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Children's Nonfiction Social Activism & Volunteering

What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows?

True Stories of Imagination and Courage

by (author) Heather Camlot

illustrated by Serge Bloch

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2020
Social Activism & Volunteering, Sociology, Violence, Values & Virtues
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 12


What if the impossible were actually possible? What if we turned our dreams into action? What if our imagination could help solve real-world crises, like war, famine, and human rights violations?

Through a series of seemingly whimsical questions, this middle-grade nonfiction book introduces readers to people and organizations that are subverting violence, war, and totalitarian power. What if soldiers refused to carry weapons? What if fighter pilots dropped seeds instead of bombs? What if music could be a creative force for democracy? None of these ideas are impossible—in fact, they are all true historical examples of ideas that have been put into action.

Accessible, engaging text introduces a different question and example on each spread. Evocative conceptual illustrations provide a light-hearted reminder of the power of imagination. This timely book encourages readers to think critically and dare to ask big questions, which might just change the world.

About the authors

HEATHER CAMLOT is the author of the nonfiction What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? and the Skipping Stones Honor Award novels The Other Side and Clutch, the latter of which was named among Kirkus’s Best Middle-Grade Historical Fiction. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has written, edited and translated for various publications, including Quill & Quire, Owl, TV Guide Canada and Style at Home. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Heather Camlot's profile page

Renowned French illustrator SERGE BLOCH has illustrated over three hundred books, and his illustrations regularly appear in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine. His many awards include a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal, France's Baobab Award and the Bologna Ragazzi Award. Serge shares his time between Paris and New York City.

Serge Bloch's profile page


  • Joint winner, Skipping Stones Book Awards
  • Short-listed, Saskatchewan Diamond Willow Award
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens

Editorial Reviews

"This is a very positive and hopeful book that is likely to inspire readers to think about how they can change the world."

Youth Services Book Review

"Such an admirable concept underlies this book, and the important stories remind the reader that there is always more than one answer to something."

School Library Connection

"Each entry illuminates a story of peace and compromise, and shows what can be done when the world is pictured in a hopeful and inspired way."

Sal's Fiction Addiction

"Powerful and inspiring, it’s the perfect middle grade book for a reader that loves both history and social justice."

The Tiny Activist

"The biographical stories of courage and leadership in the face of war, displacement of civilians, persecution and injustice are diverse and engaging."

Canadian Review of Materials

"This salute to people who exemplify peace and reconciliation begins each story with a question."

Publishers Weekly

"Camlot invites readers to visualize soldiers switching pistols for pillows, painted lines for battle lines, and like peaceful exchanges—and for each scenario, describes an actual, thematically related anti-war initiative."


"The stories feature brave people from many different places across the globe, and both the book’s introduction and conclusion encourage readers to ask questions and use their imagination to make the world a better place."

School Library Journal

"An accessible, bite-sized look at powerful change."

Kirkus Reviews

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