Author(s): Michael Morpurgo
A deeply personal and tender story of war, peace and those who are left behind. One hundred years after the war to end all wars, Jacko's descendants discover his notebook and the untold stories tucked in its pages.
"This war is a nightmare that one day I shall wake from and then forget. And if I don't wake, then you shall never know. I don't want you ever to know."
No one seems to know where the scruffy tin hat came from - just that it is very old, from some war or other long ago. To young Michael and his family it has its uses today: as a child's toy, a feeding bowl for the hens, a hanging basket... Then Michael discovers that it belonged to his great-great-grandfather, "Our Jacko", who lost his life at Ypres in 1915. As the boy digs deeper, he finds the young soldier's diary and learns more about his forgotten ancestor - husband, father, poet, actor - who died so tragically young. And it becomes clear exactly how Our Jacko should be commemorated.
For as long as he can remember, Michael’s family has had an old tin soldier’s hat with a bullet hole in it. Michael hates that hat; he hates thinking about the soldier who died in some far-away long-ago war.
Fourteen year old Michael is a staunch pacifist and despises anything to do with war. When his history teacher announces a class trip to the battle fields of Belgium, Michael reluctantly starts to dig into his family history to trace the owner of that old helmet. He discovers the very human story of his own great-great grandfather - and through his long lost diary and letters home, we learn about Jacko’s love of Shakespeare and acting.
Michael Morpurgo is a master story teller and is the author of War Horse, among other war-related books. This is an extremely moving short story about remembering the soldiers who never came home. It is beautifully illustrated by David Gentleman. Although essentially a picture book, it is aimed at readers ten and older.