The heirloom silver spoon that stopped a bullet, a kind woman who saved the enemy and found a husband, hiding from Germans in North Carolina, a beach full of oranges—these are some of the stories found in Echoes From World War II, the latest in The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration of books. Each year, Connie McIntyre and Fran Hamilton collect stories from around the world written by kids that capture moments in the time of their parents and grandparents’ lives. History, culture, laughter, tragedy, and inspiration are in the pages of these stories told in the honest, unaffected voices of the young. I’ve enjoyed a few of the Grannie Annie books, but this one is my favorite so far.
The stories in Echoes From World War II were featured in earlier Grannie Annie volumes, but Connie and Fran pulled them together as a special edition to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of The Grannie Annie. WWII has been a common theme since most of the kids’ grandparents or great-grandparents have lived through it. The stories tell of challenges and danger, lives saved and lost, lives re-gathered to go forward into a brave new future, and all from different perspectives and different countries. This is a learning experience for adults as well as kids. I think every classroom library should have an anthology or two of The Grannie Annie to encourage and empower the kids to write, but especially this one because it also teaches history. History is easy to remember when it is a story told on such a personal level. Stories make an impression.
Deadline for the round of stories for the next anthology of The Grannie Annie is February 1, 2016. Any interesting story, no special theme. Kids in grades 4-8 or homeschooled or international kids ages 9-14 can submit stories and even illustrations. Teachers can submit for their students. There is no cost! The story has to have happened before the child was born. See The Grannie Annie website for more information. During this holiday season when families gather together, think about asking the grandparents, great aunts and uncles, or elder friends to tell a few stories—real ones, not fairy tales. Maybe YOU will be the one telling stories. Let the family bonds strengthen!