Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘a-bear-in-war’

Honouring Aileen Rogers

Posted on May 12th, 2016 by pajamapress

AileenForWeb

International Nurses’ Day is celebrated around the world on May 12 to mark the generosity and contributions of nurses everywhere, past and present. The date also marks Florence Nightingale’s birthdate; she’s the nurse many consider the founder of modern nursing.

Today we’d like to take the opportunity to honour our favourite historical nurse, Aileen Rogers, who appears in both A Bear in War and Bear on the Homefront, and who helped to safely deliver English children to guest-houses across Canada during World War 2. Aileen was also the original owner of Teddy, who resides at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and is something of a national celebrity.

Aileen Rogers was born in Montreal in 1905. She contracted polio at a young age and it affected her walking for much of her life. When she was 10 and her father, Lawrence Browning Rogers, went to fight in World War 1, Aileen sent her beloved teddy bear overseas to keep him safe. Years later she graduated as a registered nurse from Montreal General Hospital School of Nursing. She had various nursing jobs, including her work during World War 2, and ended her career as head of McGill University’s health services. She lived in Montreal until she passed away in 1988.

Aileen’s experiences during the second world war were preserved in a diary she kept in 1940 along with hundreds of family letters and memorabilia from the wars. Her niece found these records stored in an old family briefcase in 2002.

Stephanie Innes, Aileen’s great-niece, co-wrote A Bear in War and Bear on the Homefront using her family’s war memorabilia including Aileen’s journal, photographs, hundreds of letters, and Teddy. Stephanie lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is the senior medical reporter for the Arizona Daily Star.

Learn more about Aileen, Teddy and their family:

Ethel Aileen Rogers
It went to hell and back: Mr. Rogers’ Teddy Bear
A Bear in War (Canada’s History)

 

 

Bear on the Homefront is “Heartwarming,” says The Calgary Herald

Posted on November 3rd, 2014 by pajamapress

BearOnTheHomefront_RGB_72dpi“In the first book of Teddy, A Bear in War, we follow the little bear as he’s shipped off to keep Aileen’s Daddy company during the war. Her father never returns but Teddy does, and he now sits in a glass case at the Canadian War Museum. In this second book, Aileen is working as a nurse. She presents Teddy to children who have come to live temporarily in the safety of Canadian homes. These two heartwarming stories, with softly coloured illustrations, will be read and appreciated by ages five to adult.”

—Barbra Hesson

Bear on the Homefront Family Event November 9

Posted on October 21st, 2014 by pajamapress

BearHomefrontMcMichael

Bear on the Homefront “an appealing look into a little-known part of WWII”—Booklist Online

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by pajamapress

BearOnHomefront_cover_rgb_hi-res“This companion to A Bear in War (2009) extends the story of a Canadian girl’s teddy bear, who rode out WWI in the uniform pocket of the girl’s father and was returned after the he died in battle. Now, during WWII, the little girl has grown into a nurse assigned to a train carrying “guest children” across Canada. These children have been sent by their British parents to escape Nazi bombings.

Nurse Aileen befriends a brother and sister who are being sent to a farm couple in Winnipeg and gives Teddy to the boy to comfort him. As before, Teddy narrates the story and also speaks directly to the boy and his sister. Deines’ watercolors impart a nostalgic feel to the story, which lasts until the end of the war, when the two children return home and Teddy returns to Aileen. Though lacking the photos that helped make the first book so fascinating, this is an appealing look into a little-known part of WWII.”
— Connie Fletcher

Canadian Children’s Book News Recommends Bear on the Homefront

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by pajamapress

BearOnHomefront_cover_rgb_hi-res“This is the second picture book about a teddy bear’s adventure created by the team of Stephanie Innes, Harry Endrulat and Brian Deines. The first book, A Bear in War, follows the adventures of a teddy bear on the front lines during World War I. In this second book, Bear on the Homefront, the reader follows this same teddy bear’s adventures, except the story takes place on the homefront during World War II.

During the second World War, as a result of the heavy bombings, many English children were shipped to allied countries to keep them safe. In Bear on the Homefront, Grace and William Chambers are sent to Canada to live with a family on their farm in Winnipeg. In Halifax, they are met by a nurse named Aileen Rogers, who accompanies them on their journey. To help alleviate the fear and stress the children are feeling, Aileen gives them her beloved teddy bear to comfort them while they’re in Canada. The teddy bear recounts the events that happen during his time with the children until he is returned to Aileen once again.

The story is created using events from Aileen Rogers’ diary and making her real-life teddy bear the narrator. Giving the teddy bear a voice and telling the story from his perspective makes the book more appealing to young readers and enables parents and educators to introduce history in an interesting way. The book can also be used with older readers as a means of introducing some of the events that occurred in World War II and providing further opportunities for children to research the events and facts for the time period presented in the text.

The beautiful and calming illustrations by Brian Deines enhance the text and hold the reader’s attention. Bear on the Homefront is a wonderful way to introduce children to history. It can be used to generate discussions about feelings that accompany life changes and to encourage children to seek out further information about world history.”
—Delia Cipollone Antonacci is a Professor in the Library and Information Technician Program, Seneca College

Kirkus Reviews Praises Bear on the Homefront

Posted on August 12th, 2014 by pajamapress

A brother and sister evacuated from England during World War II gather strength from a tiny teddy bear.

