On 6th June this year countries across the world will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one of the most significant days in the history of Europe and the world, which marked the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime.
My new book – D-Day Dog – is about a boy who goes on a school trip to Normandy to find out about D-Day and to challenge his own ideas about war. It is also about the rights and wrong about using animals in war and is based around the true story of a dog that parachuted into the conflict on 6th June 1944.
I have created a range of resources that teachers can use in schools to work with – or without – the book to help children understand this enormously significant date. You can find them all at www.tompalmer.co.uk/dday-dog.
“An amazing exploration of war, both past and present, which answers difficult questions about why soldiers choose to fight and die. Stories from World War 2, the Falklands and the current conflict in Syria are woven together in this sensitive little book. ” Aidan Severs, That Boy Can Teach
I have made four short videos set at key D-Day sites in Normandy that are also settings in the book. Making the films at Omaha Beach, a statue of Dwight Eisenhower, Ranville Cemetery and in the open countryside of Normandy where many paratroopers dropped in ahead of the beach landings. Coming by 26 April.
Free posters and bookmarks that I can post out to schools for free – or that you can download.
I’ve written a guide to local and national activities that are going on to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day during the first few days of June. It is being hosted by the excellent www.thereaderteacher.com, also known as @MrEPrimary. Coming soon.
An activity for the D-Day 75th anniversary this June 6th. I have chosen some pages from D-Day Dog that you can download and print for free, then invite the children to create their own D-Day blackout poetry. Includes instructions for teachers, examples and a signed certificate for any children who complete the challenge.
While visiting schools I will be using a PowerPoint I have made to talk about D-Day, how animals are used in war and what inspires me to write books like this. You can download it for free here, whether I am coming into your school or not. Coming soon.
I am doing some public events during the spring/summer where I would love to meet readers, dog-lovers and history fans. In Halifax, London, Shrewsbury, Holmfirth, Edinburgh so far, but there may be more. Check out the Meet Me page on my website for full details.
I’ve made some book cover predictions sheets for the classroom, where children can work out what they think might happen in the book based on Tom Clohsey Cole’s brilliant jacket design for D-Day Dog.
Check out the D-Day Dog webpage for ideas about the rights and wrongs of using animals in war. The book features a boy whose love of war is challenged when he finds out that dogs were used and killed during the Second World War and other wars.
Download a document that includes ten questions to help children talk and think about war. Is it ever right to wage war? Should animals be used in war? This is aimed at Y5 to Y8 and should be used with teachers’ discretion.
Use D-Day Dog as a class read during the 75th anniversary commemorations in early June. It’s a short novel at 20,000 words, suitable for Y5 to Y8. The anniversary coverage on TV should tie in well with the storyline about children trying to get their heads round such a significant historical event.
Thanks for reading. All the resources above are available free from www.tompalmer.co.uk/dday-dog. Those not published yet will be up by end of April. Please feel free to share them among your colleagues and networks.