Bear on the Homefront cover

By Stephanie Innes & Harry Endrulat & Brian Deines

Bear on the Homefront

During World War II, nurse Aileen Rogers and her stuffed bear, Teddy, greet English “guest children” sent overseas for safety. Teddy befriends homesick, young William and his sister Grace, sharing the experience of the cross-country train ride and five years on a host family’s farm. Based on real events.

During World War II, 10,000 children from British cities were sent to live with host families in Canada, the United States, and other nations away from the war zone. Bear on the Homefront tells the story of two guest children, Grace and William Chambers, who arrive in Halifax and meet Aileen Rogers, a nurse serving on the homefront. With her is Teddy, the stuffed bear whose real-life trip to the front lines of World War I and back was chronicled in A Bear in War.

Using archival images and Aileen Rogers’ wartime diary, Stephanie Innes and Harry Endrulat piece together William and Grace’s journey by train to their host family’s Winnipeg farm. Readers experience the story through Teddy’s eyes as Aileen, seeing William’s anxiety, lets her stuffed friend stay with the little boy throughout the train ride and, ultimately, throughout the war.

Brian Deines’ soulful oil paintings capture the spirit of the war years on the homefront. His expressive art communicates both the loneliness of children separated from their families and the joyful conclusion when Grace, William, and Teddy all return to their homes again.

Available In


Ages 5-10
ISBN: 978-1-927485-13-2
List Price: $19.95 CAD / $19.95 USD
Hardback with picture book & reinforced binding & with printed dust jacket
Trim Size: 9.50 x 10.00 inches / 24.13 x 25.4cm
Pages: 32

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Orca Book Publishers

Carton Quantity: 30

About this book

Awards and Honours

  • 2015 Best Books for Kids & Teens (Commended) (Canada)
  • 2014 Resource Links "The Year's Best" (Commended) (Canada)


About Bear on the Homefront

2015 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

2014 Resource Links “The Year’s Best”

2021 49th Shelf “Lest We Forget: Books for Remembrance Day” list selection

“[W]ell-paced storytelling and soft, nostalgic watercolor illustrations…”—The New York Times

“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.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The story is touching without any hint of sentimentality. The soft, warm palette of the art is beautifully rendered in oils and adds the perfect touch to this heartwarming story.”—School Library Journal

“Deines’s lush oil paintings showcase the Canadian landscape…Once again, Teddy narrates the story, and his separation from Aileen tenderly mirrors the children’s distance from their parents.”—Publishers Weekly

“[A]n appealing look into a little-known part of WWII.”—Booklist

“Poignant and tender in its writing, this picture book helps to teach today’s children about real life experiences during World War II.”—Resource Links Magazine

“Bear on the Homefront is an elegant book that parents and educators will enjoy sharing with young children. Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

“Innes and Endrulat cleverly tell the story from Teddy’s point of view, so the reader, like Teddy, hears Aileen’s explanations of what is going on as well as William’s and Grace’s secrets…Brian Deines soft atmospheric illustrations and rich colours convey an old-fashioned feel to the story.”—National Reading Campaign

“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.”—Canadian Children’s BookNews

“These two heartwarming stories, [A Bear in War and Bear on the Homefront], with softly coloured illustrations, will be read and appreciated by ages five to adult.”—The Calgary Herald

“Bear on the Homefront, a beautifully illustrated children’s book…manages to talk about war in a way that is gentle, fascinating and educational.”—SavvyMom

Additional Resources

Teaching Guide


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