When the Guns Fall Silent by James Riordan

Recommended by Laura Aldridge (@lauracurranbun)

Form and genre: prose, war fiction, football

Length: 176 pages

Summary: Two football loving best friends are called to join the efforts of WW1. The story follows their experiences of fighting in the war, and culminates in their participation of the Christmas Day Truce football match. Includes a variety of writing forms such as poetry, letters and news articles.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Contains some offensive language and graphic descriptions of War violence and scenes. We taught it with Y7 with a carefully crafted cold read guide that omitted the worst of the language and the most gruesome of descriptions.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: Told with flashback, so good for teaching narrative structure.
Also, each chapter starts with a war poem, and there are different writing forms such as newspaper articles, diaries and letters so there’s lots of scope for exploring writing format. Link to WW1 and the Christmas Day Truce great for cultural links and cross curricular links to history etc. Good way to introduce war poetry as part of power/conflict clusters at KS4.

Other useful information: Book Trust gives this book a reading interest of 11 years+ and a reading age of 13 years+