Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: The Vimy Oaks A Journey to Peace
Publish November 6, 2017
Farmer Leslie Miller was a Canadian Signal Corps soldier in WWI, and was at the gruesome Vimy Ridge battle. Miller kept a small notebook in his pocket, and described how the oak trees in Vimy reminded him of the line of Canadian soldiers who died that day. On November 11, 1918, after the armistice was signed, Miller returned to his farm with some oak seeds from Vimy to plant in remembrance of the soldiers who fought. 100 years later, Miller’s oak seeds from Vimy continue to grow. The oaks Miller planted are conserved and used by the Canadian Army to symbolize a new start, signifying that peace is the beginning of rebirth. Miller taught for the rest of his life, educating school children about the war and the aspects of nature for those who were interested.
The OLA Silver Birch Express shortlisted children’s book, The Vimy Oaks portrays real passion and understanding of nature for Canadians. The soldiers, like the oaks, live on in our memories and children. Miller replanted the acorns from Vimy in remembrance. Deines’ illustrations represent the simplicity and beauty of a poppy, an oak tree, plants of nature, illustrating love, grace and protection. In the acorn seeds from Vimy, Miller “held hope and rebirth in the palm of his hand.”
Seumas Hetherington is a bilingual reviewer of children’s ‘books for boys’, graphic novels, comics, and mixed media stories. He is a snowboarder in South-western Ontario and a self-proclaimed ‘science geek’. Hetherington is a male writing voice who joins us from le Conseil Scolaire Providence.
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