The Unknown Soldier
Jess Brallier, author
Jess M. Brallier was first a publisher, a role he held at Funbrain, Poptropica, Planet Dexter, and Family Education Network. He is now the author of over 30 books for children and adults, including Who Was Albert Einstein, The Olphabet, and Tess's Tree.
Read more about Jess.
Jamie Peterson, illustrator
Jamie Peterson has been painting since childhood as a way to experience the beauty of the world. She is a veteran of the US Air Force and a graduate of the Air Force Academy. Her work has been exhibited in many galleries in the US and Europe. This is her first picture book.
Read more about Jamie.
- Coming soon!
School Library Journal
Jack and his family take a vacation to Washington, D.C., exploring the many monuments and museums on their tour. When they go to a cemetery with rows and rows of graves, Jack thinks it is boring until they come to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A guard walks 21 steps in front of the grave, stops for 21 seconds, and then continues her march. Jack is amazed that this tomb is guarded all day, every day. Peterson’s soft watercolor illustrations show detailed views of the area and capture the emotions felt by Jack’s family. The closing pages include further explanation of the tomb, who it honors, and the significance of the number 21.
VERDICT A beautiful and emotional look into an important memorial to soldiers who have lost their lives. Readers will gain respect for those who served and appreciate their bravery.
What is unknown at times reveals itself without even being known. In this present-day picture book, Jack discovers plenty of significant history when he goes on a vacation with his parents to Washington, D.C. Jack and his parents visit iconic memorials, buildings, and museums. They enjoy a boat ride on the famous Potomac River. When, on the last day of vacation, they visit Arlington National Cemetery, Jack at first expresses boredom. His parents take him to a part of the cemetery where a soldier marches twenty-one steps and then pauses for twenty-one seconds repeatedly back and forth. Jack observes that it is hot out and the soldier is in a dark blue uniform while he has on shorts and a t-shirt. Jack learns that the soldier guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Later in the day, at other important memorials, Jack’s parents reflect and share personal stories about family members. Once at the airport to fly back home, Jack remembers the visit to the unknown tomb when he sees a lone soldier sitting on a bench. At that moment, Jack and the United States soldier exchange an appreciation for each other. Jack’s simple gesture of thanks to the “unknown” soldier gives the soldier an opportunity to be thankful for what he then knows is an appreciation for the country, and the young people, he has made a vow to serve. The final page of the picture book includes a complete history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Young readers will learn an important part of American history through the experiences of a relatable character.
Page count: 48
11 x 8 1/2