Wars Prior to World War I


Holub, Josef. An Innocent Soldier. (AR 4.6)

Brady, Esther W. Toliver’s Secret. (AR 4.7)
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. (AR 5.9)

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Dell Publishing 2003) is the story of Johnny Tremain who lives in Boston. He is a blacksmith’s boy who lost his thumb in an accident while building a glass cup. When the British try to starve out the criminals hiding in Boston, but are not successful, the locals go to war. That’s when the dilemma happens. Johnny must choose: either join the British who are holding Boston or join the locals who want to be left alone. Johnny chooses to be with the locals and fight for their freedom. In the end, Johnny steals a British uniform and sneaks into the British Army where he stays with a doctor until the end of the Civil War. (Caleb in grade eight)

WAR OF 1812
Ibbitson, John. Jeremy’s War: 1812. (AR 4.5)

Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage. (AR 5.4)
Keith, Harold. Rifles for Watie. (AR 6.1)
Lunn, Janet. The Root Cellar. (AR 5.2)
McKay, Sharon E. Charlie Wilcox. (AR 4.1)
Matas, Carol. The War Within. (AR 5.1)

Philbrick, Rodman. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg. The Blue Sky Press, 2009.
This 2010 Newbery Honor Book tells the story of twelve-year-old Homer who runs away from his cruel guardian in Maine to save his brother from getting killed in the American Civil War. Full of humour and courage, this adventurous novel will appeal to readers who enjoy Charles Dickens’s and Mark Twain’s stories. (Adventure and adventurers; Orphans; Brothers; War; Humorous stories; Newbery Medal; Courage)

Richards, David. Soldier Boys. (AR 5.4)


Nielsen, Jennifer A. Words on Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, 2019.
“In 1893 twelve-year-old Audra lives on a farm in Lithuania, and tries to avoid the Cossack soldiers who enforce the Russian decrees that ban Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language; but when the soldiers invade the farm Audra is the only one who escapes and, unsure of what has happened to her parents, she embarks on a dangerous journey, carrying the smuggled Lithuanian books that fuel the growing resistance movement, unsure of who to trust, but risking her life and freedom for her country.” – CIP. A 322-page historical novel highly recommended for readers 11 years old and up.

SOUTH AFRICAN WAR, 1899 – 1902

Kent, Trilby. Stones for My Father. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2011.
Twelve-year-old “Corlie Roux, an Africaner from the Transvaal, copes with many changes after her father dies, war breaks out with the British, and she and the mother who clearly prefers her brothers escape to the bush only to be sent to a concentration camp.” – CIP  Set during the Boer War at the turn of the 19th century, this vivid historical novel – with some swearing – is highly recommended for avid readers in grades 6 and up. The story is much better than the unappealing cover design. [Brothers and sisters; Concentration camps; Historical fiction; Mothers and daughters; South Africa; South African War; Survival]


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