Daisy and the Unknown Warrior

Authored by Tony Bradman
Illustrated by Tania Rex
Published by Barrington Stoke

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This is the story of the burial of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, seen through the eyes of Daisy Robinson, a young girl who has already lost so much.

It is November 1920, and the nation is trying to rebuild itself at the end of the World War. An unknown soldier is being brought home from France to be buried in Westminster Abbey, to represent all those men that never made it home. Daisy finds out all about it at school and is determined to get to the Abbey, despite what her mother thinks, as she is sure that the Unknown Warrior is her father.

I found this book very moving and it really helped me reflect on the human face of historical events, not just the war itself but the long shadow that it cast on the country as a whole and each family. It is carefully written, so as to share the experiences of one family on a real level and the mood of the country in difficult times. Although I knew about the tomb of the Unknown Warrior and the Cenotaph and have visited both a number of times, reading the story reminded me of their significance at the time they were constructed. I also liked the way the illustrations helped recreate living conditions from 1920 and developed the context.

With Remembrance Sunday very close, this book would be ideal to share with upper KS2 pupils as part of finding out about commemoration or as part of work on WWI. It is very short book and could be read aloud or independently. I found the historical notes at the end of the book really interesting, and I felt these added to the narrative. Definitely one to have as part of a collection in class, especially if you are exploring what it was like to be child in those times.