World War II -- fiction

Author of the Month: Uri Shulevitz

Picture book writer and illustrator Uri Shulevitz came into a world on the brink of a devastating war.  The son of son of Abraham and Szandla (Hermanstat) Shulevitz, Uri (pronounced oo-ree), he was only four years old when German bombs falling on Warsaw drove his Jewish family out of the city and into an eight-year period of travel in exile throughout Europe before finally settling in Paris in 1947, when Uri was twelve years old. 

Hitler's Canary

Sandi Toksvig

Ten-year-old Bamse and his Jewish friend Anton participate in the Danish Resistance during World War II.

9781596432475
Middle School

On the Wings of Heroes

By Richard Peck

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"Davy Bowman’s brother and their dad hung the moon. Dad looks forward to Halloween more than a kid, and Davy’s brother, Bill, flies B-17s. Davy adores these two heroes and tries his best to follow their lead, especially now. World War II has invaded Davy’s homefront boyhood. There’s an air raid drill in the classroom, and being a kid is an endless scrap drive. Bill has joined up, breaking their dad’s heart. It’s an intense, confusing time, and one that will invite Davy to grow up in a hurry. Still, Richard Peck is a master of comedy, and even in this novel of wartime uncertainty, he infuses his tale with humor: oddballs and rascals and boyhood misadventures alongside the poignant moments."

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For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy

Kimberly Bradley

A teenager transforms from a schoolgirl to a spy in this true story of heroism in wartime. Suzanne David's everyday life is suddenly shattered in 1940 when a bomb drops on the main square of her hometown, the city of Cherbourg, France, killing a pregnant neighbor right in front of her. Until then the war had seemed far away, not something that would touch her or her teenage friends. Now Suzanne's family is kicked out onto the street as German soldiers take over their house as a barracks. Suzanne clings to the one thing she really loves--singing.

9780385729611
High School
Middle School

Boy Who Dated

Susan Campbell Bartoletti

 In October, 1942, seventeen-year-old Helmuth Hübener, imprisoned for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets, recalls his past life and how he came to dedicate himself to bring the truth about Hitler and the war to the German people.  Based on a true story.

9780439680134
High School
Middle School

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

We are all very familiar with the atrocities engineered by Adolph Hitler, but less is heard about the atrocities that occurred at the direction of Joseph Stalin.  Twenty million people were murdered under his leadership.  In the book Between the Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys gives a very compelling account of the Soviet invasion of the country of Lithuania in 1941.  Lists of people who were considered enemies of the state were compliled, and these people were removed from their homes and workplaces.  These people were often professors, teachers, writers, artists, and librarians.  The men were sent to prison and the women and children to forced labor camps--some of which were located in Siberia and the Arctic Circle.  These individuals were separated from family members and forced to live under extremely harsh conditions with none of the comforts of home.  They were not given food or medical attention.  The women and children were shoved into railroad cars and sent away without ever being told where they were going.

The main character in this book is named Lina.  She, her mother, and her younger brother are removed by force from their home and sent to Siberia.  In Siberia, which is harsh enough to begin with, they have to scrounge for anything to eat.  Even one potato becomes a luxury for the prisoners.  Beets become a treat.  The prisoners are forced to dig with shovels which have no handles, and they sleep on the freezing cold floor of a shack.

The English Patient

By Michael Ondaatje

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"With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminates this book like flashes of heat lightning."

Also available on audio and as an Academy Award-winning video.

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Charlotte Gray

By Sebastian Faulks

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It is 1942. London is blacked out, but France is under a greater darkness, as the occupying Nazi forces encroach ever closer in a tense waiting game. Charlotte Gray, a volatile but determined young woman, travels south from Edinburgh. Working in London, she has a brief but intense love affair with an RAF pilot. When his plane is lost over France, she contrives to go there herself to work in the Resistance and to search for him--but then is unwilling to leave as she finds that the struggle for the country's fate is intimately linked to her own battle to take control of her life.

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Footprints on the Horizon

By Stephanie Grace Whitson

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Romance is in the air on the prairie and it latches onto the hearts of a bitter sergeant, a lonely widow, and a broken POW. What seems to be a typical U.S. Army post proves to be anything but regimented daily routine.
Also available as an audiobook to download.

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Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

By Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr

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A nun and a Marine sergeant, stranded on a Pacific island in 1944, hide out from the invading Japanese.
Not rated.
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