Memorial Day Picture Books | Stories to Honor and Inspire

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This curated selection of the best Memorial Day picture books will introduce children to the true spirit of the holiday through stories.

As Memorial Day approaches, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the courage and sacrifices made by those who lost their lives serving our country. It’s also an opportunity to educate and discuss the significance of this solemn holiday with our children. Picture books can be a gentle, yet powerful way to convey these topics to children. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best Memorial Day picture books that honor our heroes, and impart valuable lessons on bravery, patriotism, and sacrifice.

I carefully chose these books with young listeners in mind. Each one is beautifully illustrated and written with sensitivity to help introduce the concepts of service and sacrifice in an age-appropriate manner. From stories of bravery to honoring our heroes, these books will touch their hearts. Join us as we celebrate the spirit of Memorial Day through beautiful, living Memorial Day picture books.

The Best Memorial Day Picture Books:

1: A Day for Rememberin'

Written by Leah Henderson and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Is a historical story about the origins of Memorial Day. The story takes us back to Charleston, South Carolina on May 1, 1865. Here a diverse crowd of abolitionists, missionaries, teachers, and military officers filled the streets with bouquets, crosses, and wreaths to honor those who sacrificed their lives during the Civil War. The book’s moving prose and illustrations share the little-known history of this significant holiday. It serves as a moving reminder to never forget the people who courageously fought for their country. The book also includes archival photos, an author’s note, bibliography, timeline, and index, which enriches the educational value of this work. 

2: Twenty-One Steps

Written by Jeff Gotessfeld and illustrated by Matt Tavares

This deeply moving book tells the story of the sentinel guards at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It takes readers through the solemn duty of the Tomb Guards, as they continue a tradition since 1937. This poignant story pays tribute to the Unknown Soldiers and guards who keep constant vigil. But also shares the history and significance of this sacred duty. This book is a powerful reminder of the cost of freedom and the respect owed to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to preserve it.

3: America's White Table

Written by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Mike Benny

This touching story introduces children to the tradition of the White Table. Follow along with one family as they set a White Table of remembrance, and learn the significance of each item placed on the table. This is a poignant reminder of the costliness of freedom and teaches the value of remembrance and sacrifice. Come along and be inspired to honor those who served, and maybe create your own White Table with your family. 

4: The Wall

Written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ron Himler

This touching book gently introduces children to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. This powerful and touching narrative conveys themes of honor, memory, and loss in an age appropriate fashion. This story captures the personal impact of the war and the solemnity of the memorial, as visitors honor those who lost their lives in the service of our country. 

5: The Poppy Lady

Written by Barbara E. Walsh and illustrated by Layne Johnson

Tells the story of how Moina Belle Michael was determined to honor soldiers during WWI.  An inspiring story of how one person’s dedication left a powerful legacy. She helped establish the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance and tribute to veterans. This book shares her story. Perhaps your family will be inspired to make and wear red poppies this Memorial Day, in remembrance of those who gave all for our country. 

The Memorial Day "poppy poem"

“In Flander’s Field” was written by Canadian poet, soldier, and physician John McCrea. This is a wonderful poem to read after The Poppy Lady. Children will easily grasp the connection between the story and the poem.  They will also have a poppy field visual in their mind from seeing the illustrations in the book. Another wonderful thing to do is make your own Rememerance Poppies to wear! You can find a tutorial in my FREE Memorial Day Guide below. Happy Memorial Day – may we never forget the sacrifices made for us. Home of the free because of the brave!

“In Flander’s Field”

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

– Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrea

Download my Free Memorial Day Guide by clicking the button below. I hope it blesses and inspires your family this Memorial Day! 

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