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[DiverseKidLit] The Ravages Caused By War As Portrayed In International Picturebooks

Myra here.

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in April is Favorites. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

Thank you SO much to everyone who participated in Monday’s #diversekidlit  Twitter chat! We had a wonderful conversation with a great community. If you weren’t able to join us, you can catch up on all the posts you missed here.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, May 6th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current month is Favorites. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now …

  • Next month’s hops will take place on May 6th and 20th. Leave your ideas for a theme in the comments.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Yash’s review of A Walk on the Tundra, a charming new picture book about the Inuit. The book is also a celebration of Inuit life and of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter. There’s even a study guide for educators!


These three powerfully-crafted picturebooks show in such startling clarity the illnesses and wounds that war creates, most of them leaving permanent scars that simply won’t go away. I am also including international, non-English titles because that is how we truly honour diversity in literature.

fullsizerender-63And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda: The Unforgettable Song About Gallipoli

Words by: Eric Bogle Illustrated by: Bruce Whatley
Published by: Allen & Unwin, 2015
ISBN13: 9781743317051Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me. 

This book is an ode to that pivotal moment in 1915 when Australia sent its young sons to Gallipolli as the “band played ‘Waltzing Matilda.'” Clearly, it was a massacre – kind of like offering your first born son to appease Rumpelstiltskin because he spun straw into gold and saved your life. Except that this is no faery tale.


This book has a distinct Aussie voice that rings out through the pages:

Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head, and when I woke up in my hospital bed and saw what it had done, well, I wished I was dead. Never knew there were worse things than dyin’.


As we explore books that speak of illnesses, disease, depression, bereavement and grief – it struck me that war is the greatest illness of all, damaging not just the physical body but the human spirit. The images in this book are powerful, marked with sparse text. Yet it is not sparing in its horrifying account of how war ravages people inside and out:


And the young people ask, ‘What are they marching for?’ And I ask myself the same question.

14-18: Une Minute De Silence à Nos Arrière-Grands-fullsizerender-76Pères Courageux

Written and Illustrated by: Thierry Dedieu
Published by: Seuil, 2014
ISBN13: 9791023501544Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me. 

I first learned about this book (and Humo below) from Janet Evans’ Challenging and Controversial Picturebooks. This is a wordless book that is prefaced in shaky handwriting with these French words:


As I have mentioned previously, Google Translate was my best friend while I was at the International Youth Library in Munich for my research fellowship last year (very excited to return again this year!!).

True to Gustave’s note to his dearest Adele, there are no words in this picturebook, just heartbreaking images of war and the wickedness it has wrought to not just people, but to everything and anything in its path. Here are a few of these images:



And the nightmare-inducing:


The title actually means: A Moment of Silence to Our Brave Great-Grandfathers. There is also a handwritten letter inside an envelope found at the end of the book:


What it says I shall leave for you to discover.

fullsizerender-68Humo (Smoke)

Written by: Anton Fortes Illustrated by: Joanna Concejo
Published by: OQO Editora, 2008
ISBN: 978-84-9871-059-5Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me. 

I have yet to translate this picturebook, but the images already indicate the “smoke” that is often part of war’s leftovers – in cities, in people’s clothing, in ancient eyes that have seen too much, too soon.


Most of the people seem to be trapped in concentration camps, or huddled together, hiding from soldiers:



Once again, in stark portraits, this powerful picturebook shows how indelible the marks that war often leaves in people’s beings, rendering one shapeless like smoke.


I believe that if we truly wish to explore diversity in literature, we need to open up our bookshelves to more international, non-English titles that show us, for a fragment of a second, just how the world is truly perceived through another’s eyes.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Hosts for April

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

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1 comment on “[DiverseKidLit] The Ravages Caused By War As Portrayed In International Picturebooks

  1. I enjoyed your offering today. I’ve noticed that other international publishers share books that are very realistic that US publishers wouldn’t touch. I particularly liked 14-18 and Smoke. Tough books with pictures that tell the story!


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