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chaliepud

War stories for 11 yr old...

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Hi, my son is very into the whole war thing, playing Call of Duty on the PS3 with his Dad etc. Whilst I try and balance this with talking to him about what war is really about and encouraging him to watch documentaries he is desperate to read Chris Ryan style books. I have read the blurb on a couple of them and it worries me that they glorify war a little too much and also contain sex scenes that are definitely not appropriate to his age.

Does anyone know of any more appropriate books that he could read, that are still exciting , but are a little more realistic?

Any help is very much appreciated - he is a good reader but can be a bit reluctant at times unless he has something that really grabs him...

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You might want to try the book "Winter in Wartime" (I think that's what the translation is called) by a Dutch writer Jan Terlouw. Dutch title is "Oorlogswinter" and it's about the second world war, it's been made into a film recently. It's down to earth and in no way glorifies war of violence.

Don't know much beyond that, I generally didn't read such books as a kid. :)

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I read war books as a kid but I think most were based around the kids, so evacuees mainly, which isn't really what you're after. The nearest I can think of is The Shouting Wind by Linda Newberry, but it may be too old for him, and has a lot of romance stuff he might not appreciate. I'll think on it.

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I remember The Machine Gunners from when I was a kid, and there are the Alistair MacLean novels (Where Eagles Dare, The Guns of Navarone etc), but if he is interested in reading Chris Ryan novels I suspect World War II novels might seem a bit dated.

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I think the poetry of Wilfred Owen introduces a far more realistic and poignant sense of war for people, it has a lot to say and some is quite simple in it's method. I know you are searching for more expansive tales, but it would be a fine place for some gentler reading.

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I think the poetry of Wilfred Owen introduces a far more realistic and poignant sense of war for people, it has a lot to say and some is quite simple in it's method. I know you are searching for more expansive tales, but it would be a fine place for some gentler reading.

Or All quite on the western front by Erich Maria Remarque. I read it when I was 12 and it made a lasting impression on me.

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How about Hitler's Canary by Sandi Toksvig? It's wonderful and is aimed at the youth market so you needn't worry about the content being age-appropriate.

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On a more playstation mode, there are the books of Sven Hassel but he might be a bit young for that.

 

Think they are more for 14 year olds than 11, although they do depict war as brutal and in no way glamorous

Hassel's view of war is brutal. In his books, soldiers fight only to survive, the Geneva Convention being a dead letter to all sides. People are killed by chance or with very little reason. Occasional pleasant events and peaceful meetings are brutally cut short. Unsympathetic Prussian officers constantly threaten their men with courts-martial and execute them with little provocation. Disgruntled soldiers occasionally kill their own officers to get rid of them. By graphically portraying war as violent and hopeless in such manner, Sven Hassel's books have been said to contain an anti-war message. His first book Legion of the Damned has been compared to a much grislier, darker more terrifying version of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front.

 

Even though Hassel's books are not taken seriously by historians or military professionals, some of their background material appears to be derived from authentic accounts

Edited by Vladd

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Thanks everybody, have been away for a few days and was surprised to see so many replies on my return. I will get on to Amazon tonight to look them all up, thanks again!

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Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo might be of interest, fiction, aimed at teenage read for him but my eldest enjoyed it.

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Yes, I was going to say Michael Morpurgo ... I think 'The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips' is set during WWII and 'War Horse' during WWI.

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It can be quite difficult to find the right books for kids, what do you guys think are worth getting for my kids? they're a bit younger then 11 and i want to get them into reading!

Edited by arewenearlythere

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John Marsden is an Australian author who has written a series of 7 novels starting with Tomorrow, When the War Began.

It's about some teenagers that are camping when Australia is invaded. When they try to come home and realise their town has been invaded they embark on a series of guerilla attacks against the enemy.

 

This is a really well known series in Australia and New Zealand. Totally appropriate for the younger teenager. If your 11 year old is a good reader he would probably enjoy them.

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I remember reading Z for Zachariah years ago probably a little old for 11 year old but for teenagers its fine, about a girl who survives a nuclear war, told in a diary format.

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I read a book in the early years of secondary school called Brother in the Land about nuclear war. I still remember it clearly now it affected so much.

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John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas comes to mind, it was an excellent read, but I can't really remember if it's appropriate for 11 year olds, does anyone else remember if it's a suitable read?

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Hi, my son is very into the whole war thing, playing Call of Duty on the PS3 with his Dad etc. Whilst I try and balance this with talking to him about what war is really about and encouraging him to watch documentaries he is desperate to read Chris Ryan style books. I have read the blurb on a couple of them and it worries me that they glorify war a little too much and also contain sex scenes that are definitely not appropriate to his age.

Does anyone know of any more appropriate books that he could read, that are still exciting , but are a little more realistic?

