Preparing for Remembrance Day commemorations is a great opportunity to talk not only about the sacrifices of the past but to talk about our contributions to peace. There are so many Remembrance Day activities out there, but most of them involve poppy crafts. One of the best ways to learn about the past is by reading Remembrance Day books. They are always a great way to introduce solemn topics while uplifting our students. Most of all, they are portable, easy to use, and don’t require a lot of technology.
If you are looking for the reasons why learning about Remembrance Day in important, be sure to read our blog post called The Importance of Remembrance Day. If you are looking for some art to accompany your lessons, check out Remembrance Day Art Projects and How to Create Memorable Remembrance Day Art Projects.
Although there are many books to acknowledge Remembrance Day out there here is a list of our favourites. We collect these books and keep an entire bin of them available to students. We even wrote a few shorter pieces to help our students understand how war changes us in more student-friendly language and it includes a digital version so you can use assistive technology to help read. Canadians in War can be found in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store and Brain Ninjas Shop.
Boys are often drawn to books about war, so this can be an interesting topic for your reluctant readers. Looking for more suggestions to get your struggling readers reading? Check out this blog post called Strategies for Reluctant Readers.
Are you trying to organize an assembly, but you can’t sit together in a gymnasium for a ceremony? Read our post: Remembrance Day Assembly Ideas When You’re Apart.
Picture books are for everyone on Remembrance Day
The assumption that picture books are only for young students couldn’t be further from the truth. Older students love picture books, too. And they love being read to. This is partly because it doesn’t happen as often. It is also because it takes the pressure off many students. They can just listen and enjoy a story.
Pictures books about Remembrance Day or war are often written at a much higher reading level. This makes them a good match for upper elementary or middle school students.
Our books lists do not include affiliate links. We encourage you to shop at your local bookstore instead.
A Poppy is to Remember by Heather Patterson – Learn how the poppy became a symbol for Remembrance Day.
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson
This nearly wordless picture book is a great way to start the conversation about paying tribute to others. And it’s great for your English Language Learners.
Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion by Jane Barclay
Explore the different sides of war through animal imagery in this creative look.
Bunny the Brave War Horse by Elizabeth MacLeod
Experience World War I through the story of a real-life warhorse.
Bear on the Homefront by Stephanie Innes & Harry Endrulat
A young child sends her teddy bear along with her father to the war front.
A Bear in War by Stephanie Innes & Harry Endrulat
Introduce students to World War I through the story of a Canadian family that exchanged letters and a teddy bear during the war.
No! by David McPhail
This (almost) wordless picture book witnesses the terrible sights and sounds of war.
What does Peace Feel Like? by Vladimir Radunsky
See what kids around the world say about how peace feels.
Even More Picture Books for Remembrance Day
Midnight: A True Story Of Loyalty In World War I by Mark Greenwood
This book tells the story of a young Australian who raises a horse. When World War I breaks out they are separated and sent to Europe. Read to find out if they ever find their way back to each other.
The Peace Book by Todd Parr
Who doesn’t love a Todd Parr book? Another book about peace that appeals to younger students.
Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon
This is a ballad about living during the war.
Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts About Peace by Anna Grossnickle Hines
This is a collection of poems about peace, illustrated with pieces of quilts.
Jack’s Bugle by Krista Bell
This is the story of a farm boy who goes to war. His bugle returns from the war with his best friend. Will it ever be played again?
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick
The true story of a soldier who found a bear while training for World War I.
Truce by Jim Murphy
A Christmas day truce during World War I between British and German troops is described.
The Enemy: A book about peace by Davide Cali & Serge Bloch
Get two perspectives on one war in this picture book of two soldiers on opposing sides.
What is Peace? by Wallace Edwards
A series of questions are asked to children to explore what peace means.
The Road to Afghanistan by Linda Granfield
The story of a young soldier who returns from Afghanistan. He learns about his great-grandfather’s time in World War II and grandfather’s service in WWII.
And Reading Activities for Elementary Students
We have a small collection of short expository and fiction pieces in our Remembrance Day Reading and Writing Activities resource. The topics are Vimy Ridge, D-Day, and a story of a child waiting for a parent to return from Afghanistan.
Even though these are written with the focus being Remembrance Day, they can be used any time of year for social studies.
The passages are designed to be read by upper elementary students (Grade 5+ independently), but if your students struggle with reading, you may want to read the passages together as a class. There is a digital version included so it can be read with your assistive technology software or programs. Find it in our TpT Store and Brain Ninjas Shop.
We also have a set of Remembrance Day Writing Prompts that can be used to get your students thinking about what they already know about the observance. The set includes ten days of prompts, each with three choices. Students can write on paper or using the Google Slides version. Find them in our TpT Store and Brain Ninjas Shop.
Non-Fiction Books for Remembrance Day
Highway of Heroes by Kathy Stinson
This is a great book to talk about the sacrifices our soldiers make for us, in a more modern era of the war in Afghanistan.
The Unknown Soldier by Linda Granfield
Look at memorials around the world to remember soldiers who died in the war but were never identified.
In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae by Linda Granfield
Read about the story behind the most famous poem about war.
