Conflict and children’s books display

By our guest blogger, Beverley.

A recent visit to the Imperial War Museum (IWM) was the inspiration for the current display in the library ‘Conflict and Children’s Books’. The IWM’s exhibition entitled ‘Once Upon a Wartime’ concentrated on five books set during a period of conflict (the First and Second World Wars and modern African civil war). The books were used to illustrate specific themes: ‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo (Loyalty), ‘Carrie’s War’ by Nina Bawden (Separation), ‘The Machine Gunners’ by Robert Westall (Excitement), ‘The Silver Sword’ by Ian Serraillier (Survival) and ‘The Little Soldier’ by Bernard Ashley (Identity). These titles are all available in the Library’s Curriculum Resources Collection.

The Library display shows the range of other titles that cover children’s experiences during periods of conflict. More unusual (the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya, the Lebanese Civil War)and on-going (the Arab-Israeli conflict) conflicts are covered. The fact that the consequences of war can have a long lasting effect on children such as injuries from land mines is not ignored. Some of the topics explored are controversial but very topical such as suicide bombers and detention at Guantanamo Bay.
The picture books and novels can be enjoyed just as stories that happen to be set during a period of conflict. But they can also be used as a starting point for discussions and to gain a fuller understanding of events reported in the media.

One part of the display concentrates on the wealth of fiction and non-fiction items which are about the Holocaust. This reflects the IOE’s position as the provider of the Holocaust Education Development Programme . Another section illustrates the variety of material we have on Anne Frank. Plays, graphic novels and picture books are included alongside the original ‘Diary of Anne Frank’.

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One Response to Conflict and children’s books display

  1. Jessica says:

    I noticed a Robert Swindells book in the display which reminded me of reading his novel Brother in the Land, which deals with the aftermath of a nuclear war through the teenager, Danny. As a young teenager it made quite an impression on me (I also blame it for my fascination with the idea of post-apocalyptic societies).

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