Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Picture Books and Memories

By Susan J Berger
We all know Memorial Day is not just for picnics. But sometimes, that's easy to forget.
I remember Memorial Day parades from my childhood in the 1950's. In those days we not only had soldiers from World War II and the Korean War. Riding in autos draped in bunting were soldiers from the Spanish American War, World War I, and even the Civil War. A parade of wars going back almost a century. I remember marveling at the Civil War veterans. Fewer of them each year.
I haven't been to a memorial Day Parade since I left the small towns I used to live in New York and Connecticut. I am sure those parades still exist. 
I also remember fondly teen books by Janet Lambert set against a background of World War II and a bit before. The Penny Parrish series are still available as Kindle books. So are some of the Jordan Family books. I read the first one, Just Jennifer over and over. It was published in 1945 and is only available in hardback.
I mention these because these books could be considered source material. I am unaware of any current books set against a background of WWII in America. Maybe one of you would like to write one?
I did find three picture books about Memorial Day and one about soldier moms.
I deep searched and found a few self published ones with no reviews.
Any one want to add to the field?  Here are my finds. I wish you inspirations for new books and a Happy Memorial Day.

Kate Messner's new picture book Rolling Thunder illustrated by Greg Ruth, pays tribute to Washington DC's Memorial Day Parade.
Every Memorial Day in Washington, DC, more than a million veterans and their supporters gather for the Rolling Thunder® Ride for Freedom, a demonstration that pays tribute to the men and women of the US armed forces. This lyrical story honors the bravery and sacrifice of those American heroes -- the ones who have returned home, and the ones who haven't.

Here are the first lines:

Lines of bikes are miles long,
Shining, half a million strong.
Rumbling, grumbling engines roar.
Peace signs. High  Fives
Spirits soar.

Of course the inimitable Eve Bunting has a picture book about Memorial Day. The Wall. It's illustrated by Ronald Himler.

This is the wall, my grandfather's wall. On it are the names of those killed in a war, long ago.
"Where is Grandpa's name?" I ask.

The Poppy Lady Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans by Barbara Walsh. Illustrated by Layne Johnson
When American soldiers entered World War I, Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, knew she had to act. Some of the soldiers were her students and friends. Almost single-handedly, Moina worked to establish the red poppy as the symbol to honor and remember soldiers. And she devoted the rest of her life to making sure the symbol would last forever. Thanks to her hard work, that symbol remains strong today. Author Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and artist Layne Johnson worked with experts, primary documents, and Moina's great-nieces to better understand Moina's determination to honor the war veterans.

Hero Mom by Melinda Hardin. Illustrated by Bryan Langdon

Our Mom's are superheros.
My mom doesn't leap over tall buildings—she builds them.
 My mom doesn't fly in to save the day—well, sometimes she does.
My mom doesn't command animals—she works with them to find missing people and dangerous objects.
Do you know any other Memorial Day picture books? Please share.


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