Too Young to Fight: Memories from Our Youth During World War II

Too Young to Fight: Memories from Our Youth During World War II

by Priscilla Galloway, Roch Carrier, Christopher Chapman, Brian Doyle, Dorothy Joan Harris

2000 Bologna Ragazzi Non-Fiction for Young Adults Award

Shortlisted, 2000 British Columbia Round Table Information Book Award

1999 Teacher Liberian Magazine, Best of the Best issue

Shortlisted, 2001 Rocky Mountain Award

Too Young To Fight is a book of recollections from some of this country's best-loved


2000 Bologna Ragazzi Non-Fiction for Young Adults Award

Shortlisted, 2000 British Columbia Round Table Information Book Award

1999 Teacher Liberian Magazine, Best of the Best issue

Shortlisted, 2001 Rocky Mountain Award

Too Young To Fight is a book of recollections from some of this country's best-loved writers of children's literature. The contributors were children and teenagers during World War II. Though they were far from the fighting and, indeed, too young to participate, they were old enough to remember their impressions and feelings. As they grew up in a tumultuous era, some seemed miraculously untouched while others were profoundly affected. All experienced changes in their lives that shaped the adults they became.

For anyone who did not experience it, this book provides fascinating insight and a tangible link to a formative period in our history. For those who were young themselves at the time, the collection will stir memories and stories long-forgotten. It is our hope that those memories will be shared by people of all ages, and preserved for generations to come.

Contributors include:

  • Roch Carrier,

  • Christopher Chapman,

  • Brian Doyle,

  • Priscilla Galloway,

  • Dorothy Joan Harris,

  • Monica Hughes,

  • Joy Kogawa with Timothy Nakayama,

  • Jean Little,

  • Janet Lunn,

  • Claire Mackay, and

  • Budge Wilson.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"While any recollection of wartime will be filled with tales of the men who returned without limbs, or without their minds, the autobiographical pieces of Too Young to Fight relate the daily life of children, who, after all are just kids living like kids."

-- Books in Canada

"Too Young to Fight is a beautifully designed work. It is the kind of book that is delightful to hold and turn the beautifully printed manila pages decorated with pictures of the authors as children, letters and other archival material. Thoughtful young people between the ages of 10 and 15 might like to discover this book themselves. Others might find the complex material easier to unlock with the help of a teacher - or better yet a grandparent, who can add tales of their own. This is a book to value year-round, not just in November."

-- The Standard

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Galloway (Snake Dreamer) and 11 other Canadians, most of them authors of children's books, share their recollections of growing up during WWII. Taken together, the pieces evoke the leisurely feeling of stories shared around the family dinner table. The most memorable moments come through in the details: Janet Lunn discusses her desire to hide her grandparents' German names; Dorothy Joan Harris describes the rising tensions in the late 1930s in Japan, where her father was an English professor, that finally drove the family to Canada, as well as her inability to reconcile the stories of "ferocious" Japanese soldiers with the kindness she had known there; Jean Little writes of the "War Guests," British children sent to Canada to keep safe during wartime. In one of the book's most poignant passages, filmmaker Christopher Chapman quotes from a letter from his brother overseas, which the family received several days after learning of his death. Other standouts include a lyrical entry by Joy Kogawa and Timothy Nakayama, Japanese-Canadian siblings who were forced to leave their home and relocate to a "spindly old ghost town," and Brian Doyle's stream-of-consciousness chronicle of the day following Japan's surrender, which is at once humorous and haunting. An intimate glimpse of the ways in which the war affected home life even on peaceful shores. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
World War II ended fifty-five years ago, yet its impact upon those who survived it is significant. This compilation of essays tells the story of eleven Canadian children's authors and their memories of life during the Second World War. While the Canadian people were spared the direct and dire consequences of having war fought upon their soil thousands of them did serve in the military. For the contributors to this touching work that translated into fathers away from home, uncertainty, relocation, adjustment, and fear. Each of these eleven tales evokes a somewhat different feeling. For example, the life of Joy Kogawa and Timothy Nakayama were significantly sculpted by their forced relocation to resettlement camps established to house Canadian citizens of Japanese descent. Roch Carrier's most pressing memory of the war was the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For him as a child these terrible new weapons of mass destruction caused him to wonder if the world was coming to an end. Another writer, Jean Little, looked back at those times and pondered, "Real war wounds maim you for life. Fear haunts the dreams of children caught in war when they become grandparents." As these eleven writers describe in superb detail, those who live in even the "safest" of places during military conflict suffer pain and injury. The creators of this book experienced the death of fathers, brothers, and friends, and their lives were touched by the fire of war in a way that shaped their adulthood. These personal histories are an excellent resource for modern readers searching either for information about World War II or the effects of war upon the human spirit. 1999, Stoddart, Ages 12 up,$22.95. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck —Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Eleven Canadian writers provide slice-of-life recollections from the home front. Monica Hughes and Jean Little highlight family dynamics, school life, and the stresses on each of their families as a result of the country's military participation in the war. Brian Doyle's remarkable piece offers a vivid description of three events that happened on the same day-a street celebration marking the end of the war, the news of the death of a soldier he knew, and the birth of his baby brother. Although the memoirs are informative and evocative, many represent a narrow cross-section of middle-class and well-to-do families. Black-and-white photos and reproductions accompany the text. This book will be of particular interest to public libraries in Canada, in American communities near the Canadian border, and to larger libraries in both countries.-Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.26(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.78(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Priscilla Galloway is a Fitzhenry and Whiteside author.

Priscilla Galloway is a Fitzhenry and Whiteside author.

Dorothy Joan Harris was born in Kobe, Japan on February 14, 1931, and came to Canada in 1938. She graduated from the University of Toronto in modern languages, then taught in France and Japan. In 1955, she married Alan Harris, settled in Toronto, and was editor with Copp Clark Publishers. She began writing for her two children, Kim and Doug, and has gone on to write for other people's children.

A writer of international acclaim, Monica Hughes published over 35 books and many more short stories and articles during her 29-year career. She was often honored for her work; Hunter in the Dark and Keeper of the Isis Light both won the Canada Council Children's Literature Award. She was the recipient of the Vicky Metcalfe Award for a body of work, the Queen's Jubilee Medal and the Order of Canada.

Joy Kogawa, one of North America’s most celebrated writers, is the award-winning author of three novels, seven collections of poetry and two books for children. Obasan, which the New York Times called “a tour de force...brilliantly poetic in its sensibility,” continues to be taught across North America, and the opera based on her children’s book Naomi’s Road has toured in Canada and the United States. Kogawa has worked to educate Canadians about the history of Japanese Canadians and is a long-time activist in the areas of peace and reconciliation. In 2010, the Japanese government honoured her with the Order of the Rising Sun.

Jean Little is the award-winning author of many books for young readers including From Anna, Mama's Going to Buy You Mockingbird and Willow and Twig. She has been the recipient of the Governor General's Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award for her writings. When not writing, Jean Little works with young people in schools, church and the community. Jean lives in Guelph, Ontario.

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