Glyn Harper is a highly regarded military historian and an award-winning author of books for both children and adults. Trained as a secondary school teacher, he taught English and History before joining the military, during which time he also completed his PhD, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Following his retirement from the military, Glyn is now Professor of War Studies and Massey Project Leader of the Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War. Glyn writes books for children as he thinks it is important to ‘hook’ them into enjoying history.
Jenny Cooper is an award-winning illustrator who specialises in a realistic style. Her previous books with Glyn Harper include the internationally acclaimed Jim’s Letters.
My Grandfathers War has won the Children’s Book Council’s Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Award for 2019.
The award-winning team of Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper share this poignant story about a Vietnam veteran and his relationship with his granddaughter. While the relationship is a positive one, the young girl senses her grandfather’s pain and is curious to find out the cause of it. As she innocently seeks answers, she unknowingly opens old wounds and discovers her grandfather’s sadness is a legacy of the Vietnam War and his experiences there. This is a sensitive exploration of the lingering cost of war and of the PTSD so many returned servicemen experience. Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Khe Sanh (the Vietnam War’s longest battle), it also sheds light on a war that is not always remembered in the same way that the world wars and other conflicts are. Many who served experience a sense of betrayal at the treatment they received on their return, as the conflict came to be regarded as the ‘unpopular’ war, and this is covered in a child-friendly way in a note at the back of the book.
Magpies Magazine (NZ) review by Margaret Kedian
“This is a beautifully presented hard-covered book. Highly recommended for all primary schools and public libraries.”
ABC Wide Bay – interviewed Glyn Harper for their ANZAC Day series.
“It’s crucial that kids understand the events that have shaped our nations and made Australians and New Zealanders the people they are today“.
Kids Books NZ
“Warning you might get tears in your eyes while reading this heartfelt story … Highly recommended for classroom and school libraries, for families whose family members work in the military, and those who like to read/share stories about family relationships. ” – Click here to read in full.
“Harper, a military historian, says it is the only children’s book written about the Vietnam War and post-traumatic stress.” Click here to read in full.
“This is a story of considerable magnitude yet Harper manages to relay it to young readers in a way that pays appreciable regard to the condition of PTSD and homage to the 50th Anniversary of one of the Vietnam War’s longest battles, Khe Sanh. My Grandfather’s War is a timely book that introduces primary aged readers to the impacts of an inglorious war and its ‘lingering effects’ on the people they love. It provides a useful conduit to a past they may only have ever seen reflected in the eyes of their grandparents and thus prompts discussion and understanding; something Harper is keen to encourage in order to get kids ‘hooked on history” – Click here to read in full.
Kids’ Book Review, June 2018
“Glyn Harper, a highly respected military historian, has given the perfect mix of narrative and history, as he tells the story in the first person. There is also an informational resource in the back of the book, for those wanting to know more about the Vietnamese War.” Click here to read in full.
Missy Jenny’s Classroom, June 2018
“Glyn harper, author of the recently published picture book My Grandfather’s War, has kindly agreed to be our very first author interviewee! Glyn offers an intriguing insight into his writing process and thoughts.” – Click here to read in full.
The Daily Telegraph, June 2018
“A thoughtful exploration of the lingering cost of war and the PTSD so many soldiers have been forced to endure.” – Click here to read in full.
The Bottom Shelf Edu Blog, May 2018
“Few picture books about the Vietnam War have been written for young readers, and yet it is a period of our history that is perhaps having the greatest impact on our nation and its families in current times. Apart from the personal impact on families as grandfathers, particularly, continue to struggle with their demons. Together, Harper and Cooper have created a sensitive, personal and accessible story that needs to be shared, its origins explored and understanding generated. Lest We Forget.” – Click here to read in full.
Blue Wolf Reviews review article
“This is such a topical issue, where many children today have no idea of the turmoil and sacrifices their Grandparents went through. It is beautifully and sensitively told. The soft colours of the illustrations reinforce the gentle story and give a safe and warm feeling to the book. The text is well placed on light coloured backgrounds, and set in small blocks. The story is a great way to introduce the notion of a family’s involvement in war. “ Click here to read in full.
Just Kid’s Lit review article
“…emanates a strong sense of homeliness and reassurance that young children will quickly respond to. Bigger than Yesterday, Smaller than Tomorrow opens up pathways to conversations about feelings of growing up yet still being small. It encourages some risk-taking and autonomy with the comfort of knowing there is safety and a place of belonging that is never too far away.” Click here to read in full.
Dogs Victoria Magazine review article
“…covers in a child friendly way, the story of a child and her grandfather and her quest to find the cause of his unhappiness.”
The Listening Post magazine article
“As the child of two veterans, I found the subject matter to be difficult. When the protagonist, Sarah, describes her grandfather’s moods, it hit pretty close to home. While the topic is Vietnam, the overall theme could easily be applied to more recent conflicts. I am sure many children of veterans would appreciate this book and perhaps gain a little understanding about mental health issues.” Click here to read.
Midwest Book Review review article
“This is a sensitive exploration of the lingering cost of war and of the PTSD so many returned servicemen experience.” Click here to read.
Ladies in Racing review article
“…a sensitive exploration of the lingering cost of war.” Click here to read.