Books about the First World War

This coming Sunday, 11th November, marks the First World War centenary: 100 years since the end of the Great War. To commemorate the occasion, we’ve shared a few recommendations of titles you could share with your young people to facilitate discussion about the Armistice.

All of the listed titles are available to borrow from us- just get in touch.


  • Norfolk Goes to War by Neil R. Storey

Described as ‘the dramatic story of the county in the First World War’ this book for adults contains a fascinating amount of detail about the effects of the war on both civilians and those fighting away. Norfolk dealt with spies, a great many new airfields, the fear of invasion, sea bombardments, as well as the very first air raids. There are plenty of photographs to accompany the text, and this book would be a splendid accompaniment to the current Armistice exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum.

(Halsgrove, £19.99 hardback, ISBN 9780857042354, find it at a Norfolk Library)

  • A Song for Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan by Hilary Robinson, illustrated by Martin Impey

This pair have also created the ‘Poppies’ series of four rhyming picture books about the effects of the First World War on a rural community. This book, about the real life staff at Heligan Gardens, is for a slightly older age group, and the story is told as a series of letters between a (fictional) boy and a serving soldier. Heartbreaking but beautiful too, it’s a story which can no doubt be echoed hundreds of times over around the country, and indeed the world.

(Strauss House, £14.99 hardback, ISBN 9780957124530)

  • The Great War Anthology- various authors, illustrated by Jim Kay

This is an anthology of eleven stories each by a different author, and inspired by eleven different objects from the First World War. The contributors are top authors such as David Almond and Marcus Sedgwick, and the stories are strikingly illustrated in a grainy black and white by Jim Kay.

(Walker Books, £9.99 paperback, ISBN 9781406370713)

  • The Story of the First World War for Children by John Malam

Published ‘in association with Imperial War Museums’ this is just one of many books which have been produced for young people to commemorate the hundred years’ anniversary. It provides a clear overview, including the immediate causes, with plenty of detail while also being packed full of photographs. Each double page takes a different aspect of the war, in stand-alone paragraph chunks, but the book does not feel disjointed.

(Carlton Books, £9.99 paperback, ISBN 9781783123520)

Don’t forget: you can find our archive of other recommended reads just here.


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