Any help is very much appreciated - he is a good reader but can be a bit reluctant at times unless he has something that really grabs him...

 

My daughter read the Micheal Morpugo books which are set in WWII (I think the titles have already been mentioned) I had a skim through these and they were just right. I went through this same "army barmy"stage at 11, I was obsessed with war stuff and kept drawing pictures of people being blown up and squashed by tanks. I grew out of it. I would not recommend the Sven Hassel books though. One I did read at that age which was a true story and affected me greatly (it's message is anti-war) is The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer, if you can find it. He was a young man of mixed French/German parentage who fought on the German side on the Russian Front. I recommend this highly. In fact I might try to get it for my 11 year old.

 

edit: I just ordered the Guy Sajer book from Amazon

Here are a couple of reviews:

 

"I am able to review this early as I have unearthed an old edition. This book quite literally lives with you from the moment you open it, to the moment you finish...and then a bit longer. The story of a half-french, 17 year-old from Alsace takes you from his misguided decision to volunteer for military service, with the Nazi-German army, through the bloodiest, most ruthless and savage campaigns of the Eastern-Front. The sheer brutality, wretchedness and loss of reasonable hope is bewildering. The close knit team that develops and the esprit de corps of the Grosse Deutschland Division is inspirational. The gore and carnage they endure and inflict is awe inspiring. Such is the fierce reality of the writing, the images of battle and of frozen death, that I ended up having to keep reading until Guy Sajer (this is autobiographical) was in relative safety and comfort. I could not "leave him". Read it, you will then know what I mean. Whatever political persuasion you belive in or stand for, no 17 year old should be made to endure this. I cannot recommend a book more highly. Forget Blitzkrieg, this is Blitz-education. It batters your senses. Thank God my 5 years in the Army never came to this."

 

"This is truly a superb book, far surpassing anything in print today. The author (Guy Sajer) portrays the hopes and fears of the average soldier of the German Wehrmacht during the most epic and hostile conflict in human history. Unfortunately our soldier joins the struggle during mid-1942, the turning point of the war. As the vision of victory slowly subsides into the realisation of defeat, the author’s interpretation of modern warfare as desensitisation separates him from the sufferings of others. The comradeship of his unit and the immense acts of bravery by fellow soldiers offer a truly inspiring scene. This piece of literature gives a clear insight into the mind of those who continued to fight regardless of knowledge that the war was already lost. The account of the battle of Memel is horrifically illustrative. For anyone with the slightest interest in the war on the Eastern Front, read this book. "

Edited by vodkafan

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Thanks alot Vodka Fan! seems like people are suggesting alot of nuclear holocaust/war books, I personally really like those types of books but it may be a bit heavy for the kids, but i'm having a look at them now Pickle and Cookie, thanks for the suggestions!

 

I've actually read 'tommorow when the world began' and all the other books in the series, fantastic books, i may wait a year or two before i introduce them to those books, but a great choice! i almost forgot about how great they were.

 

I actually read a book when i was younger called 'I am David' a teacher gave it to me when i was younger and didnt like reading, changed my life. Have you guys had the same experiance with any books

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John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas comes to mind, it was an excellent read, but I can't really remember if it's appropriate for 11 year olds, does anyone else remember if it's a suitable read?

 

Oh why didn't I think of that. I would have thought it would be ok for 11 year olds

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Thanks everyone, some of those suggestions are fab, have ordered some from the library and some from Amazon for his birthday next week, thank you!!!!

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I remember The Machine Gunners from when I was a kid.

 

That's the first book that came into my head when i saw the thread. We read it at school & although i can't remember that much about it now(such a long time ago lol ) I do remember really liking it.

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I read a book in the early years of secondary school called Brother in the Land about nuclear war. I still remember it clearly now it affected so much.

 

This one was what came to mind for me. It's by Robert Swindells.

 

Can I just voice my objections to Boy in the Striped Pyjamas? I know it's been very popular, but I and a lot of other scholars have major problems with it: in that it excuses not knowing anything about your place or politics, and that

it serves a very nasty revenge, in killing the boy for the father's evils.

I had already read, and hated, the book, when we had a guest speaker in at the start of my MA. Her PhD was on Holocaust literature and she said there's huge international pressure to get the book removed from school booklists. At a conference she'd been to, a Holocaust survivor talked about the importance of literature on the subject, and tore Boy in the Striped Pyjamas to shreds.

 

I was interested in the world wars as a kid, and would recommend almost anything by Michelle Magorian, especially Goodnight, Mr Tom and Back Home. Robert Westall's books have been mentioned, Machine Gunners is particularly good. I enjoyed I am David as a child, too, although I can't remember what about it stood out.

 

I think my standout recommendation has already been mentioned: Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful.

Edited by Chrissy
Added spoiler cover.

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