BearOnHomefront_cover_rgb_hi-resGrace and William are sent from their home to live with a host family in Canada until the war is over. On arrival, the pair meets Aileen, a nurse who travels with all of the children to make sure they get to their Canadian families safely. Grace and William are scared and homesick, but a small, peanut-shaped bear from Aileen’s pocket helps to comfort them. Teddy narrates the story, which is a bit jarring at first, but Teddy’s gentle tone ends up bringing readers just as much comfort as it does Grace and William. Teddy is the hero from the creative team’s previous real-life war story, A Bear in War (2009), in which a young Aileen Rogers sends the bear to her father stationed in Belgium during World War I. The story is inspired by Rogers’ diary, kept 25 years later while working as a nurse. Teddy might not have had this exact adventure, but the tale truly shows the reassuring presence of just the right toy. Deines’ warm oil paintings, suffused with light, are as tender as Teddy’s tiny embrace.

Child readers, in wartime or not, will give their teddies an extra, grateful squeeze. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-10)

Books to Remember World War I

Posted on July 28th, 2014 by pajamapress

One hundred years ago today, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, launching the Great War that we know today as World War I. Pajama Press is honoured to work with authors and illustrators who create books about this war for new generations, passing on memories of the past so that it need never be repeated.

Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skyrpuch
Publication date: August 22, 2014

DanceOfTheBanished_RGB_72dpiAli and his fiancée Zeynep dream about leaving their home in Anatolia and building a new life together in Canada. But their homeland is controlled by the Turkish government, which is on the brink of war with Britain and Russia. And although Ali finds passage to Canada to work, he is forced to leave Zeynep behind until he can earn enough to bring her out to join him.

When the First World War breaks out and Canada joins Britain, Ali is declared an enemy alien. Unable to convince his captors that he is a refugee from an oppressive regime, he is thrown in an internment camp where he must count himself lucky to have a roof over his head and food to eat.

Meanwhile, Zeynep is a horrified witness to the suffering of her Christian Armenian neighbours under the Young Turk revolutionary forces. Caught in a country that is destroying its own people, she is determined to save a precious few. But if her plan succeeds, will Zeynep still find a way to cross the ocean to search out Ali? And if she does, will he still be waiting for her?

A Bear in War written by Stephanie Innes & Harry Endrulat, illustrated by Brian Deines

A Bear In War case mechIn 1915, 37-year-old Lawrence Browning Rogers enlisted in the Fifth Canadian Mounted Rifles, leaving behind his wife, two children, and their farm in East Farnham, Quebec. Over the next two and a half years, the family exchanged hundreds of letters, and daughter Aileen sent her beloved Teddy overseas to keep her father safe. Teddy returned home safely, but Lieutenant Rogers did not; he was killed in the battle of Passchendaele. Eighty-five years later, Lawrence’s granddaughter found Teddy, the letters, and other war memorabilia packed away in a briefcase. Now Lawrence’s great-granddaughter Stephanie Innes and children’s author Harry Endrulat have used those documents to reconstruct a moving story of one family’s love and sacrifice—a story shared by the families of so many soldiers who have lost their lives in the defense of their country.

Accompanied by family photographs and Brian Deines‘ poignant art, A Bear in War is more than one family’s testament to a brave soldier. It is a gentle introduction to war, to Remembrance Day, and to the honor of those who have served their countries.

Bear on the Homefront “an elegant book”—CM Magazine

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by pajamapress

BearOnTheHomefront_Internet“One of the best Canadian picture books of 2012 was A Bear in War. The team of Stephanie Innes, Harry Endrulat, and Brian Deines have collaborated again to bring readers another adventure of the teddy bear that now resides in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa..Those who enjoyed the first book will find the quality of the sequel equally impressive and the story equally engaging…

Brian Deines is one of Canada’s foremost illustrators. His heavily textured oil on canvas paintings are a visual treat…Bear on the Homefront is an elegant book that parents and educators will enjoy sharing with young children. Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

 

Through the Looking Glass calls A Bear in War a “remarkable book”

Posted on November 6th, 2013 by pajamapress

A Bear In War case mech“Inspired by the true story of a teddy bear “that was sent to the front lines during World War I” this remarkable book will give children a sense of what it was like living on the home front. They will also find out what it was like to witness a war from the inside of a war medic’s pocket. Aileen’s father’s great-granddaughter, Stephanie Innes, wrote this story with author Harry Endulat, and it serves as a tribute to the young men who left their homes and families to serve in WWI. It also shows to great effect that people left at home had to have courage too. It was not easy living with worry and fear.”

– Marya Jansen-Gruber

Click here to read the full review.

A Bear in War Book Trailer

Posted on May 17th, 2013 by pajamapress

A Bear in War was released in the United States this month in time for Memorial Day. This true story of young Aileen Rogers’ teddy bear, who watched World War I from the pocket of her father’s uniform, captured hearts across Canada when it was first published in 2008, but the book’s original publisher closed its doors shortly after. Pajama Press brought the book back to print in 2012 and now it is available in the United States for the first time.

Click the link below to watch the official book trailer

A Bear in War Book Trailer