McEwan, Ian. Rose Blanche (Red Fox, 2004).
During World War II, a young German schoolgirl, Rose Blanche, follows the soldiers when they arrest a boy and discovers a concentration camp in the woods. Thereafter , she takes food to the prisoners until the town is liberated. Ironically, when she travels to the camp on that day she is shot by the soldiers. The oppression of Fascism is shown through the powerful and realistic paintings. In Innocenti's large, meticulously detailed paintings, Rose Blanche is the only brightly colored individual, and her small figure is set against the drab colors of overwhelming buildings and masses of soldiers and townspeople. No skyline is shown until a radiant spring bursts forth at the site of her death after the liberation. Although the story is simply told, it will require interpretation as details such as the concentration camp are not named nor explained, and the death of Rose Blanche is implied but not stated. This is a difficult book to classify, as the text is easy enough for a young child to read alone, and it has the appearance of a picture bookbut the content of the text and illustrations is full of emotional impact and subtlety. (Lorraine Douglas, Winnipeg Public Library, Manitoba, Canada for School Library Journal)
McGowen, Tom. Lonely Eagles and Buffalo Soldiers: African Americans in World War II (Franklin Watts, 1995).
Comprehensive overview of African American military participation in World War II. For students in upper elementary school. Includes very good photographs.
McMahon, Thomas. Principles of American Nuclear Chemistry (University of Chicago Press, 2003).
What was life like for the scientists working at Los Alamos? Thomas McMahon imagines this life through the wide eyes of young Tim McLaurin, the thirteen-year-old son of an MIT physicist who, inspired by a young woman named Maryann, worked on the project. Filled with the sensuous excitement of scientific discovery and the outrageous behavior of people pushed beyond their limits, Principles of American Nuclear Chemistry is a beautifully written coming-of-age story that explores the mysterious connection between love and work, inspiration and history.
Meltzer, Milton. Never to Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust (HarperTrophy, Reprint edition, 1991).
Six million—a number impossible to visualize. Six million Jews were killed in Europe between the years 1933 and 1945. What can that number mean to us today? We can that number mean to us today? We are told never to forget the Holocaust, but how can we remember something so incomprehensible? We can think, not of the numbers, the statistics, but of the people. For the families torn apart, watching mothers, fathers, children disappear or be slaughtered, the numbers were agonizingly comprehensible. One. Two. Three. Often more. Here are the stories of those people, recorded in letters and diaries, and in the memories of those who survived. Seen through their eyes, the horror becomes real. We cannot deny it--and we can never forget.
Meyers, Walter Dean. The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins (Scholastic, 1999).
A seventeen-year-old soldier from central Virginia records his experiences in a journal as his regiment takes part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy and subsequent battles to liberate France.
Millman, Isaac. Hidden Child (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005).
Isaac was seven when the Germans invaded France and his life changed forever. First his father was taken away, and then, two years later, Isaac and his mother were arrested. Hoping to save Isaac’s life, his mother bribed a guard to take him to safety at a nearby hospital, where he and many other children pretended to be sick, with help from the doctors and nurses. But this proved a temporary haven. As Isaac was shuttled from city to countryside, experiencing the kindness of strangers, and sometimes their cruelty, he had to shed his Jewish identity to become Jean Devolder. But he never forgot who he really was, and he held on to the hope that after the war he would be reunited with his parents. After more than fifty years of keeping his story to himself, Isaac Millman has broken his silence to tell it in spare prose, vivid composite paintings, and family photos that survived the war.
Morpurgo, Michael. Waiting for Anya (Mammoth, 2001).
Like the acclaimed Number the Stars, this well-plotted novel features a young Gentile hero battling the Germans in their war against the Jews. As it opens, Jo is guarding the sheep when his dog alerts him to a bear; Jo warns the villagers in his small French town and they kill the hapless beast. The theme here prefigures the more tragic hunt for human prey, while the bear chase itself brings Jo into contact with Benjamin, the reclusive Widow Horcada's Jewish son-in-law, who is hiding in her mountain home. Separated from Anya, his daughter, Benjamin hides other Jewish children and leads them to safety in nearby Spain. Jo is soon enlisted, bringing supplies to the widow's house. Then the Germans encamp in Jo's village, observing everyone and sealing the Spanish border. Jo's concern for the Jews is measured against his reluctant awareness that the German occupiers are not uniformly evil--in fact, the villagers' relations with the Germans form the most distinctive element of the story. Although some key elements are historically improbable (chiefly, a German officer's partial rejection of Nazi principles), the adventure of the Jews' escape into Spain is both gripping and temperate. (Publisher’s Weekly)
Mowat, Farley. And No Birds Sang (Stackpole Books, 2004).
In July 1942, Farley Mowat was an eager young infantryman bound for Europe and impatient for combat. This powerful, true account of the action he saw, fighting desperately to push the Nazis out of Italy, evokes the terrible reality of war with an honesty and clarity fiction can only imitate. In scene after unforgettable scene, he describes the agony and antic humor of the soldier's existence: the tedium of camp life, the savagery of the front, and the camaraderie shared by those who have been bloodied in battle.
Nelson, Pete. Left for Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Reprint edition, 2003)
Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The ship sank in 14 minutes. More than 1,000 men were thrown into shark-infested waters. Those who survived the fiery sinking—some injured, many without life jackets—struggled to stay afloat in shark-infested waters as they waited for rescue. But the United States Navy did not even know they were missing. The Navy needed a scapegoat for this disaster. So it court-martialed the captain for “hazarding” his ship. The survivors of the Indianapolis knew that their captain was not to blame. For 50 years they worked to clear his name, even after his untimely death. But the navy would not budge—until an 11-year-old boy named Hunter Scott entered the picture. His history fair project on the Indianapolis soon became a crusade to restore the captain’s good name and the honor of the men who served under him.
Newton, William. Two-Pound Tram (Bloombury Publishing, 2003).
The year was 1937, and Hitler had just walked into Austria. It was also a marvelous year for clouded yellow butterflies. Wilfred and Duncan live in a big old house in Sussex, England. They spend their days catching butterflies and dreaming of escape, and only ever see their parents on Wednesdays for lunch. When their mother elopes and their already distant father takes up with other ladies, they decide that enough is enough. And they have a plan: they will leave home, go to London, and buy a tram, decommissioned by the bus and tram company, that they have seen advertised in the paper for two pounds sterling. Soon the brothers find that their adventures have begun in earnest-as they become proprietors of an old-fashioned horse-drawn tram service, then local celebrities whose tram advertises for a seaside merchant, and finally such heroes of the war effort that they receive a visit from royalty.