Tag archives for World War II
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is a memoir of a young girl’s life in hiding during the Holocaust.
It is World War II and the Nazis are persecuting Jews all over Europe. Thirteen year old Anne Frank, her elder sister Margot, father, Otto, and mother, Edith are a Jewish family living in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. In July, 1942, when tensions rise, the Frank family goes into hiding. They hide in the Secret Annex, a three-story space of small rooms and stairways. The entrance to the Secret Annex is hidden by a moveable bookshelf. With eight people sharing limited space and supplies, quarrels are persistent in the tense atmosphere. Amidst this, Anne finds her diary as a source of comfort and shares her feelings with this friend whom she calls Kitty. Anne’s last diary entry is dated August 1 st, 1944. Three days later, on August 4th, the Gestapo arrest all the Annex members due to an anonymous tip. Read this tragic story to find out who lives on and who perishes.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is an intriguing book which gives a detailed insight into the struggles and hardships Jews faced during the Holocaust. Since it is in a diary form and vividly portrays the families’ day to day struggles, the reader feels as though they are in the Secret Annex. The information in the end explains to the reader about the fate of each character in the concentration camps. This can also serve as an excellent primary source in research projects about the Holocaust.
BOOK NAME: War Stories: True Stories from the First & Second World Wars
AUTHOR: Paul Dowswell
I have always had a passion for history but sometimes it can be a challenge to find history books suited for my age. You know what I mean, I’d find a gargantuan book that would put me to sleep in seconds. Well, I found a book that is perfect for anyone who wants to learn about the First and Second World Wars, or just wants to read about some cool true stories. This book explained both world wars very well so even if you already know a lot about them, you would still get a good understanding of what went on.
The stories had a nice variety and wonderful illustrations to start each one. Each story was very inspiring in its own way. I especially liked the one about when Christmas came on the front lines. Apparently all the soldiers in the trenches really wanted to celebrate. So the two opposing sides spontaneously came together to sing Christmas carols and play games. This story shows how with mutual understanding, obstacles can be overcome further conflict possibly prevented. I also really liked how they put the outcomes of the wars into perspective and they truly affected the people, the countries, and how it continues to affect all of us today.
This book is suitable for anyone who loves history and wants to learn more about it. Itmakes history fun, interesting, and easy to understand for kids and just about anyone else who picks it up. I really recommend this book for any kid. Happy reading!
Night, by Elie Wiesel, is a heart-breaking memoir about his tragic times in the Nazi concentration camps.
Elie Wiesel is a 13 year old Jewish boy growing up in the village of Sighet located in Hungary. It is 1943 in the midst of the Holocaust, yet the Jewish families in Sighet believe that there is nothing to fear about Hitler and that the situation is not as bad as it sounds. But, one ordinary day in 1944, the Germans appear in Sighet and Elie knows that his life will change forever. Once at the concentration camp of Birkenau, Elie is separated from his mother and sisters, and his only family member with him is his father. Together, the two endure laborious work and starvation thrown upon them by the brutal Gestapo. Their only wish is that they do not get separated and to avoid selection. Through many tiring marches to different concentration camps, will Elie and his father manage to stay together?
The tragedy and history in Night is suitable for middle school and high school kids. Elie Wiesel brings out the inhumanity he faced in the camps, making this book a good primary source on the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel even uses lots of similes, metaphors, and foreshadowing to portray the situation. When he says, “We can’t let them kill us like that, like cattle in the slaughterhouse,” (31), I was shocked at how the mass murders occurred in the crematorium and learned that the prisoners were surrounded by death everywhere. This book truly passes the word that history must not repeat itself–genocides like the Holocaust should never happen again.
BOOK NAME: Elephant Run
AUTHOR: Roland Smith
Nick Freestone is a young teen living in a time when the world is at war. Due to the fact that the city he resides in, London, is being bombed by German bombers constantly, Nick’s mother decides to send him off to Burma where his father manages a teak plantation. Nick feels that he will be safe in Burma halfway around the world and is ready to learn about the world of mahouts (elephant handlers) and teak harvesting. At the plantation, he befriends Mya, a girl his age, and the legendary elephant monk Hilltop.
