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Soldiers: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about soldiers?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to soldiers. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about soldiers.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about soldiers, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery to popular sellers like Ignite Me (Bound for Schools & Libraries) to some of our favorite hidden gems like Finding Winnie.

We hope this list of kids books about soldiers can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Finding Winnie
Written by Lindsay Mattick & illustrated by Sophie Blackall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie. In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war. Harry Colebourn’s real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey–from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England… And finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin. Here is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

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Navajo Code Talkers
Written by Blake Hoena
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14

During World War II U.S. forces had to keep battle plans and other top secret information out of the enemy’s hands. Coded messages were often used, but secret codes could be broken. To solve this problem, the U.S. military turned to an unexpected source to create an unbreakable code. The Navajo people spoke a complex language that few outsiders knew how to speak. Several Navajo soldiers were recruited to develop a code based on the Navajo language. The result was a complex code that could not be solved by the enemy. Learn all about the brave Navajo Code Talkers and how their unbreakable code helped defeat the enemy and win the war.

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Remembrance: A Tribute to America's Veterans
chapter book
Recommend Ages: -
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Tucky Jo and Little Heart
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Friendship, loyalty, and kindness stand the test of time in this heartwarming World War II-era picture book based on a true story from the beloved author-illustrator of <i>Pink and Say </i>and <i>The Keeping Quilt</i>. <p/>Tucky Jo was known as the “kid from Kentucky” when he enlisted in the army at age fifteen. Being the youngest recruit in the Pacific during World War II was tough. But he finds a friend in a little girl who helps him soothe his bug bites, and he gets to know her family and gives them some of his rations. Although the little girl doesn’t speak English, Tucky Jo and Little Heart share the language of kindness. Many years later, Tucky Jo and Little Heart meet again, and an act of kindness is returned when it’s needed the most in this touching picture book based on a true story.

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Warriors: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #31: Warriors in Winter
Written by Natalie Pope Boyce and Mary Pope Osborne & illustrated by Isidre Mones
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Track the facts about warriors, weapons, and battles throughout history in this nonfiction companion to the #1 bestselling Magic Tree House series!

When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #31: Warriors in Winter, they had lots of questions. What kinds of weapons did the ancient Greeks use? How did Roman soldiers fight? Why did knights have tournaments? Who was famous for his war elephants? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about ancient warriors.

Filled with up-to-date information, photographs, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, the Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discover in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures.

Did you know that there’s a Magic Tree House book for every kid?
Magic Tree House: Adventures with Jack and Annie, perfect for readers who are just beginning chapter books
Merlin Missions: More challenging adventures for the experienced reader
Fact Trackers: Nonfiction companions to your favorite Magic Tree House adventures

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  • Night Catch - Not ball as usual in the park, but something special after dark. When a soldier’s work takes him half-way around the world, he enlists the help of the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son. Night Catch is a timeless story that connects families while they are apart and offers comforting hope for their reunion.

  • Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace - In May of 1942, at the age of eighteen, Ashley Bryan was drafted to fight in World War II. For the next three years, he would face the horrors of war as a black soldier in a segregated army. He endured the terrible lies white officers told about the black soldiers to isolate them from anyone who showed kindness—including each other. He received worse treatment than even Nazi POWs. He was assigned the grimmest, most horrific tasks, like burying fallen soldiers…but was told to remove the black soldiers first because the media didn’t want them in their newsreels. And he waited and wanted so desperately to go home, watching every white soldier get safe passage back to the United States before black soldiers were even a thought. For the next forty years, Ashley would keep his time in the war a secret. But now, he tells his story. The story of the kind people who supported him. The story of the bright moments that guided him through the dark. And the story of his passion for art that would save him time and time again. Filled with never-before-seen artwork and handwritten letters and diary entries, this illuminating and moving memoir by Newbery Honor–winning illustrator Ashley Bryan is both a lesson in history and a testament to hope.

  • Ignite Me (Bound for Schools & Libraries) -

    The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love."

    With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn't know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won't keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that's not all he wants with her.

    The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

  • Allies - A New York Times bestseller! Alan Gratz, bestselling author of Refugee, weaves a stunning array of voices and stories into an epic tale of teamwork in the face of tyranny -- and how just one day can change the world.

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Gorilla Dawn
Written & illustrated by Gill Lewis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

“It is time, Imara. Imara left the shadows and stepped into the pool of moonlight, listening to the demon as he paced inside her mind. It is time, Imara. The men are waiting for you. They are waiting for your power to protect them. She knelt down and poured the contents of her water bottle into the ashes of last night’s fire, stirring with her fingers, working the mixture into a gritty paste. All around her, the forest was dark and still, wrapped in silence. Nothing moved. High above in the canopy, a pale mist clung to the leaves. Thin tendrils of vapor hung in the air, as if the trees were holding their breath, waiting for the dawn. The Black Mamba and his men were folded into the deep moon-shadows. Only the cold light catching the metal of their rifles told they were not of this place. Come on, Imara, hissed the demon. They’re watching you. Imara’s hands hovered over the ash paste and trembled. Stupid girl. Don’t show your fear. You know what they’ll do if they see your fear. Imara breathed in deeply, filling her lungs with the cool night air. She tried to block her mind from the purpose of her task. She hummed softly, trying to ignore the demon and scooped the ash paste into her hand. Hurry, Imara. They want to see their spirit child.”

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The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody
Written by Matthew Landis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Twelve-year-old Oliver Prichard is obsessed with the Civil War. He knows everything about it: the battles, the generals, every movement of the Union and Confederate Armies. So when the last assignment of seventh-grade history is a project on the Civil War, Oliver is over the moon–until he’s partnered with Ella Berry, the slacker girl with the messy hair who does nothing but stare out the window. And when Oliver finds out they have to research a random soldier named Private Raymond Stone who didn’t even fight in any battles before dying of some boring disease, Oliver knows he’s doomed. But Ella turns out to be very different from what Oliver expected. As the partners film their documentary about Private Stone–with Oliver’s friend Kevin signing on as their head writing consultant–Oliver discovers that sometimes the most interesting things are hiding in uninteresting places. Even Private Stone is better than expected: There’s a mystery buried in his past, and Oliver knows he can figure it out.

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One Dead Spy: A Revolutionary War Tale
Written by Nathan Hale
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Meet America's first spy Nathan Hale in this installment of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel series!
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Forge
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

For many readers, <i>Forge</i> “will be one of the best novels they have ever read” (starred review from <i>Kirkus Reviews</i>) </b> <p/>Blistering winds. Bitter cold. And the hope of a new future. In this compelling sequel to <i>Chains</i>, a National Bo

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Warriors in Winter
Written by Mary Pope Osborne & illustrated by A.G. Ford
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Travel back in time in the magic tree house with Jack and Annie in this #1 bestselling series and meet the greatest warriors of all–the Romans!

We are warriors! Jack and Annie have met knights, pirates, ninjas, and Vikings, but they have never met the most fearsome warriors of all: Roman soldiers. When the magic tree house whisks them back to the early 100s AD, Jack and Annie find themselves in a Roman camp. Their mission: Be like a warrior. That is easier said than done! The Roman soldiers are much scarier in person–and suspicious of strangers. Then a mysterious man riding a black horse gives Jack and Annie some advice to help them on their mission. But the man may not be who he seems. Will Jack and Annie be good warriors? Can they learn what makes the Roman soldiers so great? And who is the mysterious rider . . . ?

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  • Lost Boys - Based on historical events, this unforgettable and inspiring tale for middle-grade readers is about a young boy torn from the only life he’s ever known and held captive as a prisoner of war. In 1982, twelve-year-old Reza has no interest in joining Iran’s war effort. But in the wake of a tragedy and at his mother’s urging, he decides to enlist, assured by the authorities that he will achieve paradise should he die in service to his country. War does not bring the glory the boys of Iran have been promised, and Reza soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence—they act upon it. Will Reza make it out alive? And if he does, will he even have a home to return to? In this unforgettable tale of friendship and survival against the odds, Reza finds solace through music and forges his own path, wherever that might take him. Lost Boys is a stunning debut from Darcey Rosenblatt. It is perfect for readers interested in current events, history, and the Middle East. Praise for Lost Boys: “In Rosenblatt’s ambitious debut novel, Reza, a 12-year-old Iranian boy, clings to friendship and his love of music as the Iran-Iraq War tears his world apart. . . . Reza’s story is compelling . . . .” —Kirkus Reviews “This hard-hitting first novel opens in Iran in 1982 during the Ayatollah Khomeini’s oppressive rule and that nation’s war with Iraq. . . . The larger political context becomes personal when a devastating public rejection of Reza and his fellow survivors by Iran leaves the boys without a country. . . . [T]he resilience of Rosenblatt’s protagonist strikes a strong chord.” —Publishers Weekly

  • Like a Shooting Star - Award-winning filmmaker and author of The Boy Who Loved the Moon. Rino Alaimo returns with an endearing tale about courage and love. When a young boy’s father doesn’t return from the war, the lonely boy wishes upon a shooting star–one that turns out to be a little firefly who, try as she might, just can’t fly. Touched by the boy’s earnest wish, the firefly undertakes a courageous journey to bring the boy’s father home. Hope, love, and the courage of an unlikely hero fill the pages of this stunningly illustrated picture book.

  • Tool of War - This third book in a major series by a bestselling science fiction author, Printz Award winner, and National Book Award finalist is the gripping story of the most provocative character from his acclaimed novels Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities. Tool, a half-man/half-beast designed for combat, is capable of so much more than his creators had ever dreamed. He has gone rogue from his pack of bioengineered “augments” and emerged a victorious leader of a pack of human soldier boys. But he is hunted relentlessly by someone determined to destroy him, who knows an alarming secret: Tool has found the way to resist his genetically ingrained impulses of submission and loyalty toward his masters… The time is coming when Tool will embark on an all-out war against those who have enslaved him. From one of science fiction’s undisputed masters comes a riveting page-turner that pulls no punches. “Suzanne Collins may have put dystopian literature on the YA map with ‘The Hunger Games’…but Bacigalupi is one of the genre’s masters, employing inventively terrifying details in equally imaginative story lines.” –Los Angeles Times

  • Daddy's Boots - This award-winning deployment book for kids is a favorite of all major military branches: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves in military books and best deployment books for children.The illustrator has masterfully drawn the lovable and relatable characters to be racially non-specific; Bean is non-gender specific, as well. It’s Boot’s task to take Daddy where he’s needed, but it’s Daddy’s job to explain why.In only 37 pages, the author provides a valuable tool for caregivers to explain to service members’ children why their daddy leaves, what he does, and how he helps others while he’s away. As it would be impossible to explain every job, rank, and branch specific name for every object and service member, the author succeeds in covering the essentials in a generic and loving way. Daddy is a soldier. Boots are preparing to take him away. If Bean can hide Boots, will Daddy be able to stay? Daddy explains the many jobs he’s called to do, and how his work isn’t that much different than the work other daddies do.Being deployed is a fact of life for soldiers of all military branches. Humanitarian efforts, operations other than war (OOW), peaceful or wartime missions - a soldier’s duty is to be there. Sometimes it means leaving little ones behind wondering why.Daddy’s Boots is a loving description of a few quiet moments between a father and his child, as Daddy prepares to deploy for his job with the military.This charming picture book written by the award-winning author, Sandra Miller Linhart, and illustrated by the accomplished artist, Tahna Desmond Fox opens up a dialogue between the military child and his or her dad, and makes military deployments a more positive event.Check out her complementary award-winning picture book, ‘But…What If?’ which deals with the separation anxiety and reunion and other anxieties in kids brought on by military deployments. These award-winning books are best bought together. www.lionheartgrouppublishing.com

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Hero Dad
Written by Melinda Hardin & illustrated by Bryan Langdo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Some superheroes wear rocket-propelled boots, drive super-powered cars and have X-ray vision. But other superheroes wear army boots, drive tanks, and go away for long trips to make the world a safer place. It's a tough job, but that's what superheroes have to do. With Melinda Hardin's simple text and with Bryan Langdo's endearing watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, Hero Dad makes a difficult and tender subject more accessible to children with parents serving far from home.

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Hero Mom
Written by Melinda Hardin & illustrated by Bryan Langdo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The moms in this book are superheroes. They may not leap over tall buildings, and they may not have super-human speed. But these moms construct buildings, fly planes, and make tanks roll. They do all kinds of things to help create a safer world. These superheroes are moms. Military moms. Hero moms.

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Harlem Hellfighters
Written by J. Patrick Lewis & illustrated by Gary Kelley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

They went by many names, but the world came to know them best as the Harlem Hellfighters. Two thousand strong, these black Americans from New York picked up brass instruments—under the leadership of famed bandleader and lieutenant James Reese Europe—to take the musical sound of Harlem into the heart of war. From the creators of the 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor Book, And the Soldiers Sang, this remarkable narrative nonfiction rendering of WWI – and American – history uses free-verse poetry and captivating art to tell century-old story of hellish combat, racist times, rare courage, and inspired music.

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The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery
Written by Allison Rushby
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery. As Turnkey, it’s Flossie’s job to ensure that all the souls buried in the cemetery stay at rest. Not an easy job for a young ghost, but a task made especially difficult by World War II: London is being attacked every night by enemy bombers, and even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object that seems to exist in both the living and spirit worlds, she becomes suspicious—what is the officer up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could destroy not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie and her ghostly friends stop the soldier before it’s too late? History collides with the supernatural in this exciting, ethereal mystery from Allison Rushby.

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Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops
Written by Jill Biden & illustrated by Raúl Colón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Inspired by her own granddaughter Natalie, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, tells a story through a child’s eyes of what family life is like when a parent is at war across the world.

When her father leaves for a year of being at war, Natalie knows that she will miss him. Natalie is proud of her father, but there is nothing to stop her from wishing he was home. Some things do help her feel better. Natalie works with her Nana to send her dad and the other service men and women cookies and treats they have made. Natalie, her mom, and her brother can see and talk to Dad over the computer, and the kindness of friends at school and at church help her feel supported and loved. But there is nothing like the day when her Dad comes home at last.

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  • Year of the Jungle - New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Collins has created a deeply moving autobiographical picture book about a father who must go off to the war in Vietnam – and the daughter who stays behind.When young Suzy’s father leaves for Vietnam, she struggles to understand what this means for her and her family. What is the jungle like? Will her father be safe? When will he return? The months slip by, marked by the passing of the familiar holidays and the postcards that her father sends. With each one, he feels more and more distant, until Suzy isn’t sure she’d even recognize her father anymore.This heartfelt and accessible picture book by Suzanne Collins, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hunger Games series, is accompanied by James Proimos’s sweet and charming illustrations. This picture book will speak to any child who has had to spend time away from a parent.

  • Red Moon Rising - “When space-farmer Rae is kidnapped by the native inhabitants of her moon, she is trained to become a warrior. But can she attack her own people?”–

  • Soldier's Heart - In June 1861, when the Civil War began, Charley Goddard enlisted in the First Minnesota Volunteers. He was 15. He didn’t know what a shooting war meant or what he was fighting for. But he didn’t want to miss out on a great adventure. <BR>The shooting war turned out to be the horror of combat and the wild luck of survival; how it feels to cross a field toward the enemy, waiting for fire. When he entered the service he was a boy. When he came back he was different; he was only 19, but he was a man with soldier’s heart, later known as battle fatigue.

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