Wednesday, May 2, 2018

World War II Nonfiction for Young Readers


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Today for our newest contribution to our World War II Wednesday series, we have another fabulous bunch of nonfiction books all written for young readers (but great for older readers too). This collection covers a wide variety of subjects and experiences.  
 



Sachiko: A Nagaski Bomb Survivor Story by Caren Stelson
Sachiko Yasui was six when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagaski on August 9, 1945. As a six-year-old child, Sachiko had only known war, and her earliest memories are of bomb raids and rations. She lived in Nagaski with her parents, uncle, two older brothers, younger sister, and baby brother. On the day the bomb dropped, Sachiko's family was less than one mile from the hypocenter. The devastation of that day was just the beginning for Sachiko's family. They would suffer from the effects of the bomb and its radiation for years. This is the story of how one event changed Sachiko's life forever. It's a story of trauma but one of hope and healing as well. The book itself is quite beautiful, with many gut-wrenching photographs and sidebars that help explain the events of World War II. Out October 1, 2016 from Carolrhoda Books.

When We Were Shadows by Janet Wees
This book tells the true story of Walter and his Jewish family. In the early years of Hitler's rise, Walter's family fled to the Netherlands, only to be forced into hiding when the Nazis invaded years later. This story was so fascinating and harrowing. Walter and his parents are separated from Walter's sister and grandmother who are too physically infirm to weather the harsh living conditions of life on the run. Walter and his parents are moved from place to place with a number of narrow escapes. I was very interested to learn about the make-shift camp set up by the Resistance in a state park. Walter's story is one of a childhood spent in fear and with extreme limitations, but steadied by the constancy of his parents and the bravery of the Resistance fighters who put their lives on the line to help so many people. I'm so glad that Walter was willing to share his story. Out April 18, 2018 from Second Story Press. Review copy from NetGalley

Spy on History: Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army by Enigma Alberti
The Spy on History books are a great way to engage young readers. With plenty of illustrations and a mystery for the readers to solve, the story will keep young readers interested. I've been fascinated by the Ghost Army ever since I heard about it. The 603rd Camouflage Engineers, better known as the Ghost Army, concocted elaborate ruses to fool the Germans, impersonating full divisions with fake tanks, artillery, and broadcast sounds of an army on the move or at rest. The Ghost Army helped pave the way for the invasion at Normandy and protected the troops as they battled towards Germany by misdirecting and distracting the Germans. Out January 18, 2018 from Workman Publishing Company. Review copy from NetGalley. 

Seized by the Sun: The Life and Disappearance of World War II Pilot Gertrude Tompkins by James W. Ure
This book is a biography written for young readers of Gertrude "Tommy" Tompkins, the only one of the 38 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) confirmed or presumed dead who is still missing. James W. Ure tells the story of Gertrude's life, from her childhood in New Jersey, her struggle with a speech impediment, her love of flying to her training with the WASP. Ure also writes about the ongoing search for Gertrude's plane, presumed to have gone down in the Santa Monica Bay. After reading many fictional accounts of WWII women aviators, it was very interesting to read about a real WASP and the details of her training, work, and friendships with fellow pilots. Out July 1, 2017 from Chicago Review Press. Review copy from NetGalley.

The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb
At the end of World War II SS officer Adolf Eichmann vanished. He had been a key figure in the segregation into ghettos and subsequent deportation of millions of Jews and was wanted for trial. Bascomb's book is the story of the network of people who tracked him down more than fifteen years later so that he could stand trial for his crimes. Many survivors of the Holocaust were involved in tracking down Eichmann over those fifteen years, and there were many starts and stops. In the end, the Israeli national intelligence agency was responsible for Eichmann's capture. Bascomb's book is a fast paced spy story with some interesting twists. The number of things that nearly went wrong for the Israeli team will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Published 2013 by Arthur A. Levine Books.

Voices from the Second War War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today
This book was first published in England in association with First News, a children's newspaper. The book's foundation is a collection of interviews children conducted with their friends and family who lived through World War II. This is an absolute gem of a book, and I'm so glad that it was published. This collection of the stories of ordinary people who lived through the war is a great way to preserve history. The book groups the interviews into categories, such as evacuated children, D-Day, and The Holocaust. The breadth of the stories gives readers a greater understanding of the various facets of the war, from the tragedies, to the heroics, to the mundanities. Because the interviews were organized in Britain, there is, understandably, greater representation of British war stories, but I was impressed with the variety of experiences and nationalities represented. Out March 20, 2018 in the U.S. from Candlewick Press. Review copy from NetGalley.

Fly Girls: The Forgotten Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by P. O'Connell Pearson
Fly Girls is the story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) that flew for the United States during World War II. Patricia O'Connell Pearson's book is an engrossing and comprehensive look at the work of the WASPs. She chronicles how they began, the assignments they were given, their disbanding, and their fight for militarization in the decades following the war. Pearson includes many remarkable stories, including how Cornelia Fort saw the bombing of Pearl Harbor from her plane and how Dora Dougherty flew the B-29. This book is extremely well-written and well-researched. I really enjoy learning about how women contributed during the war years, and I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone who shares that interest. Out February 8, 2018 from Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers.


More World War II Wednesday posts here.
More History Books for Young Readers here.

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