“N is for Never Forget” was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an impartial book review. All opinions are my own.
War is a tough topic to explain to children. The human cost of war is even harder to understand. “N is for Never Forget,” a new book by Nancy Polette, helps families and teachers to tackle these challenging concepts in a kid-friendly format.
“N is for Never Forget” perfect for young historians
I love history. In fact, I devoured any book I could get my hands on as a child, but especially books about World War II and military history. It’s perhaps fitting that I now find myself living the military life with my own spouse and children!
As a child, it was hard to find age-appropriate books that provided the information I wanted without being too juvenile or too graphic. It was hard to find “sweet spot” books that treated young readers respectfully, while also keeping distressing details out of the story. This is one of the things I look for even now when reading history books aimed at adults.
“N is for Never Forget” successfully treads this line carefully. Polette hasn’t shied away from the tough stuff, honestly sharing that service members died, were tortured, or starved while captured by the enemy. However, her treatment of it is fair and sensitive. There are no graphic details, just facts.
It can be tempting to get caught up in the facts, especially with history books. However, many children respond better to history when it’s told like a story, with relatable characters and events. Throughout this book, real POW/MIA stories and experiences are shared. Having real people intertwined with the bigger topics helps to make everything more personal. It grounds the story and provides a dose of humanity.
“N is for Never Forget” focuses on honoring service
The overarching themes of this book center on service and sacrifice for one’s country. It breaks down the larger concept of missing and prisoner of war into 26 mini-lessons. Each letter provides another section of the big picture.
This book is perfect to read aloud to a class or with children to honor the selfless service of our military troops, especially those who are MIA, were POWs, or have made the ultimate sacrifice. “N is for Never Forget” lends itself to discussions about Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and POW-MIA Recognition Day.
While this is an ABC book at face value, it is not aimed at very young or early readers. The topics discussed are serious and require thoughtful reading. Children in younger grades would benefit from a slow, steady reading with a trusted adult. Older children can read this independently to help understand large military and MIA/POW connected topics. It would serve as a great jumping off point for a larger middle or high school research topic.
For budding history buffs, teachers, and parents, “N is for Never Forget” is a book that should find it’s way to a bookshelf near you!
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