During World War One, a young girl slips her teddy bear into a care package for her father, a medic posted to the trenches of France. Although her father dies in the battle of Passchendaele, his belongings are shipped back to his family, along with the toy bear, which today sits in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
In 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. And she discovered 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.
About A Bear in War
2013 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection
2012 Resource Links “The Year’s Best”
2010 Silver Birch Express Award Honour Book
2009 Canadian Children’s Literature Roundtables Information Book Award finalist
2021 49th Shelf “Lest We Forget: Books for Remembrance Day” list selection
“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.”—School Library Journal
“Based on debut author Innes’ family history, this moving picture book, co-authored by Endrulat, blurs the border between fiction and nonfiction as it tells the story of Innes’ great-grandfather, a Canadian soldier killed in the trenches of World War I.”—Booklist
“[Deines] brings both a sense of intimacy (Aileen’s hands putting Teddy in a box) and universality (an iconic soldier vanishing in a field of poppies) to the text. A lovely book…”—Kirkus Reviews
“…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…Simply put, A Bear in War is a story that parents must read to their children. Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine
“This book is highly recommend for school and public libraries and should be a great choice to share with young readers on November 11…Gently told through the voice of the teddy bear it provides some insight into life during war time for a group of young readers.”—Resource Links Magazine
“[Books about war] need not be graphic in their treatment of the subject. Sometimes, subtlety carries more weight, especially if it evokes emotions that even the young can identify with and relate to…A Bear in War is based on real-life incidents, but the way Stephanie Innes and Harry Endrulat relate them makes for a story with wide-ranging appeal.”—Montreal Gazette
“[A] timeless and touching love story told from the perspective of a girl’s teddy bear.”—Canadian Living
“It’s tough telling a story to children about someone dying in battle but somehow A Bear in War manages to do so in a way that is gentle, fascinating and educational. Our savvy testers (who included teachers and children) found themselves wanting to read the story again and again. It’s a wonderful addition to the learning resources for Remembrance Day and the story and the beautiful illustrations provide a great tool to help parents talk to their children about war, service to country, and losing a loved one.”—SavvyMom
“This remarkable book will give children a sense of what it was like living on the home front…it serves as a tribute to the young men who left their homes and families to serve in WWI. It also shows to get effect that people left at home had to have courage too.”—Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews
“[A] powerful, moving piece of literature – a picture book destined to become a Canadian classic.”—Oak Bay News
“A Bear in War is such a beautiful story, and sad at the same time….The illustrations are beautiful and I like the added real photographs and information provided about the family and Teddy.”—Book Time
“The illustrations are beautiful. There are also real photographs throughout the book as well as information about the family at the end.”—Newmarket Today