Everything seems to fare well for Nick until the day the Japanese invade the country. Japanese troops overrun the plantation and hold the villagers hostage. Nick’s father and several other plantation workers are sent off to a labor camp while the rest (including Nick) are held in captivity at the plantation. As Nick adapts to harsh life in the Japanese-occupied plantation, he is forced to play the role of servant and suffers from the abuse of Bukong, the plantation’s former chef who is a Burmese collaborator with the Japanese. Eventually, he and Mya cannot tolerate the Japanese occupation of the country any longer and secretly plan to escape the plantation and rescue their imprisoned family members with the assistance of Hilltop. The two know that escape is nearly impossible. Japanese soldiers control the entire countryside and the jungle wilderness is an inhospitable place. Despite the risk of capture and punishment, nothing will stop Nick and Mya as they embark on a dangerous journey to free themselves from the Japanese.
Elephant Run by Roland Smith is one of the best books he has ever written that is intended for younger audiences. The book combines history, cultural studies, and nature, and is a unique book with something for everyone. Elephant Run takes an in-depth look at Burma during WWII and tells the story of Nick’s experiences living in a wartime Japanese-occupied Burma. I appreciate the fact that Smith examines an uncommon, “backwater” front of the war that is not as studied as the other famous fronts of the Second World War. The story’s background settings will allow readers to know what life was like for the Burmese as they were subjugated and dominated by the Japanese including labor conditions and the dangers of disobeying the military authorities. Roland Smith’s book also takes a fascinating look at the culture and wildlife of Burma. He accurately describes the clothes that the Burmese wear (skirt-like clothing known as a Longyi), the diverse wildlife of the country, the inside of a traditional Burmese home, the trade of a mahout (elephant handler), and other aspects of Burma.
I especially enjoyed the plot, which was fraught with suspense, action, and memorable characters. I’m pretty sure that Elephant Run could be made into a film, because the action never seemed to cease for even a moment! Elephant Run is an excellent read for any historical fiction fans, and I’d give it a 9.5/10. This book is simply brilliant and creative, and will not fail to satisfy!
BOOK NAME: Code Talker
AUTHOR: Joseph Bruchac
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac is a memoir of one Navajo’s true life which is filled with pride, humiliation, and struggle.
Ned Begay is only a 6 year old Navajo boy when he leaves his parents to go to a boarding school, where he learns the ways of the white people. A few years later, America is whisked into World War II and bilingual Navajos are desperately needed. Courageous Ned signs up for the Marines and is engrossed with a confidential job of a code talker. He learns and helps add to a special Navajo code, on which the lives of thousands of Americans depend on during this war. Ned succeeds with this challenge and faces many dangerous battles in the Pacific while radioing back messages in the Navajo code. Ned, along with his fellow Navajo code talkers, uses his native tongue to protect his beloved country.
This amazing novel which brings out Navajo culture and traditions would be enjoyed by middle school kids. I like how this book depicts the Pacific side of World War II. The descriptions of the war scenes are detailed. However, the violence does not go too much in depth, so it is still pleasant to read. Readers will be astounded with what a big role the Navajos played in the war and how their special code worked. There are many examples of words in the Navajo code giving readers an insight into the code and elevating the excitement.
Sylvia Mendez never imagined that she would be forbidden to attend Westminster Elementary School because of her Mexican ancestry. Aki Munemitsu never imagined that she would be forced to go to an internment camp because of her Japanese ancestry. And most of all, both girls never imagined that their worlds would one day collide.
In this book, which is based on a true story, Sylvia and Aki both face different challenges during World War II. Sylvia’s family moves to an asparagus farm that they are renting. Sylvia’s father, Mr. Mendez, wants her and her brothers to attend the closest school to where they live, Westminster Elementary School. Yet he is told that because his children are of Mexican descent, they must enroll at Hoover Mexican School, quite a distance from where they live. Aki Munemitsu lives on an asparagus farm and attends Westminster Elementary school. But when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Aki and her family are forced to go to an internment camp and abandon their farm. That’s when the Mendez family rents the farm.
One day, when Sylvia accompanies her father to the internment camp to deliver the rent payment to the Munemitsu family, she meets Aki and sees how terrible life is for the Japanese-American people. The girls become friends, and send letters to each other. At the same time, Mr. Mendez goes to court against Westminster Elementary School for its segregation against Mexican-American children. Will he convince the court that segregation in schools is wrong?
