This week was our first American History Club meeting for the month. We’re starting with WWI, mainly because we didn’t make it to WWI last year, and Mr. Curiosity and his friend were highly disappointed. We’ll be doing some earlier history as well, but we didn’t want to leave WWI and WWII to the end of the year and not make it again. So, let’s just start with WWI.
The two boys and I read War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. I already reviewed the book, but the quick summary is this: Joey is a horse that’s sent to war as a cavalry horse, and ends up pulling ambulances and a cannon instead. You get a sense of the horror of the bombardments and being in trenches, but no graphic details. Definitely a good introduction to the war for a younger/more sensitive crowd.
Miss Adventure and her friends read Meet Rebecca by Jacqueline Green. It’s your typical American Girl story, although in this one, Rebecca’s family is Jewish.
I had forgotten most of the details of WWI, so if I was going to talk about why the war started in the first place and how it changed Europe, I needed to do some research. The library is the first place to turn for research and I discovered a curious fact. There’s many, many books written about WWII, and very few about WWI. I’m not sure why that’s the case, but it was true both for adult and children’s nonfiction, and I had a hard time finding an appropriate book to suggest in the first place.
In the end, I did pull out two children’s nonfiction books (they’ve got the information written out more concisely and I didn’t have a lot of time). For the best information, World War I by John Conway was very useful. It went into lots of details on the political climate of Europe as well as some of the aftermath of the war. Just the overview I was looking for before I had to talk to kids about the war. It even had a map of Europe before and after the war. I had forgotten how many countries were created after the war – not all of which lasted.
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