Shortlisted for the Education Resources Award 2015 Amid the horror of the fighting in the First World War, there was one moment of unexpected and surprising harmony. On Christmas Eve 1914 the soldiers from opposing sides of No Man’s Land joined together in the singing of a carol. Stille Nacht was begun by the German soldiers; Silent Night followed as the British soldiers joined in. The next day, weapons were laid down and the two sides played an impromptu game of football. In a simple and well-phrased text and evocative illustrations this moment of truce is finely captured.
This year marks the centenary of the 1914 Christmas Truce. To ensure that primary school age children have the opportunity to bear witness to this extraordinary moment in history, Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey have written a sequel to the highly acclaimed Where The Poppies Now Grow. The Christmas Truce is based on that true story and written in rhyme as a tribute to the war poets of the time. It tells the story of soldiers Ben and Ray shaking hands in friendship with Karl and Lars – a tribute to that remarkable moment in history when, for one day, peace found a place.
Author Hilary Robinson said “The Christmas Truce was a remarkable moment in history. On Christmas Eve German soldiers started singing Stille Nacht across No Man’s Land and the British responded with Silent Night. The result was a remarkable show of friendship and humanity amidst the tragedy of war. ”
Illustrator Martin Impey added “Amidst the fear and uncertainty, the soldiers realised that their foe were much as they were - just ordinary men in an extraordinary place. For a short time, they defied the concerns of their seniors and swapped gifts and prayed and played together. The Christmas Truce typified the human spirit at a time of unbelievable hardship and it is an honour to be playing a part, however small, in the remembrance of that.”
It’s Christmas Eve 1914. A group of tired soldiers start singing Stille Nacht, the soldiers on the other side of No Man’s Land respond with Silent Night. The next day, German and British soldiers, put down their guns and join in a game of football to celebrate the spirit of Christmas Day.
Praise for Where The Poppies Now Grow (published April, 2014):
Gervase Phinn, Best Selling Author and former County Inspector of Schools
“Written in the great poetic tradition of depicting war as something immensely sad and personal, ‘Where The Poppies Now Grow’ is a powerful and beautifully written story, superbly illustrated, one which touches our hearts.”
Julia Eccleshare, review for LoveReading4Kids (also children’s books editor at The Guardian)
Where The Poppies Now Grow is “a book that reflects the lasting importance of both friendship and place and how they can help to heal the tragedy of war.”
The Teacher Magazine
“Beautiful illustrations add depth and give touching detail. This book could start a discussion of war and how it affects people, places and relationships. The idea that the veterans pictured were once young may make the story resonate with some younger readers”
|Publication date:||2nd October 2014|
|Publisher:||Strauss House Productions|
|Suitable for:||5+ readers, 7+ readers|
|Other Categories:||All Shortlists and Winners, The First World War|
Hilary Robinson is an award winning radio producer, broadcaster and the author of over 40 picture books including the bestselling Mixed Up Fairy Tales (Hodder). She produced Private Peaceful for BBC Radio 2 narrated by Robson Green. She lives and works in London and York.More About Hilary Robinson
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