Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Year of Borrowed Men, by Michelle Barker; illustrated by Renne Benoit

A Year of Borrowed Men is a picture book told through the eyes of a child and based on a true WWII story (set in 1944) about a German farm family given three “borrowed” French POWs, by Nazi order, to help with the big farm.

In 19 pages, we see the little girl struggle to understand war and peace and why she cannot be friends with the “borrowed men.” We see her come close to losing her mother after her mother allowed the French POWs to eat dinner at the family table one time and was reported by watchful neighbors.

 The author cleverly drives home themes of fragility and universality with French and German vocabulary, such as eine Puppe/une poupee (a doll); Freunde/Feinde (friends/enemies).

This is an excellent war-and-peace read-aloud for older grades - one that could prompt good discussion.

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