World War II Books for Kids

We had such a great time learning about World War II.  We found so many great books that we just fell in love with.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well most of these books handled such difficult topics as concentration camps and the plight of the Jewish people.  They were filled with stories of helpers, beautiful and touching illustrations, and facts.

Here is a list of some of our favorite World War II books for use with elementary aged children:

1.  Baseball Saved Us-- I wanted my boys to be aware that the United States was not perfect either and they needed to know that we set up camps too essentially treating all Japanese Americans as enemies.  This book explained what life was like on the camps and how baseball helped give them some meaning.

2.  Irena's Jars of Secrets-- Irena Sendler helped smuggle Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto.  She kept a detailed list of the children's names and the new christian names she reassigned to them before sending them off to live with other families or orphanages in other countries.  Afraid they might be discovered she kept the names in jars and buried them in her back yard.

3.  Ireand Sendler add the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto-- This book went into just a bit more detail about the dangers she faced, how she smuggled the children out and WHY she separated young children from their parents.

4.  Star of Fear/ Star of Hope-  The story of one young girl in France who is confused by the disappearance of her best friend during the German occupation.

5. The Little Ships; The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk-- This book was all about the rescue of more than 500,000 soldiers who were trapped on a peninsula in France, surrounded by German troops, and facing defeat.  So many little ships came together and formed a rescue party.

6. The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark-- This story is a legend and yet we loved hearing about how King Christian X wanted to keep all the Danes safe from harm from the Nazis.  So he too began wearing the Star and encouraged his people to do the same; resisting the Nazi's and saving most of it's Jewish population.

7. Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story-- We loved this true story of Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who wrote thousands of visas for Jewish against his country's orders because he believed it was the right thing to do.  This story was so moving, touching and inspiring.

8. Luba: The Angel of Bergen- Belsen-- Luba is a prisoner inside one of the concentration camps when she find a bunch of orphaned children who need help.  Determined to save them she smuggles clothes and food to them; getting all the other woman in her barracks to keep the secret as well. She does manage to keep them all safe until the camp is liberated.

9. I survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor-- This chapter book was so well loved by my boys that I have actually read it a few times.  Told from the point of view of a young boy living in Hawaii he survives the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  His mother is a nurse at the base and once the bombing starts he heads to the base to try and find her.

10. Voices of Pearl Harbor-- Brief narratives told from various perspectives tell the story of Pearl Harbor.  The story is told from several view points (16 of them to be exact)-- a Japanese mother watching her son go off to war, an island native watching the fleet show up, a nurse, and various soldiers and officers from both sides.  The book even shows a young girl visiting the memorial with her grandfather in 2001.  It does a great job of showing the overreaching effects of war.

11. Danger in the Darkest Hour-- This Magic Tree House book is a bit longer and filled with more facts than the other Magic Tree House books.  This super edition find both Jack and Annie parachuting into Normandy, France behind enemy lines to help Kathleen who has been working for the resistance.

12.  Pearl Harbor: Ready to Read-- An illustrated chapter book that looks at the facts leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and then takes readers through the actual bombing.

13.  The Harmonica-- When the Nazi's invade Poland this boy is sent to one camp while his parents are sent to another.  All he has to remember them by is his harmonica.  This powerful story is based on a true survivor story and the power of music.

14.  The Bracelet-- Sent to an interment camp, this girl soon realizes she has lost the bracelet her best friend made her.  Distraught and upset over everything that his happening she soon realizes that she will always remember her friends with or without her bracelet.  I just loved how this book really made us look at the treatment of Japanese Americans from the point of a young Japanese American.  My boys could not imagine being forced to leave their home behind.

15.  I survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944-- This chapter book is told from the perspective of a young Jewish boy who manages to escape the ghetto with his little sister.  It's suspenseful and full of action.  

 Pin for later:


  1. Replies
    1. Thank for stopping by to check it out. We truly loved these books. But I'm such a sucker for anything about World War II.

  2. Baseball Saved Us and the I Survived books are some of our favorites. I'll have to check out Ireand Sendler add the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto.

    1. There are just so many great books out there and I honestly had no idea until I started homeschooling my children and really looking. I'm so glad I get to read all these books I missed as a kid!

  3. What an awesome list! It's hard to find books on this topic that aren't too graphic. You did a great job finding some good ones :)

    1. Thank you! It took me a few nights of searching to pull them altogether but it was well worth it!

  4. You know I need to read these myself first. Our school's curriculum included Indian History, not World History and so my knowledge abt it is so poor. sheesh.

    Excellent List! Have tweeted & pinned to the Practical Mondays :)

    1. I certainly learned a lot; It's amazing to me how much I learn teaching my kids (history in particular).... I'm not sure if the school skimmed over a lot of it or if I was just not interested in it and didn't retain much.

  5. Love this list! I also love Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot" by Michael O. Tunnel... it would be another great one for this list!

    1. OH I'll have to check that one out; we never heard of that one!

  6. Great list with some I do t have! Will have to remedy that. There are so many wonderful books set in WWII.

  7. I think this is a great resource for home school teachers and public school educators. I know my daughter is about to study this era in school next week. Thanks for sharing on Literacy Musing Mondays.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Favorite TV Shows Growing Up in the 80's and early 90's

Throwing a Fabulous 70th Birthday Party at the Last Minute

Things That Make Me Laugh