5 Minutes for Books: America’s White Table

by Guest

Each November 11, our country acknowledges the sacrifices made by and honor given to our military personnel on Veteran’s Day. For many families, military service is a fact of life for their children, and for others, it’s an abstract concept that might be difficult for young children to comprehend. Margot Theis Raven’s picture book America’s White Table fits the bill in either case, in affirmation or as a resource.

I was personally unaware of the concept of “the white table,” set in military dining halls since the Vietnam War as a remembrance of the service men and women who have been held as prisoners of war or are missing in action. Set with specific meaningful items, the white table holds a special place in the hearts of our soldiers. In this story, three sisters assist their mom in setting a white table in their home for a Veteran’s Day dinner to be shared with their uncle who served in the Vietnam War. Their mother gently explains the concept and tells the story of their uncle’s experience as a prisoner of war. While tackling an obviously heavy subject, this book does so in a compassionate and sensitive manner, conveying the importance without being graphic or political.

Interspersed throughout the book are the first verse lyrics to “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” printed lightly and apart from the story’s text, almost like visual background music. The soft illustrations evoke emotion, and the color palette matches the quiet and reverent tone of the story. In what I’m seeing as a trend with many of the Sleeping Bear Press releases, an informative page appears at the end of the book providing more context and history, which I see as a fantastic springboard for discussions between parents and children after reading the book together.

America’s White Table emphasizes honoring, remembering and respecting our service members, perfect for Veteran’s Day, and every day. The lovely folks at Sleeping Bear Press are offering up three copies for giveaway (U.S. and Canada only, please). To be entered, leave one comment here. Feel free to publicly acknowledge your own loved ones who have honored our country with their service. We’ll announce the winners in the book column next Monday.

5 Minutes for Books staff reviewer Dawn’s own father Grant Courchaine and grandfather William Dery were proud members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army respectively. Family and books are common themes on her blog, my thoughts exactly.

The winner of last week’s book, The Carousel Painter, is #12 Angie.



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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Krista November 9, 2009 at 12:31 am

My dad is a veteran and I didn’t know about this… ‘course he never talks about it either.

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2 Hailey November 9, 2009 at 12:37 am

I have never heard of the white table either. I would love to read this book to find out more!

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3 Katy November 9, 2009 at 2:42 am

How interesting! I’ve never heard of the white table. I’d love to learn more!

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4 JRG November 9, 2009 at 6:25 am

I’m a veteran.

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5 Amagicmommy November 9, 2009 at 6:32 am

This sounds like a great book! My dad was a vetran, he never spoke much of it either.

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6 blueviolet November 9, 2009 at 7:54 am

I’m so intrigued with this!

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7 Heather J. November 9, 2009 at 8:44 am

I’d love to win this to share with my son. My father is a Vietnam veteran and my grandfather is a WWII veteran who landed on Utah Beach on D-Day. My son loves hearing stories from his grandpa and great grandpa, and I think the whole extended family would enjoy reading this book together.

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8 Wendy November 9, 2009 at 9:27 am

I think this book looks wonderful. I would love to share t with my boys. My dad who just passed away in September was a veteran.

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9 Jessica Harwood November 9, 2009 at 10:28 am

My grandpa, who has since passed on, served in WWII. I honestly don’t know much about what he did – he and my father didn’t get along – but I can still say with pride that I have a veteran in my family.

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10 Cathy November 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

This sounds like a very interestig book. I have not heard about the white table and would enjoy reading this book and learning more about the tradition.

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11 Hayley November 9, 2009 at 10:56 am

Being the daughter and wife of a veteran, I’ve known about the white tab;e a long time, but I never knew there was a book! Fantastic!

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12 mommysue November 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Hey I meant to tell you to check out http://www.angeltots.com they have a wonderful portal for parents to build safe and moderated online communities surrounding their children’s childcare activities. Its a great place to share photos, videos, events, and discussions. Check it out!

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13 Benita G . November 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm

My dad was a veteran; my husband is a veteran and yet, I’ve never heard of the white table. Thanks for the opportunity.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

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14 Just Mom November 9, 2009 at 4:43 pm

I have never heard of this either. Married to a Marine (23 years in) and my dad and his dad are both Navy guys. I may have to learn more about this before Wednesday!

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15 Marj M. November 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm

I have never heard of the white table and would love to read the book. I can proudly say I have 2 veteran uncles. God Bless Them all.

