A fictionalized account—based on letters from and interviews with actual soldiers—of the holiday cease-fire during World War I.
In epistolary design, Charlie, a young British soldier, writes home from his trench to tell his mother of an extraordinary event that happened that day. After months of fighting, Christmas Eve did not seem like an occasion for joy. But shockingly, German soldiers, only a few paces away in their own muddy trenches, lit tiny Christmas trees and sang “Silent Night” as loud as they could. The next morning, all soldiers came together on the battlefield to celebrate. Some also shared a deep connection while burying their fallen comrades. The truce didn’t last, but its power has resonated for decades. As Hendrix states simply in his author’s note: “The story of the Christmas Truce is not about politics, but people.” Told from Charlie’s perspective, occasionally in handwritten lettering, the story’s immensity and emotion is palpable. Cold, blue-tinted acrylic washes warm to golden oranges and yellows as the soldiers unite. One soldier’s weary reflection, surely echoing that of many others, stretches out across the page: “Why can’t we just go home—and have peace?”
Timed with the centenary of World War I but a lesson for always, Hendrix’s tale pulls young readers close and shows the human side of war. (introduction, glossary, bibliography, index) (Picture book. 7-12)