Friday, December 5, 2014

PPBF: Christmas in the Trenches

Since this is the Christmas season, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a book I happened to come across in our local children's library. I was made aware of this historic event years ago, while I was home educating our two children. It reflects the well-known Scripture verse, ”Peace on Earth, and Good Will to Men." This is exactly why Jesus came over 2,000 years ago!

Author/lyricist: John McCutcheon
Illustrator: Henri Sørensen
Publisher: Peachtree
Date: 2006

Genre: Historic Fiction
Ages: 7-12 (and beyond)
Themes: Christmas, World War I, peacemakers

First Lines: ". . .young Thomas Tolliver curled up next to his grandfather and announced, "Grandpa, this was my very favorite Christmas. Do you have a favorite Christmas?" 
"Yes, Thomas, I do," said Grandpa Francis. "I was far away from our home here in Liverpool. It was a Christmas many years ago during the first winter of the Great War."

Jacket Flap: "The only thing separating the two armies on that cold December night in 1914 was a barren stretch of muddy ground called No Man's Land. It was in this setting that the miracle began.
     A faint sound of singing cut through the frosty air.
                   Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht. . .
     Then other voices joined in.
                   Silent night, holy night."

Why I Like This Book: This is such a touching account of a brief but meaningful break in an awful war that took so many lives. I love the connection (mine) between Christmas and Jesus the "Prince of Peace" and the peace, even for an hour or two, brought to the German and English troops facing each other on the battlefield. And here is a surprising extra "perk": the author, also a folk singer, has written a song about the account, and it's included in s CD with the book, along with a reading of the story.
     In the back matter, the author's note shares the reason for the story and song, along with a historical note about the actual event. I love the eyewitness accounts in diary/letter form found there as well.

Review of the book, and a video of the author singing the song he wrote about the event, HERE

The author's list of PROGRAMS to promote non-violence, conflict resolution and peacemaking.

Here is a site for CHRISTMAS IN THE TRENCHES with extra info relating to the book and contributors.

BBC version with vintage posters!

Ideas to promote peacemaking for parents and teachers from "Focus on the Family."

Author tells the touching tale of the actual men to whom this happened. . .they came to his concert! Gave me goose-bumps.

Hope you enjoyed today's offering for Perfect Picture Book Fridays, when we review picture books which we deem worthy of mention.  This concept was created by Susanna Hill, and is a helpful resource for librarians, teachers and parents.  For a list of all books reviewed so far, along with activities to complement them, click here.


  1. Oh my, this is a very powerful book, especially since it is based on a true story. They set aside their differences for one night and recognized their humanity. Enjoyed the video. I want this book.

    1. I'm so glad you discovered it, Pat! it is an amazing story. . .

  2. I love the movie based on this story too!

    1. Julie, what was the name of the movie? I'd love to see it!

  3. I'll have to look for this one at my library. Peachtree Books are simply marvelous!

  4. Wow! What a powerful story! Thanks for sharing this one!!

  5. One of my favorite songs! I love the story of the day the war stood still.

    1. Yes, Sue, its a poignant and meaningful pause in history. I like that . . . "the day the war stood still!"

  6. Very intriguing. I just read something like this in a devotion today from Wisdom Hunters. I had never heard of it and was going to write the idea down. So it's already been written for kids. Great! (I'll scratch it off my list).

    1. Maybe you can write it from a different angle, Tina. It is a great story!


I would love to have you comment...thanks!

Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel