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Posts Tagged ‘world-war-one’

Dance of the Banished is “a dynamic and compelling story” says Worlds of Words

Posted on May 10th, 2017 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websiteDance of the Banished is based on true accounts about Alevi Kurds who were victims of war in Anatolia and the Canadian government’s internment camps in Ontario during World War I. The novel sheds light on the subtleties of cultural groups within geographical regions and their fate at the hands of the more powerful….

A dynamic and compelling story with likeable and realistic characters, this fictionalized narrative about how war often makes no distinctions between cultural groups will appeal to middle and secondary readers interested in history, romance, and how political movements on an international scale often wreak havoc at the local and individual levels. A deeply engaging plot that addresses many of the nuances of World War I, this book will make a great companion to Sanders’ series, The Rachel Trilogy, as well as Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys, 2012), which also address the concepts of movement, transitions, and how politics disrupt individual lives….”
—Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati

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.

School Library Journal review of A Bear in War

Posted on March 18th, 2013 by pajamapress

“Aileen was a 10-year-old Canadian whose father fought in Europe during World War I. She had a small teddy bear that she treasured and carried with her everywhere until she sent it to her father in Belgium, where he served as a medic. He carried Teddy with him, just as his daughter had. In fact, Teddy was with him when he died on the battleground. Eventually the bear was returned to Aileen. This tender story is punctuated throughout with newspaper cuttings, photos, medals, and other realia from the time period. The endpapers are old family letters and the illustrations are evocative of a time when life was simpler but perhaps not as easy. The palette is muted and soft, which makes the story seem comfortable and safe…The history, the illustrations, and the story itself combine to make a wonderful testimonial to a family who made the greatest sacrifice for their country in World War I…”—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Canadian Materials Highly Recommends A Bear in War

Posted on December 14th, 2012 by pajamapress

coverA Bear in War gently introduces young children to war. This true story about Lawrence Browning Rogers’ life is told from Teddy’s perspective. The innocence of Teddy’s voice is deeply comforting and will resonate with its young audience. Co-authors Innes and Endrulat do not shield the reader from the sadness war brings but choose to demonstrate it with tremendous sensitivity. Deines’ exquisite oil paintings beautifully couple the innocence and sensitivity that Innes and Endrulat create. Each illustration is soft in its rendering and also expresses a depth of emotion that moves the reader. Simply put, A Bear in War is a story that parents must read to their children.

Highly Recommended.

—Inderjit Deogun is a poet in Toronto, ON.

Click here to read the full review.

A Bear in War “Highly Recommended”—Resource Links

Posted on November 7th, 2012 by pajamapress

In this book Teddy, a stuffed teddy bear, tells his story from the time he is taken home to a farm in Quebec by his owner ten-year-old Aileen Rogers, through being sent to France in a care package sent to her father, Lawrence Browning Rogers, as he was fighting in the First World War, and his return home alone as Lieutenant Rogers died at the Battle of Passchendaele. This book conveys the true story of one family during war time. Gently told through the voice of the teddy bear it provides some insight into life during war time for a group of young readers.

In 2002 Lawrence Rogers grand-daughter, Roberta Rogers Innes, found Teddy along with letters and other war memorabilia inside a large family briefcase. As she delved deeper she discovered the story of Teddy and her daughter, Stephanie Innes, along with Harry Endrulat decided to share it with others in the form of a picture book. Brian Deines beautiful illustrations poignantly bring the story to life along with the historical photographs, posters and other memorabilia which are interspersed throughout the book.

…Today Teddy resides in a glass display case at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. A portion of the royalties earned from the sale of this reissue will be donated to the Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command Poppy Trust Fund, which supports the benevolent care of veterans and promotes remembrance.

This book is highly recommend for school and public libraries and should be a great choice to share with young readers on November 11.

