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Christmas in the Trenches

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4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  159 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Set in the trenches during World War I, this haunting story is based on a true event known as the Christmas Truce and is adapted by award-winning songwriter John McCutcheon. Full color. With CD
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Peachtree Publishers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 386)
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Mexy Gonzales
The book entitled “Christmas in the Trenches”, told the story about a grandpa telling a story of his favorite Christmas. This story was the story of the Christmas truce of 1914. The author explains how US soldiers spent their Christmas in war against the Germans and later were reunited by Christmas songs, a Christmas tree, and a white truce flag. The children’s grandpa was the one whom shook the German’s hand symbolzing the truce agreement and spent Christmas together until the sunrise came and ...more
Amber Sage
Dec 09, 2014 Amber Sage rated it really liked it
This is the story of two groups of soldiers. They were not on the same side and they were by no means friends. These two groups were fighting against each other. Both sides wanted to win the war. But on this one day of December in 1914, these two opposites become one for just one night. As one group hears the other singing a well-known Christmas song, they join in in their own language. While they sing, they see a dark shadow approaching them. It is an enemy. They stop singing just as the enemy ...more
Katy
Nov 26, 2014 Katy rated it it was amazing
I had not heard about the The Christmas Truce of 1914 until I picked up an interesting children's book (based on the cover). As I sat down to read it, I was mesmerized by the humanity and respect from the enemies on that Christmas night. A truce between the Germans and the British as they celebrated a beloved holiday!

I researched more on this incident, and, while this book is historical fiction, it is INDEED based on a true incident in a war that changed how war is fought.

I plan to use this sto
...more
Jess
Dec 19, 2010 Jess rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jess by: Mom
Based a true story, travel back to Christmas in the Trenches during the first World War.


I really like this one, but it's sad. Definitely sad. It isn't how it's presented, the author does nothing to depress you. It's set up as a memory that begins and ends on Chrismas Eve. You're at a grandpa's house, see his favorite Christmas memory (in the trenches), and then you're back in his home 70 years later.


But the more you think about it, the more you realize that it's a story about kids who had Chri
...more
Vera Godley
Nov 01, 2012 Vera Godley rated it it was amazing
Artist Henri Sorensen has beautifully illustrated Christmas in the Trenches with the drab colors that depict the drabness of war - though the colors are subdued "Christmas" red and green - as well as the bright cheeriness of the home of young Thomas. Beautiful art to bring to our heart the beauty of the story.