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16 KSue November 9, 2009 at 7:27 pm

WOuld love to share this book with my family

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17 Jaye November 10, 2009 at 12:01 am

Wow, I had never heard of this. How fascinating. Can’t wait to read and learn more. God bless those who serve!

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18 Stacy Taylor November 10, 2009 at 9:44 am

We love books. Would love to add this to our collection.

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19 Sandy M November 10, 2009 at 10:08 am

My Dad was a Korean war veteran and I have also never heard of The White Table. I would love to learn more.
sandym204@ gmail dot com

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20 Jennifer Unsell November 10, 2009 at 10:15 pm

My own dad was a veteran. I have read amazing reviews on this book and would love a copy to share with my family.

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21 Shawntele November 11, 2009 at 12:44 am

Sounds like a very interesting book, thanks for the entry.

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22 Heather November 11, 2009 at 3:13 pm

My husband left this morning… headed to Iraq. We have always had a moment of silence at the military balls when they honor “the white table.”

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23 Juli November 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm

I had never heard of this tradition. I would love to add this book to my collection. Both my father and grandfather served in the military. Thanks to all who have served and are continuing to serve our wonderful country providing us with the freedom we have.
juli
uffdauff@msn.com

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24 WInning Readings November 12, 2009 at 11:10 am

Looks like a great book. We went to a Veteran’s Day parade yesterday, and it would be fun to share this book with my daughter, too.

Posted about the giveaway at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2009/11/americas-white-table.html

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

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25 Stacie November 13, 2009 at 10:42 am

Please count me in. My fiance is in the army.

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26 Staci A November 13, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Sounds like a very interesting book. I’d love to share it with my son. My husband served in the Marines until just a few years ago.

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27 Wanda November 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.

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28 Patti Bright November 13, 2009 at 8:31 pm

My father & 4 of 3 of his brothers served during WWII. Each in a different branch of the service :)
plb8156@aol.com

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29 Bethie November 14, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Please enter me. Thanks to all our brave men and woman who keep us safe.

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30 Amber Gibson November 15, 2009 at 10:57 am

My grandpa is a veteran and I am so proud of all he has done to serve our country!

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31 dorothy l November 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

I never heard of the white table before I would love to read more about it

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32 Mellissa C November 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

My father in law and husband are veterans.

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33 Katherine Frazier November 15, 2009 at 12:06 pm

I have never heard of a white table and would love to read this book. My in laws were both WW2 vets Navy and Marines, my father was a Marine and my stepson is currently serving in the Marine Corps.

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34 Susan Smith November 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Looks like a great book

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35 David Patterson November 15, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Looks like an interesting read.

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36 Pamela S November 15, 2009 at 1:03 pm

My father and my father-in-law both were in WWII. My father-in-law was even captured at the Battle of the Bulge and held in a POW camp until the end of the war. Our family is very patriotic and appreciative of everything that service men & women do and sacrifice for our country.

I’ve never heard of the “White Table” but would love to read this book and share it with family members. Thanks so much!

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37 Chrysa November 15, 2009 at 2:14 pm

This looks really interesting. My father-in-law is a veteran of the Korean war as were two of my uncles (now deceased).

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38 Gianna November 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Please enter me :)

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39 Renee C November 15, 2009 at 3:19 pm

My dad is a veteran, as were both of my grandfathers, but I’d never heard of the white table. Would love to read the book.

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40 Nancy November 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm

That is interesting, I have never heard of this before.

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41 Sharon A November 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm

My father in law saw service in WWII and I had not heard of the white table until today. I would like to share this book with others.

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42 Daniel Bates November 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm

I’ve never heard of the white table, thank you for a chance to win a copy

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43 Michelle H. November 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I would love to read about this. I love history.

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44 vicky November 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm

We have many veterans in our family but I have never heard of the white table cloth.

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45 John Ferris November 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I never heard of The White Table, but would like to learn about it.

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46 Linda Peters November 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Must admit I have never heard about this but would like to learn

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47 Cindy Thurman November 15, 2009 at 8:23 pm

I have not heard of it before now – would love to read it and learn more!

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48 Tiffany S. November 15, 2009 at 8:43 pm

I’d love a chance to win this! Thank you!

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49 Mrs. Nellie Collins September 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

My brother served in the Navy 1946-1950. I just recently saw the WHITE TABLE SAT UP TO HONOR VETERANS AT A SERVICE THAT HONORED VETERANS LIVING AND WHO HAD DIED .i WAS SO IMPRESSED !

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50 FERD HAUSBECK January 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm

THE WHITE TABLE CAN IT BE BOUGHT ON DVD?

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