Rating: E – Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

Victoria Pennell

7 Famous Wartime Toys

Posted on October 19th, 2012 by pajamapress

Teddy_hiOne of the most popular exhibits in the Canadian War Museum is a small, legless bear known simply as “Teddy.” During World War I, a little girl named Aileen Rogers sent the beloved bear to her father, Lieutenant Lawrence Browning Rogers, in a care package. Lieutenant Rogers died serving as a medic at the battle of Passchendaele, but Teddy was found in his pocket and returned to Aileen. Decades later Aileen’s niece Roberta found the teddy and a wealth of wartime letters in a briefcase. Roberta’s daughter Stephanie Innes set out to write the picture book A Bear in War about Teddy’s experience, and Teddy himself found his way to the Canadian War Museum.

This touching story has inspired us to learn more about other famous wartime toys. What playthings gave children comfort while their fathers were overseas? What new toys sprang into life because of the war? Here is a list of our favourites from World War I and World War II:


Raggedy Ann

In the early 1900s, the United States was not a strong competitor in doll manufacturing. However, with toy production all but ceasing in Europe during World War I, the door was opened for American expansion into the industry. Johnny Gruelle, whose young daughter Marcella died tragically in 1915, secured a trademark for her doll “Raggedy Ann” and wrote a collection of stories about the doll, said to be tales he had once spun for the ailing Marcella. In 1918 the stories and the first hand-sewn dolls hit the Christmas market and a phenomenon was born.

Model Airplanes

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum

Toy airplanes were not far behind their full-scale counterparts in gaining popularity during World War I. A 1915 ad for the Ideal Aeroplane & Supply Company read, “‘Ideal’ accurate Scale Drawings and Knocked down parts will enable you to EASILY build 3 ft flying models of those Aeroplanes now used in the European War. Students of Aeronautics, everyone with an inquiring turn of mind, should construct one of these fascinating models.”

Tinkertoys, Erector Sets, and Meccano

Popular Science Magazine November 1922

Popular Science Magazine November 1922

The 1910s were a time of change and discovery in engineering and industry, with World War I driving a constant stream of new developments. Complex building toys like the wooden Tinkertoys and metal Meccano and Erector Sets let kids get in on the excitement, inspiring the next generation of inventors and engineers.

The Slinky

Photo by Roger McLassus

Photo by Roger McLassus

In 1943 naval mechanical engineer Richard James was experimenting with springs, trying to develop one that could help stabilize a ship’s instruments. When he accidentally knocked one of his models off a shelf and watched it walk down a stack of objects to the floor, history was made. He and his wife Betty, who found the word “slinky” in the dictionary and thought it most appropriate, went into business. They sold their first 400 units within 90 minutes at a department store demonstration.

Cardboard Christmas Villages

Photo by Karen, Herminas Cottage

Photo by Karen, Herminas Cottage

When metal and rubber became scarce, and every scrap of either was needed for the war effort, toys made of paper and cardboard experienced a renaissance. One popular toy of the 1940s, especially around Christmas time, was the printed cardboard house. Entire villages were available, and stores often created elaborate displays with toy trains running through them. In the United States many of these sets were emphatically stamped with “Made in U.S.A.” to differentiate them from the Japanese models that had been available before the war and were now widely shunned.

Paper Dolls

Photo by Megan Raley

Photo by Megan Raley

Paper dolls were popular for the same reason as cardboard houses: they were made out of a material that was not being rationed and was not needed for the war effort. One Canadian company produced paper nurses, soldiers in a variety of uniforms, and model battleships that could be folded into shape.

Silly Putty

Photo by Elliot Harmon

Photo by Elliot Harmon

During World War II Japan took control of many rubber-producing countries, leaving a rubber shortage in Western nations. American researchers attempted to develop a substitute and came up with a happy accident instead. Silly putty may not have contributed much to the war effort, but it was certainly a hit on the homefront, selling wildly in toy stores. And although scientists around the world failed to find a use for it in the 1940s, it did find a practical purpose later in life: Apollo astronauts used it as an adhesive to secure objects in zero-gravity.

Of course we could also talk about the ubiquitous lead soldiers and tin vehicles and cap guns, all of which flourished in a society where every child had war on his or her mind. We could also talk about the homemade toys that became more common as toy manufacturers became more scarce, especially in Europe. What about you? What wartime toys do you have stashed in an attic or displayed on a shelf? Let us know in the comments below.