Novels for Remembrance

(Photo Credit: The National War Memorial at night in Ottawa, Ontario, was captured by my talented friend and photographer, Celeste Odono!)

(A version of this article first appeared in Kingston Neighbours magazine, November, 2021.)

Remembrance Day is a somber event across Canada, especially in military communities. While November 11th provides a necessary and meaningful opportunity to reflect on the devastating human cost of our vigilant pursuit of peace and freedom, it can be hard to find age-appropriate resources to help our older kids understand its importance.

This is why well-researched historical fiction for youth is a go-to for me; novels can provide an immersive yet safe experience in which older kids and teens can explore the difficult issues of war. Fortunately, there are some great historical fiction novels for young adults that span Canada’s 250+ years of military history. 

18th and 19th Century

Some of the best pre- and post-confederation Canadian historical fiction novels for youth are part of 2 different Scholastic book series: I Am Canada and Dear Canada

Seven Years’ War (1756 – 1763)

War of 1812 (1812 – 1815)

Red River and Northwest Resistances (1869 – 1870, 1885)

WW1, 1914 – 1918

In addition to the Scholastic series, there are many historical fiction books for youth about WWI that you should check out, including these by well-known Canadian authors:

WW2, 1939 – 1945

There are literally thousands of novels written about WWII and the Holocaust for youth, with more being published every year. Here are some of the most recent to consider:

Korean War, 1950 – 1953

While there are few books for youth about the Korean War, often called the Forgotten War for a reason, here are a couple: 

Modern Day Peace Support Operations, 1954 – present

These books for older kids and teens will help them better understand more recent conflicts in the late-20th and early 21st century in which Canada has performed peacekeeping roles:

The Balkans, 1991 – 2004 

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War and Survival, Amra Sabic-El-Rayess (2020)

Somalia, 1992 – 1994

Rwanda, 1993 – 1996

Afghanistan, 2001 – 2014

Remembrance begins with understanding and empathy. Fictional accounts of historical events can help youth develop both. And with that awareness, perhaps future generations will be better equipped to prevent wars and atrocities from occurring. Lest we forget.

Historical Source:

National Defence. “Canadian Military History.” Canada.ca, https://www.canada.ca/en/services/defence/caf/militaryhistory.html.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: