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Postcards from a War

Postcards from a War

4.3 3
by Vanita Oelschlager, Mike Blanc (Illustrator)

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Postcards from a War is about a boy whose mother has recently been deployed overseas to a war. His grandfather, who was about the same age when his father left to serve in World War II, helps him understand why she has gone away. He shares with his grandson postcards and letters sent by his father from the Philippines. The grandfather and grandson collaborate on


Postcards from a War is about a boy whose mother has recently been deployed overseas to a war. His grandfather, who was about the same age when his father left to serve in World War II, helps him understand why she has gone away. He shares with his grandson postcards and letters sent by his father from the Philippines. The grandfather and grandson collaborate on building a scrapbook that will include these, plus the letters and emails and other communications the boy will get from his mother.

Postcards is intended for 4-8 year olds, ones who are old enough to understand that a parent in the military may have to go to a dangerous place, but maybe not why. It shows the imporant intergenerational bonding that famililies often experience during times of war.

The postcards and letters in the book were received by the author from her father during World War II.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Based on the author's family, this story opens in the present, as Matthew notes that his mother, who is in the air force, “had to go to another country because there's a war going on.” The boy's grandfather then talks with him about WWII, when his (and Oelschlager's) father, Bauknight, was a soldier stationed in the Philippines. He shows his grandson letters and postcards (which are reproduced throughout the book) that Bauknight sent home, many illustrated with rudimentary drawings of his life overseas and of his children at home. When Matthew's mother e-mails him notes and pictures, he and Grandpa decide to collect the missives from both soldiers in a book. A conversation about why wars occur concludes with Grandpa's pat statement, responding to Matthew's wish for an end to war: “If anyone can make that happen, it will be you and your friends. And you can always count on me to help you.” Blanc's painterly digital illustrations use sepia pictures to depict Grandpa's memories of the WWII era while full-color images represent present day. Heartfelt, but a bit heavy-handed and sentimental. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Brian's mother serves in the military and has gone off to war, and he is left in the part-time care of his grandfather, who recounts his own experiences of when his father went off to war and sent back postcards and letters as a way to reassure his family that he was safe. The writing is prosaic, and the storytelling feels forced and predictable. Children whose parents have been deployed overseas are the intended audience, and they may be able to respond to the story on a deeper level than those children who have no such experiences. The artwork becomes part of the storytelling, helping to identify the setting, with full-color illustrations depicting Brian and his grandfather's world and sepia-toned images showing scenes from the man's childhood. Interspersed throughout are reproductions of the actual postcards that the author's father sent home, an authentic, emotional touch to an otherwise flat story. Better choices for this topic include Lisa Tucker McElroy's Love, Lizzie (Albert Whitman, 2005) or Eileen Spinelli's While You Are Away (Hyperion, 2004).—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Product Details

Vanita Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.48(w) x 10.94(h) x 0.22(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist,

former teacher, current caregiver, author, and poet. She is a

graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she

currently serves as a Trustee. Vanita is also Writer In Residence

for the Literacy Program at The University of Akron.

Her first book, My Grampy Can't Walk, was widely praised. It's

an uplifting story about the wonderful relationship between her

husband Jim, who has multiple sclerosis, and their grandchildren. Vanita has also supported Jim as he built Oak ssociates, ltd. into a highly respected investment management firm.

Mike Blanc is a life-long professional artist. His artwork has illuminated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. Mike contributes creative direction and illustration to VanitaBooks. He lives with his wife, Gail, in sunny Doylestown, Ohio. They enjoy their four children, and five grandkids.

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Postcards from a War 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Postcards from a War by Vanita Oelschlager The cycle of war and peace has been transferred from generation to generation. A young boy has a hard time understanding that his mother went to war. But his grandfather has a story about when he was a child, his father went to war. His great great grandfather wrote letters home to his family, the letters inspired not only his son, but his daughter and now his great great grandson. This is a great book to share with a classroom, children don't always understand the choices of their adults. Its interesting that this book looks into the reasons for war, and why military families sacrifice so much to gain freedom. An inspiring story, and a great idea to help inspire children to write our deployed military personal to create a since of gratitude.
Storywraps More than 1 year ago
Brian and his Grandpa have a very close relationship and Brian feels free to discuss his feelings with him about his mom, who is in the airforce, and who has been called to fight in a war far away. He tells his Grandpa that he feels sad, scared and concerned all the time because he does not want anything bad to happen to her and he wants her to come back home safely. Grandpa tenderly explains how he felt exactly the same way when his dad went off to war when he was six years old more than 60 years ago. He too felt scared and cried often because he was so worried for the safety of his dad, just how Brian was feeling about his mom now. Grandpa leads Brian upstairs into the attic. He opens up an old dusty trunk and pulls out a stack of letters tied up with a string. He asks Brian to sit down and join him and together they to through the correspondence he is holding. Grandpa's dad had kept in touch with the family by writing letters, drawing pictures and letting them know what he was doing, that he was safe and that he would be home soon. Grandpa then showed Brian his favourite postcard. It was a picture of his dad jumping with delight because he had received his orders to go HOME. Grandpa lovingly talks to Brian about why wars occur, why people (like his mom ) want to go and fight in a war, and what might happen to people if she decided not to help. Brian, encouraged by Grandpa's words, decides he will start checking his mailbox just in case his mom sends him a letter. He tell Grandpa that he will ask his mom to call him on her cell phone and he will keep every one of the notes, emails and pictures that his mom sends to him on the computer. Grandpa very graciously tells him that no matter how his mom sends things to him they can put it all together and make a special book then both he and Brian will have a place to home all those special memories. "It will be our "Love Daddy" and "Love Mom" book." What a fabulous book to remind us all that as parents and guardians it is so important to take time to explain, comfort and help families stay connected and tell their stories. The author "leaves us with a renewed pride in military service and the hope that perhaps our children may be the last generation to say goodbye to a parent called away to serve his or her country in a time of war." -David Rozelle
Sofia_NW More than 1 year ago
4 Platypires by Postcards from a War by Vanita Oelschlager I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review. The cover is what immediately drew my attention. I am a fan of sepia tone pictures and the titled sounded interesting. The story was really nice and I think it gave a great explanation about war. It was not at all preachy or biased which I thought was really good. The drawings were really good but I wasn't a fan of the times roman font. Overall I did enjoy this book and would recommend to older elementary children.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately in our world someone is always at war. In this story a boy's mother is on active military duty and he talks to his grandfather about it. His grandfather tells him about his feelings when his father was gone during WWII. They go up to the attic and find the postcards and letters that his father has sent home. These are actual postcards and letters sent home by Col. Wilfrid Bauknight from the Philippines. They are very cute and in a language meant for children. The drawings are also cute. The actual illustrations in the book are great as well. The grandfather tells his grandson that his generation must find better ways to resolve difficulties than war. All profits from this book are going to the Fisher House foundation, which is dedicated to meeting the needs of the nation's service members, veterans and their families. A great book for children, especially the ones who have family members in the military. I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
DubaiReader1 More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully authentic book. It contains genuine postcards sent by the author's father duing WWII while he was serving in the Philippines. Many of these postcards were illustrated and these illustrations now adorn this beautiful book. Mike Blanc has digitally enhanced these images, sepia for the Grandfather's recollections and coloured for the present. There are also photographs and some of the original line drawings. Matthew, the young boy in the book, is confused as to where his mother has gone. She is in the Air Force and has been called to active duty. Matthew spends his afternoons with his Grandfather until his Dad can collect him from work. Mathew's Grandfather helps him to deal with his feelings of loss, loneliness and sadness. He shares the letters and postcards that he himself had received from his father during WWII. Together they make a scrap book incorporating the memorabilia that the Grandfather has kept and the e mails and pictures sent by Matthew's mother. The book explaines a few of the reasons for war and suggests that the youngsters of today should strive towards peace and alternative resolution of international disputes. Targetted at 4 to 8 year olds, this is a book to share as it will need some aditional support from a caring adult. An invaluable resource for children from military familes and their friends. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to The Fisher House Foundation, providing help for military families.