Young writers tackle World War II |

Young writers tackle World War II

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyEmma Ouimette, right, shows a picture from a a kid's book she wrote about World War II to student Valeria Rivero and 10th Mountain Division Dick Over at the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame in Vail.

VAIL ” A is for aircraft, B is for baby boom, C is for Coca Cola, and D is for D-series, so says “War Peace and ABCs,” a children’s book written by student Ashley Atencio.

Read further, and you’ll learn all sorts of tidbits about World War II, all easily digestible for a second grader.

You might learn that the D-series was a harsh winter training undergone by 10th Mountain Division soldiers at Camp Hale. You’d learn that Coca Cola was a nickname for Guerciola, Italy, where 10th Mountain Division soldiers stayed on breaks.

“War, Peace and ABCs” is one of several children’s books written by students at Minturn Middle School this past school year. The stories come from their imaginations, but the settings and details come from their extensive research on World War II and the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale.

And on Tuesday, many of these books became an official part of the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum in Vail Village. Many of the eighth graders who wrote and illustrated the books last year presented the books to the museum and to two 10th Mountain Division veterans.

“We have all ages that come to the museum, so many children and grandchildren,” said museum director Susie Tjossem. “But all the other books are for adults.”

Tjossem hopes that having books like these in the museum will encourage kids to look into their family history and ask grandparents about their experiences in times of war, she said.

The students spent hours researching their stories. They took hut trips and heard first hand accounts of life at Camp Hale from veterans. They illustrated the books, wrote the stories and had them hard bound.

Krista Norris wrote a story called “Gone for Too Long,” which follows the letters that two best friends wrote to each other

“Nothing had come between them, nothing until the war,” she writes of their relationship.

In her story, Kevin, a great skier, trains with the 10th mountain division as Maggie works in a weapons factory at home. They write letters when possible, but Kevin has to go long periods without writing back. Maggie hears troubling news on the radio and waits nervously to hear back from her dear friend.

It has a happy ending though. On that day Kevin does return, he hands Maggie a diamond ring and asks her to marry him.

In “Trouble on Homestake Peak” written by Emma Ouimette, a photographer named Conner sets out to document the D-Series. When he’s hospitalized for snowblindess, he can no longer do his job, but a group of soldiers find his camera in the snow and finish the job for him.

“Their imagination is something we think is phenomenal,” said veteran Dick Over. “We’re honored that the children would do something like this.”

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or

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