Bear on the Homefront
During World War II, 10,000 children from British cities were sent to live with host families in Canada, the United States, and other nations away from the war zone. Bear on the Homefront tells the story of two guest children, Grace and William Chambers, who arrive in Halifax and meet Aileen Rogers, a nurse serving on the homefront. With her is Teddy, the stuffed bear whose real-life trip to the front lines of World War I and back was chronicled in A Bear in War.
Using archival images and Aileen Rogers’ wartime diary, Stephanie Innes and Harry Endrulat piece together William and Grace’s journey by train to their host family’s Winnipeg farm. Readers experience the story through Teddy’s eyes as Aileen, seeing William’s anxiety, lets her stuffed friend stay with the little boy throughout the train ride and, ultimately, throughout the war. Brian Deines’ soulful oil paintings capture the spirit of the war years on the homefront. His expressive art communicates both the loneliness of children separated from their families and the joyful conclusion when Grace, William, and Teddy all return to their homes again.