NEW BOOK RELEASE
Middle grade picture book tells true stories of heroism and sacrifice of prisoners of war and missing in action
(St. Paul, MN)—Award-winning independent publisher Elva Resa Publishing is honored to announce the December 7 release of N is for Never Forget: POW-MIA A to Z by Nancy Polette, illustrated by Paul Dillon.
More than one hundred thousand American service members have been captured by an enemy and imprisoned during war. Tens of thousands are still missing. This middle grade picture book tells the true stories of only a few of these brave men and women, but their stories represent the experiences of many others.
Author Nancy Polette has written many books about history for children. Her extensive teaching and writing experience has honed her ability to communicate with young readers, even when telling the difficult stories of war and sacrifice.
“I try to focus on the people who have made fantastic contributions to their fellow men and women,” says Polette, noting that she strives to bring their stories to life in a relatable way.
Paul Dillon’s illustrations for N is for Never Forget were inspired in part by his family history. His father, Richmond Dillon, a ball turret gunner, was taken prisoner during WWII after his B17 was shot down in 1943. The painting on the cover of the book is especially meaningful to the artist.
“I intended to portray the bleak and brutal conditions of Stalag 17B,” he said, “where my dad was a prisoner of war for a year and eight months.”
One of the artist’s favorite interior pages is the Never Forget spread, which includes a gathering of people outside the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum. The same image appears on a limited-edition keepsake dust jacket. Dillon says it is one of his favorites because of his connection to people he painted into the image, and the personal stories they represent that are not told in the book.
“The old guy in the blue jacket in the middle is my dad,” he says. “He’s standing there with his good buddy Charlie Foley, wearing the black hat. Charlie served with the 94th Infantry Division in WWII and was captured at the Battle of the Bulge. He was in Stalag 12A and 11B. He was made to do forced farm labor by the Germans and he would smuggle rutabagas and any other food he could steal, down his pant legs back into the POW camp to help supplement their meager food situation. Dad knew about all this, and once when Charlie was in the hospital Dad smuggled in a 1-pound bag of Hershey Kisses for him. They commandeered two wheelchairs and went off touring the hospital. … The gentleman being hugged by the little girl is Bill Koeln. Bill served with the 30th Infantry Division and was captured near a place called Kaysersberg in northeastern France. He was in Stalag 7A. The red medal he is wearing is the Legion of Honour Medal, the highest honor the French award for combat on French soil.”
Though only a few illustrations incorporate such personal connections, all of Dillon’s paintings for the book are based on surviving artwork, current and historic photographs, and firsthand descriptions of people, places, and events.
It’s fitting, then, that Polette’s narrative begins with Artists whose “artwork reflects the hardships of prison life.” In this book, both artist and author help readers understand those hardships and their impact on history and freedom, while instilling a sense of honor and hope for the future.
Written for ages eight years and older, the book’s engaging format interests readers of all levels. Single lines of text describe each letter’s key message, while longer true stories complement full-page color illustrations. Throughout, the poignant illustrations and stories capture key people, concepts, and memorials in memorable ways suitable for both individual reading and group discussion. In the back of the book, “Topics to Discuss” and “Ways to Honor” sections prompt critical thinking, conversations, and calls to action to develop compassionate leaders of the future. Going beyond a history lesson, the book makes a good pairing for character development and leadership programs.
From Geneva Conventions to Operation Homecoming, Tap Code to Yellow Ribbon and more, N is for Never Forget is a compelling journey through wartime history, honoring the sacrifices of prisoners of war (POWs), those missing in action (MIA), and their families.
About the Author
Nancy Polette has written more than 170 books for youth. An elementary school teacher for thirty years, she also spent thirty-seven years as a professor of education at Lindenwood University and director of the Laboratory School. Her other books include The Spy With the Wooden Leg: The Story of Virginia Hall. Nancy lives in O’Fallon, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.
About the Illustrator
Paul Dillon is an accomplished illustrator and cartoonist whose work has appeared in more than thirty children’s books and a variety of periodicals. Paul is president of the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum, near St. Louis, Missouri. He served in the US Army assigned to the 6th PSYOPS Battalion (ABN), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Paul’s dad, Richmond Dillon, was a World War II B-17 ball turret gunner flying with the 95th Bomb Group based in Horham, England. Shot down in October 1943, Richmond was a POW for twenty months in Stalag 17B.
N is for Never Forget: POW-MIA A to Z will be released December 7, 2017. Limited quantities of first-edition books with keepsake museum jackets are available from the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum in St Louis and online from MilitaryFamilyBooks.com. Regular hardcover edition (without keepsake jackets) available from all other major booksellers.
ELVA RESA PUBLISHING LLC is an independent publisher based in St. Paul, Minnesota, whose mission is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Its primary imprint specializes in books for and about military families. www.ElvaResa.com, www.MilitaryFamilyBooks.com
MEDIA: Please contact Elva Resa PR at 651-357-8770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional resources: NIsForNeverForget.com
Title: N is for Never Forget: POW-MIA A to Z
Author: Nancy Polette
Illustrator: Paul Dillon
Publisher: Elva Resa Publishing
Publication Date: December 7, 2017
Format: 12″ x 9.125″ Hardcover 40 pages
Audience: Ages 8+, grades 4+
Retail Price: $16.95
Category: Middle grade picture book
BISAC: YAN025130 YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION/ History/ Military & Wars;
JNF025130 JUVENILE NONFICTION/ History/ Military & Wars