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Shooting at the Stars
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Shooting at the Stars

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  643 ratings  ·  153 reviews
Shooting at the Stars is the moving story of a young British soldier on the front lines during World War I who experiences an unforgettable Christmas Eve. In a letter home to his mother, he describes how, despite fierce fighting earlier from both sides, Allied and German soldiers ceased firing and came together on the battlefield to celebrate the holiday. They sang carols, ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Harry N. Abrams (first published October 1st 2014)
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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  643 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Good grief, this book has all the feels. I teared up multiple times, and I just pointed at the words for Kate to finish reading. Based on a true story, powerfully dramatized here (ht: Jordan Poss).
Luisa Knight
A vivid and powerful reminder of what really matters, not just at Christmas, but all throughout the year. That it is people that are important and forefront to everything else. Not wars; or to bring it even closer to home, nor things or schedules, or getting Christmas dinner just so, or scrambling to the front of the theater though you had to bump a few people to do so - none of it is worth it if through our stress, or busyness or frustration it causes us to jeopardize our relationships. If sold ...more
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! It gives the factual account of the "Christmas truce" that spontaneously occurred in 1914. German and Allied troops in the trenches on the battlefield in France celebrated Christmas by calling an unofficial truce for the day. Enemy soldiers met in "no man's land" and exchanged food rations and played games and talked. Commanding officers were not pleased and fighting resumed as normal the next morning. Reportedly, soldiers fired not at each other, but "at the stars" the next day. ...more
"For one glorious Christmas morning, war had taken a holiday."
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful short picture book about one of the few beautiful moments in one of the twentieth century’s ugliest wars. This story moves me to tears every time I contemplate it—as with the famous Sainsbury’s commercial three years ago, which dramatized the Christmas truce for its centenary.

This book elegantly retells the truce from the point of view of one teenaged English tommy. The pictures are excellent (trying not to keep repeating the adjective beautiful) and make you feel the cold and misery
I had heard this story before, but Hendrix's illustrations brought it to life. I love the way the text of 'Silent Night' gently slides over no-man's land, you can almost hear the men singing. Another great book to hand to a Nathan Hale fan.
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think this fictionalized account of the famous Christmas Truce of 1914 does an excellent job of summarizing for kids not only the background of World War I but some of the moral and philosophical issues of war.

Charlie is a young British soldier who writes home to his mom to tell her about the impromptu truce and Christmas celebration that day between British and German soldiers. On that day, the soldiers entrenched along the French-Belgian border met in the center of “No Man’s Land” between th
Dec 26, 2018 added it
Love the story of Christmas 1914 and this picture book did a wonderful job of showing that spirit
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lovely holiday reminder that it's pretty hard to have a war with someone once you've gotten to know them a little.
Amy Rae
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The story of the Christmas Truce in World War I is pretty much tailor-made to give me the wibbles already--and it's reality. This fictional retelling of it, framed as a British soldier's letter to his mother, nearly made me cry. (The end notes did make me cry. They are beautifully, compassionately written. Here's a sample for you: "What interests me is the point of view of the powerless. Millions of men on both sides, isolated from the grand forces of alliances and politics, were ruthlessly caug ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read this to some kids in my son's class before Christmas. Fortunately I didn't have time to finish it in one sitting, & had to finish it in the afternoon. If I had to read it in one go I probably would have begun crying. Beautiful story, very well-told & appropriate for youngsters. Great illustrations.
Apr 28, 2015 marked it as to-read
Jane Addams Honor - Younger Children
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delight. Based on actual event, Hendrix juxtaposes the horror of war with the peace and joy of Christmas time.
Stephanie Chiaro
Loved, loved, LOVED this book! The book told of a young, English soldier, during World War I, who wrote to his mother, in the form of letters, about Christmas in a war zone. The young soldier described what most people would have considered to be impossible, "when war had taken a holiday," meaning how two sides, the Germans and the English, although fighting against each other, laid down their weapons to celebrate one day, a day they can postpone their long, grueling efforts of fighting and weat ...more
Isaac Blevins
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Taking one of history's most moving stories of humanity as his subject, John Hendrix has created a complex, memorable, and ultimately gorgeous picture book. This is the sort of book that reminds us that picture books aren't just for primary grades. Taking the form of a letter home from a British soldier, the text pulls no punches in its description of the battle field. When the soldiers join together in the Christmas truce, the first thing they do is help one another bury the bodies of the dead. ...more
Stephanie H
This is a book that I would definitely read with older students. While listening to this story, it is about an England soldier talks about the First World War and what he has experiences. He talks about the war, environment and realizations that he is now having. The author did a great job expressing the feelings of a soldier during this time period. The illustrations are very rich, colorful and detailed, as well. It is Christmas time, and for a day the England and German soldiers had a truce we ...more
Sydney Martindale
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved how this book was set up like a letter being written to a family member by a solider. Some illustrations were also labeled which I thought was very neat. It also had a lot of good back matter which is important in a historical book.
Amanda Vander hyde
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has wonderfully detailed illustrations that are perfect for a one-on-one or small group read with children. It tells of a trench in World War II during Christmas, when the Germans and Britains decided to stop fighting for one day to celebrate together. It is remarkable that though they fought for their countries, this shows that they did not find the other side to be the enemy on an individual level. It is a complex idea that would be wonderful to explore with children. The illustratio ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book that does a good job of capturing the pointlessness of World War I and the differences between the men in the trenches and their officers away from the front line. I'll definitely read this with my son, but I'll do it when we study World War I and not during the Christmas season.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fictional retelling of the famous 1914 WW Christmas Truce.
Charlie, a British soldier, writes a letter to his mother about life in the trenches during Christmas about how the English and the Germans took a short peace for the sake of Christmas.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another of the WWI 1914 Christmas truce books with a good author's note.

From Hendrix's note: "Armed with carols and Christmas trees, individual men threw away their weapons and walked toward the enemy with a desperate hunger for peace."
Lynn  Davidson
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is the remarkable story about Christmas Day in 1941, during WWI, when British and German soldiers created a temporary Christmas truce and celebrated Christmas day together. Fabulous illustrations.
Jessica Leake
I felt this was an awesome book to read. I think children would really enjoy this book. It can teach them what is important all year around, and not only on Christmas. I also think the illustrations in the book were amazing. I think the book offers many great lessons for children to learn.
Deborah De
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Melissa
Shelves: children
Historical fiction; based on letters of one soldier to his mother during WWI on the Christmas night that the soldiers on opposing sides put away their weapons and celebrated Christmas together. Very clever. Great illustrations. Great blend of historical documents and modern illustration.
Rachel Smith
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Illustrations are beautiful. I love that it's written with some letters and that it's in messy handwriting. I LOVED this story. So sweet and I love that it's true! This would be great for a history lesson! Definitely buying this book.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I think that this is an inspirational tale about two enemies that can put aside their differences and what they are fighting for and have peace for a Holiday. I think that using this book to get my students to critically think about war and the decisions that were made on that cold night.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another historical fiction for children that introduces them to WWI and a true event that happened the first Christmas of the war.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little advanced for my 4.5 year old (when I told him it was a "history" book, he said, "oooh, is it spooky?" - I think confusing history with mystery), but really well done.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bluestem-2017
WWI story that was a feel good, yet not too sugar coated at the same time. My ten year old liked it and so did I. Nice quick read!
John Hendrix is my new illustration superstar. He's fabulous. Lovely book--both the story and the pictures.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John Hendrix is the illustrator of Nurse, Soldier, Spy and author/illustrator of Shooting at theStars, among others. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.