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Children's Fiction Military & Wars

Innocent Heroes

Stories of animals in the First World War

by (author) Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher
Tundra
Initial publish date
Feb 2017
Category
Military & Wars, General, Native Canadian
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781101918463
    Publish Date
    Feb 2017
    List Price
    $21.99
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780735267978
    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
    $12.99

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it

Description

A unique celebration of the important role animals play in war, and an insightful look at the taking of Vimy Ridge from the perspective of 3 men in a Canadian platoon.

Never before have the stories of animal war heroes been collected in such a special way. This book consists of eight connected fictional stories about a Canadian platoon in WW1. The Storming Normans have help from some very memorable animals: we meet a dog who warns soldiers in the trench of a gas attack, a donkey whose stubbornness saves the day, a cat who saves soldiers from rat bites, and many more. Each story is followed by nonfiction sections that tell the true story of these animals from around the world and of the Canadian soldiers who took Vimy Ridge. Through the friendship that grows between three of these soldiers in particular, we get a close-up look at life in the trenches, the taking of Vimy Ridge, the bonds between soldiers and their animals and what it meant to be Canadian in WW1.

About the author

With close to three million books in print, Sigmund Brouwer writes for both children and adults. In the last ten years, he has given writing workshops to students in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. One of his latest novels, The Last Disciple, earned Sigmund an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America. Sigmund and his family live half the year in Nashville, Tennessee, and half the year in Red Deer, Alberta.

The Talk:
Reach For Your Dreams
It doesn't matter where you come from, it's where you decide to go in life that is important. Sigmund Brouwer encourages students to reach for their dreams, giving them fun and practical advice for the reading and writing skills that are the foundation of future success.

The Presentation:
Sigmund's presentations are an hour of high-level energy. He especially reaches out to reluctant readers and gears the talk to engage their attention. Audience size varies; often his presentations take place in the gym for the entire school, including kindergarten. (After the first half hour, the K-2 grades are dismissed, and the remainder of the presentation is focused on the older students.) There are no restrictions on audience size except for the space limitations of the gym. Smaller schools are welcome to invite another school to share in the cost of the presentation.

Booking:
For presentations that involve travel, Sigmund appreciates it if two or three schools in the area make bookings on the same day. For more information on booking, fees and expenses, please email Sigmund: rockandrollliteracy@me.com

 

Sigmund Brouwer's profile page

Awards

  • Nominated, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Nominated, Red Cedar Book Award

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR Innocent Heroes:

"Brouwer uses the assault on Vimy Ridge during World War I to highlight the bravery of both Canadian troops and the animals that served . . . a worthy introduction to the Great War." --Kirkus Reviews

"[A]n exploration of the bonds between soldiers and beasts, coupled with an introduction to Indigenous issues for young readers." --CM Magazine
"Don't miss this one." --Manhattan Book Review

"In the days before technology as we know it now, [animals] proved an essential ingredient to save human lives. A mix of fictional stories followed by a short biography of the real animal that served this is a great alternative to a straight textbook presentation of what the conditions were like during World War I." --Recreational Scholar

"These stories [are] a revelation about how the world and wars worked before the advent of high-tech communications. Suddenly, history becomes gripping stuff, as if the horrors of cold, loud, damp, muddy trench warfare wasn’t gripping enough on their own. It’s about the triumph of the human spirit, and animals." --Montreal Gazette
"The book is a winning combination of fact and fiction . . ." --Quill & Quire
"In one relatively short book, Brouwer [. . .] entertains, educates, and touches the emotions." --Historical Novel Society
PRAISE FOR Thief of Glory:
"War. Love at first sight. Rivalry. Human nature. Art. Brouwer (Broken Angel) weaves timeless themes into the story of a 70-year journey toward redemption . . . Thorough historical research, skillful use of foreshadowing, and keen insight into the human spirit make this one of Brouwer's best." --Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

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