustrations are soothing and match the mood – quiet and somber – conveyed within this book. Emotions that may be too subtle on which the youngest of children to consciously pick up, adults will certainly feel them and work the emotions into story time.
Thank you for choosing to read this post today.