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.
A sweet book that centers on how two children, Grace and William, feel being so far from home and all they know. This story will be great for Remembrance Day, especially for younger grades where stories of war may be to dark for some. I can also see this as being a good book for anyone who is in a new place or situation and unsure of what lies ahead. Beautifully illustrated and gently told, Bear on the Homefront is a new favorite.
Check out Teddy's first adventures in WW1.
Teddy belonged to ten-year-old Aileen Rogers, whose father Lawrence left Aileen, her little brother Howard, and his wife Janet home on the family farm in Quebec when he went to war. Janet and Lawrence exchanged more than 200 letters during his service. Aileen and Howard also wrote their dad -- and Aileen sent her beloved Teddy overseas to help protect him. Sadly, Lawrence died at the battle of Passchendaele. In 2002, his granddaughter Roberta Innes found Teddy and the letters in an old family briefcase. Her findings uncovered how a Canadian family's strength was tested by war and how a small stuffed bear became an enduring memento of their love.