Christmas in the Trenches begins with an elderly gentleman telling his grandson, Thomas, the unbelievable story of the enduring Christmas Spirit that brought two opposing armies into "no-ma
...more
Eloise Davis
It was Christmas night, all of the presents were unwrapped, the snow covered the ground, and Thomas and Nora were curled up on their Grandpa’s lap. The story begins with Thomas asking his Grandpa if he has a favorite Christmas. Grandpa begins telling his grandchildren about his favorite Christmas in Liverpool, 1914, during the Great War. The children are shocked to discover that their sweet Grandpa was in the war and they express their curiosity. As the two children snuggle closer to their Grand ...more
Carly
Nov 27, 2013 Carly rated it liked it
Summary:
It was Christmas night, all of the presents were unwrapped, the snow covered the ground, and Thomas and Nora were curled up on their Grandpa’s lap. The story begins with Thomas asking his Grandpa if he has a favorite Christmas. Grandpa begins telling his grandchildren about his favorite Christmas in Liverpool, 1914, during the Great War. The children are shocked to discover that their sweet Grandpa was in the war and they express their curiosity. As the two children snuggle closer to th
...more
Shilo
Dec 08, 2015 Shilo rated it it was amazing
What a heart warming story of love and peace at Christmas time even amidst an ugly war. We are all part of one big family: God's family. We are His children. What a beautiful illustration this story is of that truth. I love the author's note at the end: "Wars don't start on battlefields. They begin in people's hearts. And that is where wars can be ended." You can find this story/song on YouTube! Check it out. It's worth it!
Maris Digiovanni
Apr 15, 2013 Maris Digiovanni rated it really liked it
This book definitely celebrates the common bonds in humanity. It describes a time in history when hatred and death lingered over most people’s lives and war was lasting longer than most people realized. This story tells of how during this horrible time the soldiers fighting each other stopped the fighting in order to celebrate Christmas with one another. I feel that this story is so touching because it conveys a lesson about being humane in a most inhumane situation and shows that bravery someti ...more
Francis
Dec 30, 2015 Francis rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds, 2015
I read this to my Gr. 5 students when we were studying World War I. This book opened up many of their eyes to what war meant. Many of this generation has grown up playing video games that make war seem glamorous, but this story hits the truth about war. Great book with CD as well.
Tammy Brown
Jun 01, 2016 Tammy Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british, christmas
I used this story in a "Tea Party" strategy as an anticipatory set for my lesson on life in the trenches during WWI. This was for my girls as the remainder of the lesson was a totally "ewwwwww" and "gross" for them. Needless to say my boys enjoyed the remainder of the lesson!
Jenny
Jan 04, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it
Historical fiction about the Christmas Eve truce during WWI. Includes a CD with Silent Night sung in English and German as well as a song called Christmas in the Trenches written and sung by the author.
Nicole
Dec 11, 2014 Nicole rated it it was amazing
This beautiful picture book shares the story of the Christmas Truce during WWI. I look forward to sharing the story and illustrations with my students and singing along using the provided CD of songs!
Rebecca Honeycutt
Nothing special as a picture book, but the song is one of my favorites, so I felt obliged to read it.
Jen
Nov 01, 2014 Jen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
An excellent version of the "Silent Night" in December 1914 when German and Allied soldiers called a truce on Christmas Eve and ventured onto No-Man's-Land to sing songs, play football, and acknowledge each other's humanity. Told in a very appropriate manner for all ages, this story stresses the peace of that night, although it can open the door for further discussion of the horrific realization that these men went back to shooting at one another shortly thereafter. A favourite readaloud of mine ...more
Ruby
Dec 09, 2014 Ruby rated it really liked it
This book is perfect for a 4th grade boy!
(NS) - Heather Hayman
After Christmas dinner, Grandpa tells Thomas and Nora about an unforgettable Christmas Eve back in 1914, when German and Allied soldiers during World War I stopped fighting and came together to embrace the holiday. They sang songs, exchanged gifts, and acted in peace until dawn broke. At that time, they returned to their trenches where the battling began once again. The illustrations only add to this brief story about the common feelings that lay deep within the men on opposite sides of the line ...more
Amy
Dec 09, 2009 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas
I expected more from this book. I have heard of the Christmas Truce of 1914 before and have always been touched by the story. For some reason, this book failed to capture the beauty of it to me. I can't decide if it was the author's choice of words or the pace of the narrative, but I would love to find a better account of the story, where German and British soldiers join in singing "Silent Night" on Christmas Eve and find a temporary brotherhood in the midst of war.
Morgan
Nov 12, 2012 Morgan rated it really liked it
I love this beautiful piece of historical fiction wrapped up in a children's book. This moment in World War 1 was so incredibly powerful, and would be so great to read when teaching World War 1, or just during Christmas time in general. This event in history really humanizes the war, and teaches empathy to readers. The illustrations capture the event perfectly, and I just think it will so valuable in not only teaching about history but also about character building.
Sharon Lawler
One of my favorite Christmas stories.
Robert
Jan 09, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it
John McCutcheon wrote and has performed the folk song that gave rise to this children's picture book that speaks to the power of the human spirit. What does it take to stop a war, if only for a few hours? The answer, memory, friendship, love. Lessons that are worth learning. This will awaken the mind of the child to the possibilities of peace. Henri Sorensen's painting go beyond the text and tell an amazing story of the true events of Christmas 1914.
Stacey
Dec 03, 2008 Stacey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas
This is a five star because it made me cry and it led to some really great, but hard, discussion about war and why people go to war. I think I am largely a pacifist. I appreciated in the author's notes his encouragment to teach our children more peace making and conflict resolution. He pointed out how kids are taught about war from an early age, but there are too many peaceful alternatives to ignore.

Mrs. Downs
GR Level: NA

Elementary: E MCC

Grandkids ask grandpa about his favorite Christmas, and grandpa begins to tell them about when he was serving in the world war at Christmas. He shares the sweet miracle that occurred that day when the American and German soldiers gather together to sing Silent Night and play games.
Erica
Dec 29, 2012 Erica rated it it was amazing
Grandkids ask grandpa about his favorite Christmas, and grandpa begins to tell them about when he was serving in the world war at Christmas. He shares the sweet miracle that occurred that day when the American and German soldiers gather together to sing Silent Night and play games.
Carla Miller
Dec 27, 2013 Carla Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Sad story but the children enjoyed it. Definitely a good one for our Advent reading collection. It started a lively discussion about the war and what it would be like during wartime.
Susan
Oct 31, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Picture book for upper elementary and older students about the Christmas during World War I when German and American troops laid down arms and observed Christmas together. Very powerful occurrenced and terrific picture book to use with classes. Illustrations are beautiful.
Sallyavena
I always love a true story, but this one always pricks my heart. While it shows that humanity can prevail, it only last a little while and war continues. Not really the happy ending you want in a Christmas story, but it does show the meaning of Christmas in a way.
Rebecca
Nov 30, 2010 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a fictional account of one soldier's experience of Christmas 1914 on the western front. Includes lovely paintings, author's note and historical note, and the words, music, and recording of a song by John McCutcheon on the topic.
Rebecca
Dec 26, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A fictionalized version of the 1914 Christmas Truce during WW1. The story is sweet and a good springboard for learning more about the Truce. The book comes with a CD of a folk song about the event which is also good.
Kerri
This is a beautiful story about putting aside the ways of war to celebrate Christmas. It would spark lots of writing ideas at Christmas time, but it is also a great way to discuss tolerance and acceptance.
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