Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 2. April 1997. Page 3.

Written by Carol Hurst. Edited by Rebecca Otis.

This issue of the Children's Literature Newsletter is sponsored by:
Carol Hurst, Consultants. Storytelling and language arts for your workshop, conference and classroom. ___________________

World War II, Nonfiction and Fiction

There is no shortage of good fiction and nonfiction for World War II.


Penny Colman's Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Homefront in WW II (Hardcover ordering info. Library binding ordering info.) This book abounds with photographs and posters which help to illustrate and illuminate the time with a concentration on the war effort provided by women.

Ken Mochizuki's Baseball Saved Us (Hardcover ordering info. Paperback ordering info with cover art. Spanish Hardcover ordering info. Spanish paperback ordering info.) is a very accessible picture book about the Japanese internment camp and the role that baseball played in diverting and sustaining the prisoners.

Eleanor Coerr's story of the tragedy of Sadako has two book forms. It is a short novel Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes based on the facts (Hardcover ordering info. Paperback ordering info with cover art. Spanish paperback ordering info. Grades 3-6) and a picture book Sadako with illustrations by Ed Young (Library binding ordering info. Grades 3-8). Both books concern the effects of the bombing of Hiroshima on a surviving child later stricken with leukemia. There is also a documentary film about Sadako narrated by Liv Ullman.


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Lois Lowry's Autumn Street (Paperback ordering info with cover art. Hardcover ordering info. Grades 4-8) is the partially autobiographical tale of life in a small town in central Pennsylvania during the war years. It's also a story about racism and the death of an innocent child.

Michelle Magorian's Goodnight, Mr. Tom (Library binding ordering info. Paperback ordering info with cover art. Grades 5-9) is a lengthy and challenging novel but well worth the effort. Mr. Tom has lived by himself in the tiny village in Wales since the death of his wife and child and he has no wish for any company, let alone that of a child. Yet when the evacuee from the London bombing is forced upon him, he becomes totally involved in saving this child -- not from the bombing but from the clutches of his abusive mother.

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Grades 4 - 7
Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn. Novel. 224 pages.
Find this book: Local Bookstore, Amazon, B&N icon

In 1944, while her brother is overseas fighting in World War II, eleven-year-old Margaret gets a new view on the school bully Gordy, when she finds him hiding his brother Stuart, an army deserter, and decides to help him. When Margaret's own brother is killed in the war, her feelings toward Stuart become more complicated. Read More in our Featured Book Teachers Guide with discussion questions, extension activities, related books and links.

Sook Nyul Choi's The Year of Impossible Goodbyes (Hardcover ordering info. Paperback ordering info with cover art. Grades 5-9) is a novel set in Korea during the time of Japanese occupation. Ten year old Sookan's narrative of survival during that time and the Communists' subsequent takeover in 1945 is frank and compelling. (See also A Single Shard which is set in twelfth-century Korea.

Marie McSwigan's Snow Treasure (Paperback ordering info with cover art. Grades 4-9) has been around a long time, but it remains an exciting story in which children take millions of dollars worth of gold from the Nazis in occupied Norway. The story is based on truth.

Michael Morpurgo's Waiting for Anya (Library binding ordering info. Paperback ordering info with cover art.) is set in occupied France and concerns the efforts of the town to hide some Jews from the Nazis.

Jill Paton Walsh's Fireweed (Paperback ordering info.) is a survival story about a boy and a girl who meet after their families have been lost in the bombing of London.

Laura Williams' Behind the Bedroom Wall (Hardcover ordering info. Paperback ordering info.) also concerns the hiding of Jews. Korinna is a loyal German child, part of the Hitler Jungmadel, who discovers that her parents have been hiding Jews behind her bedroom wall.briel Heater of the tragedy of the Jews in Europe.

Bette Greene's The Summer of My German Soldier (Paperback ordering info with cover art. Grades 6-9) is a different viewpoint on the war, that of German prisoners of war in America. A young Jewish girl befriends one of the German prisoners much to the disgust of her family.

Two novels by Yochiko Uchida, Journey to Topaz (Paperback ordering info.) and Journey Home (Simon & Schuster, 1982 ISBN 0 689 70755 X. Hardcover ordering info. Paperback ordering info.) , Grades 5-9, tell the story of Yuki and her family who are sent to Topaz, the relocation camp in Utah after being disposessed in California. The first book concerns their experiences there and the second covers their return to California only to find their home gone and their father unemployable.


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