Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Perfect Book for Veteran's Day
Veteran's Day is exactly 2 months from today, and I'd like to recommend the perfect picture book to share with children that day. America's White Table by Margot Theis Raven was actually recommended to me by a colleague. I read it and loved it!
This book is a perfect tribute to Veterans of all wars. It deals with a tradition I had never heard of before -- setting a little table for one -- the table setting includes a white tablecloth, a lemon slice, grains of salt on a plate, a black napkin, a white candle, a red rose in a vase tied with a red ribbon, an overturned glass, and an empty chair. Each of these parts represents something we need to remember as we think about veterans, POWs, and soldiers who are MIAs.
A family is setting a table in honor of their Uncle John who had served in Vietnam. The fact that it is told in the first person by the little girl in the family, really adds to the effectiveness of the story. As they set the table, she is explaining to us what her mother tells her that each part of the place setting means. Then, interspersed throughout the story, the mother in the story tells a little about Uncle John's experience in Vietnam. It is enough to convey the seriousness of war, but not enough to unduly scare or worry children.
Another effective literary technique the author uses, is so start each page the same way:
"It was just a little white table..."
And, each time after that phrase, it then goes on to explain even more about the table. In addition, the words from "My Country 'Tis of Thee" scroll across every other double-page spread. This enhances the feeling of patriotism this book already has.
Finally, in the back is an author's note that explains more in depth the history of the white table.
I really loved America's White Table! It is a book well-worth sharing with children on Veteran's Day.