Children’s book busts myths
about Remembrance Day
Wendy Lee Paquette’s A Parade to Remember teaches the true meaning of November 11
By Mona Andrei
November 10, 2022
You may have noticed veterans selling Remembrance Day poppies at various locations in and around the city, mostly sitting behind a table in grocery stores and other public locations. With pride, they wear their uniforms. With gratitude, they nod at everyone buying and wearing a poppy.
Looking into their aged eyes, you won’t see the young men they once were, fighting battles many of us are lucky to have never experienced. The number of veterans among us grows smaller every year and yet they have always represented a much larger portion of the population that never came home from fighting for our rights and freedom.
As Wendy was writing A Parade to Remember she was struck by the number of people who have misconceptions about the real meaning behind Remembrance Day.
Such an important sacrifice – the ultimate sacrifice – and yet misunderstood by many, as children’s book author Wendy Lee Paquette would soon find out while she was writing A Parade to Remember for elementary school-aged children.
And it all started with a conversation followed by an incident that had the media all over a story where a big box store manager refused to allow a veteran to sell his poppies.
At the time, Wendy was volunteering at her children’s library. Wendy describes Susan Singer, the librarian with whom she worked as extremely dedicated. “She was always looking for ways to encourage students to read,” Wendy recalls. “For every occasion she would ask us to gather books that we would then display throughout the library to make it easy for kids to learn the origins of holidays and significant dates. But when it came to Remembrance Day, no books were available for elementary school students. We had The Diary of Anne Frank but that was more for high school students.”
This is when Wendy decided that she needed to write a children’s story to help both educators and parents teach their children the true meaning of Remembrance Day.
The book tells the story of Lou Lou and her family as they get ready to go see her grandfather in the Remembrance Day parade. Lou Lou’s excitement grows as she imagines the clowns and colourful floats that would surround her grandfather. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Although Lou Lou felt intimidated by the parade of men and women in uniform, the story ends with a deeper understanding of her grandfather’s role and sense of pride.
As Wendy was writing A Parade to Remember she was struck by the number of people who have misconceptions about the real meaning behind Remembrance Day. This was especially prevalent during a conversation with her eldest daughter Kelsea who works with children, many of whom come from other countries that have mandatory military duty. From their parent’s perspective, Remembrance Day is seen as a day to honour war and violence rather than the individuals who voluntarily sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
‘Since its publication, A Parade to Remember has become part of the permanent research collection at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.’
Another myth surrounding Remembrance Day is that every 11th day of the 11th month at 11 am, everyone shows their respect by taking “a moment of silence.” The truth is that it’s two minutes of silence.
Since its publication, A Parade to Remember has become part of the permanent research collection at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
“When I got the call from the museum to ask if they could add the book to their collection, I was thrilled. It validated that the details were accurate, and I love the fact that the book is now an important part of history and important teaching tool,” admits the author.
There’s no doubt that we owe our freedom to our war heroes – in Canada and around the world since Remembrance Day commemorates ALL veterans from all wars.
A truly heart-warming story about how a young girl discovers the true meaning of Remembrance Day, A Parade to Remember with illustrations by Kim Rumbolt belongs on every Canadian’s to-read list.
If you have a child on your shopping list, you can purchase A Parade to Remember at Librarie Clio Plaza Pointe Claire at 261 Boul. Saint-Jean. Educators can also order directly from the publisher at Corner Studio.
Feature image: cover illustration of A Parade to Remember by Kim Rumbolt
Mona Andrei is an award-winning humour blogger, columnist, and author. In her most recent book, SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood, she shares her challenges and triumphs as a single mother as well as those of other single mothers. You can connect with Mona on Twitter.