This is a great book! Many kids look at a book and say, “If it’s history, then I’m not reading it.” Yet although this book is based on history, it is amazing. I would recommend it to anyone ages nine and up. Sylvia and Aki taught me so much about the history of our country and of the injustices that went on during World War II.
BOOK NAME: Number the Stars
AUTHOR: Lois Lowry
As Denmark surrendered to Germany during the war in 1940, life became harder for the Danish Jews. It was 1943. Annemarie Johansen and her Jewish neighbor Ellen Rosen were best friends. Annemarie had a little sister Kristi, and she had another sister Lise, who died in an accident two years earlier. Her parents never told her what had really happened to Lise. Ellen, the Jewish girl, was an only child.
Soon, the Germans started capturing Danish Jews and relocating them. Ellen came to live with Annemarie and the rest of the Johansens, and pretended to be part of their family. Peter, the boy who was originally engaged to Lise, helped hide Ellen’s parents in a safer place. It was very dangerous for a non-Jewish family to hide Jews in their homes. If they were caught by the Germans, they too would be killed! But even though times were tough for both families, through much courage, Annemarie managed to save her friend.
When the war ended, Annemarie found out that Peter was a member of a group that tried to destroy the Germans, and he was killed. That’s when the truth is uncovered about Lise. Lise was also part of that group, and the Germans had caught her, too. Annemarie decided to wear Ellen’s necklace with the Jewish star, until she sees her friend again.
I really enjoyed this book. The character I think I am most like is Ellen, because I am Jewish, just like her character was. I follow all the traditions she does in the book. I also loved Annemarie’s character, because I really admire what a great friend she was.
BOOK NAME: A Faraway Island
AUTHOR: Annika Thor
TRANSLATOR: Linda Schenk
During the time of World War II, children were sent off to other families in safer countries so they could be protected. Nellie and Stephie were just two of the girls that had to leave their home in Germany. They were separated into different foster families across the street from each other in a little Swedish town. Nellie, who was younger was getting along with her new life fine. She made friends and had gotten used to the different culture and language. Not so much for Stephie. The kids picked on her for being Jewish and she felt like this wasn’t her real home. She was especially worried for her parents, who were trying to get their tickets into America where they would all live a new and better life. Both girls don’t know what will happen next or how long the war or their foster life will last.
It is hard for me to find a book that I’m willing to actually reading in my spare time or even say I enjoy. This was one of the few books I loved! I liked reading about a girl who lives during the time of War World II. It wasn’t a completely boring book either, which I find rare. The book did get a little emotional when the girls didn’t know how long it would be until they got to see their parents again. When I read about Stephie, the main character, being embarrassed I could relate that to my own life. She had a little sister that she had to take care of and I know how that feels because I have two little brothers that I feel are my responsibility to take care of when my parents aren’t around. This was a really good book and sometime in the future I know I will read the sequels to it!
BOOK NAME: The Book Thief
AUTHOR: Markus Zusak
Liesel Maminger is a thief. She has a habit of picking up books and taking them…for good. The Nazi book-burnings are where she is the most successful–she justifies that taking just one book won’t make a big difference. With the help of her accordion-playing foster Papa, Liesel learns to read. She feeds her soul with books and uses them to create a better world for herself and family.
I think the Jew that lives in Liesel’s basement, Max is my favorite character. The love he has for Liesel is just amazing. Max shows his fatherly love for Liesel by doing simple things, such as writing her a short letter, and she does the same in return. I like how Liesel’s foster mother’s personality unfolds; she acts bitter and mean, yet inside she is really kind and loving. One thing I don’t appreciate is how she curses at her daughter. The characters were all so different, but combined all of them made this book more than memorable.
This book was just flat-out amazing. It was well written and the author was incredibly descriptive! I’ve written a review on his other book, I Am The Messenger, and that one was just as superb. This author writes great books for young adults and teens.
Markus Zusak wrote this book from death’s point of view, so at times it was a bit complicated and confusing. Honestly, there were a few parts where I just read a whole page over again to understand it. I strongly suggest teens interested in reading this book to look up a sample page from the first chapter online before purchasing. I had to stop at times and let parts of the book sink in, but I also think that’s why I have truly loved it so much.