Canada’s Wars: An Illustrated History by Jonathan Webb
A historical book explaining wars involving Canada from the Boer War to Afghanistan.
D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History by Deborah Hopkinson
An easy to manage for students look at the D-Day plan that became the turning point in World War Two.
The Vimy Oaks by Linda Granfield
This soldier’s story is told through his diary as he sits at the base of an oak tree.
Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood: A World War I Tale by Nathan Hale
Quick stories and little-known facts about World War I.
More Nonfiction Books for the Classroom
The Kids Book of Canada at War by Elizabeth MacLeod
This is a great overview of war for kids, kept simple enough to understand but honest enough to be realistic.
What Was the Holocaust? by Gail Herman
This popular series has several topics about the different wars and specific biographies like Anne Frank. They are very readable for students and a favourite in our school.
Why Do We Fight: Conflict, War, And Peace by Niki Walker
A discussion of why people have conflict. This is a quick read and a great conversation starter.
World War II: Visual Encyclopedia by DK Books– This is a great visual book for students. This one is hard to pry away from them because it’s full of so much and the pictures are fascinating.
DK Eyewitness Books: World War II: Explore the Terrifying Global Conflict That Shaped the Modern World from D-day to the atomic bomb by Simon Adams
This is a great informational book broken down specifically for kids. This one is very popular in our school (we had to buy a few copies).
Novels, Novellas and Short Stories are great reads for Remembrance Day, too.
Most of these novels are recommended for students grade five and up. Use your discretion as a teacher, knowing your students best.
Here are some of the best novels we found and shared with our students.
Charlie Wilcox by Sharon E. McKay
A young boy spends part of the war in Halifax and part in France.
Two Generals by Scott Chantler (A Graphic Novel)
The story of young soldiers before their first battle in World War Two.
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier and Greg Salsedo (A Graphic Novel)
A grandmother tells a story no one in her family has ever heard-how she was hidden from the Nazis in Paris during World War Two.
Remember World War II: Kids Who Survived Tell Their Stories by Dorinda Nicholson
This is a collection of short stories told by children who survived the war.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Young Ada sneaks away with her younger brother in England when children were shipped to the countryside to avoid being in the middle of the Blitzkrieg in London. It also has a sequel.
Tommy Prince: The Scout (A Graphic Novel) by David Alexander Robertson
The story of Canada’s most decorated Indigenous soldier and his encounter with a girl named Pamela. We have more information in our post: How to Honour National Indigenous Veterans Day.
Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific by Deborah Hopkinson
This book focuses on the war using submarines.
The Boy on the Wooden Box by Marilyn Harran – A memoir of the youngest child to survive the Holocaust.
Salt to the Sea by Ruth Septeys
The story of several, unlike people who find each other in Germany during World War Two. This is a ninja favourite!
More Novels, Short Stories and Novellas
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
A boy’s story about a friend he made during the war in Germany.
Making Bombs For Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
This is the story of a young Ukrainian girl captured by the Nazis and forced to work as a slave.
I Survived: The Nazi Invasion 1944 by Lauren Tarshis
If your students love the I Survived series, this is a great one for them, too. Max and Zena have to escape the Nazis in order to survive.
Poppies From Iraq by Brigitte Findakly and Lewis Trondheim (A Graphic Novel)
This is a young person’s perspective on growing up in Iraq during political upheaval.
When the Cherry Blossoms Fell by Jennifer Maruno
The story of a young Japanese-Canadian girl who gets interned during World War II despite her family being prominent members of Vancouver society.
Grenade by Alan Gratz – This is a gripping story about what happens during war-and the cost of it all.
Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Ali Fadhil and Jennifer Roy
Young Iraqi boys live through the Persian Gulf War under the rule of Saddam Hussein.
A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata
A young Japanese-American girl moves to Hiroshima with her family after the devastating atomic bombing.
Read About Remembrance Day All Year
Don’t save all your reading about Remembrance Day and Canada’s involvement in different wars for your November lesson plans. You can read about these topics all year round. They often connect to social studies and history lessons and by talking about the issues all year, you can stress the importance of learning about these events. War doesn’t just become a topic for Remembrance Day.
Every teacher should have a few books use from year to year for Remembrance Day, but there are new books being published each year, so we’ll always update this list.
Be sure to check with your local librarians. They are always on top of the best books that might be available!
If you’re looking for a shorter activity because you’re crunched for time, you should check out our Remembrance Day Drama Circle. It’s an overview of the importance of Remembrance Day in Canada in simple, easy to read and understand language for upper elementary students. Find it in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store and Brain Ninjas Shop.
You can also get a free copy of our Pastel Poppy Corners Art Lesson by joining our ninja community. We have even more projects in our Resource Library.
Looking for some of our other book lists?
Check out these books for other holidays:
Books for Ramadan
Christmas Books We Love
Books for Holi Festival of Colours
Books for Lunar New Year
Black History Books to Use All Year
Asian Heritage Month
Books for teaching:
Orange Shirt Day Activities (Residential Schools)
Books About Kindness
Books for Social Emotional Learning
Read These Books with Great LGBTQ+ Characters
Books For and About Powerful Women
Books by Indigenous Authors
What are your go-to books for Remembrance Day? Share the titles in the comments below so we can add them to our list.