Retired Regina teacher Patricia Sinclair is aiming to educate kids about the realities of war though a new children’s book.
Lena’s Story: The D-Day Landings, is Sinclair’s first book. It uses a narrative tale to introduce young readers to the story of the historic and bloody battle when Canadians landed at Juno Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
The D-Day campaign was the largest military invasion by sea the world had ever seen, as thousands of ships and planes delivered 156,000 fighting men into France to break the Nazi stranglehold over Europe.
Sinclair said she framed her book as a narrative story rather than a more direct history because she wanted to make it accessible to younger audiences.
“They are aware of war,” Sinclair told CKOM/CJME’s John Gormley. “They understand war, we prepare for Remembrance Day, and I often wanted to have something in story form for them.”
She said she he had to work to ensure the book was age-appropriate for schoolchildren without glossing over or ignoring the realities of history.
“They watch videos and movies with their older brothers and sisters, so it’s not a foreign topic,” she said. “[The book] doesn’t hide the fact that there are very difficult times and injury and death going on.”
Sinclair said she framed her story around a character – Lena – who is telling the story of D-Day to a young person. She said the technique allowed her to be frank about the realities of what happened while keeping the story from focusing completely on the death and violence which occurred on the beaches.
Children want to know Canada’s military history, Sinclair said, particularly around Remembrance Day. Young people of all ages participate in the ceremonies at school, she said, so she wrote the book hoping to help them appreciate the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers.
“I always sense from my students and talking with them, they want to know what happened,” Sinclair said. “They need something to help them understand.”
Lena’s Story: The D-Day Landings, which features illustrations by Wendi Nordell, is available through publisher DriverWorks Ink and McNally Robinson Booksellers.