Books on World War II for Kids -- Gr. 6-8



Below are some of the best books on World War II for kids in grades 6-8. Some are non-fiction and powerfully present interesting facts and important aspects of the war. A few are project books which over different aspects of the war and then provide related activities for students to do. 


And the last group are personal stories--either fictional or based on real experiences--of life on the WW2 front lines or on the American home front. These personal stories on World War II for kids can help the war feel more 'real' and relevant for students. (It's hard to remain uninterested in something when you 'know' people involved--even if it's only through the pages of a children's book.)

Need books on other WII topics?  We also have book lists on:
    - WW2 books-- Gr. 3-5       
    - Pearl Harbor Bombing
    -
Nazis / the Holocaust  
           
    - Internment Camps 



Great World War II Projects
Great World War II Projects
You Can Build Yourself

Summary:
This book does a great job of conveying what it was like to live during WWII. Divided into Life on the home front and Life on the front lines, this 'project book' also includes personal stories and clear explanations for what caused the war, what long term impacts it had, etc.  And, of course, there are activities about World War II for kids--20 of them.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 3-7    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Don't You Know There's a War On
Don't You Know There's a War On?
by Avi

Summary:
A simple story set in Brooklyn during World War II. Fifth graders Howie and Denny both have fathers serving abroad in the war and both of them also have a crush on their teacher, Miss Gossim!  When Howie finds out that the principal has fired his beloved teacher, he convinces the other students to join in an effort to get her reinstated. Full of details about life in America during World War II.

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 4-6     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck, Long Island, New York, 1941 by Mary Pope Osborne
My Secret War:
The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck

Summary:
Maddie's father is off fighting in the war, so to support the war effort, Maddie organizes kids to sell war bonds and collect items. But then, a series of odd encounters with people speaking with a thick accent gets Maddie suspicious. Could there really be Nazi spies in her neighborhood? This Dear America title is quite effective in "capturing the feelings and anxieties of the time." (SLJ)

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 4-7     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
On the Wings of Heroes
On the Wings of Heroes
by Richard Peck

Summary:
Davy has two heroes--his dad and his big brother. Everything was great in Davy's life, and then WWII started. His mom had to go to work, his irritating grandparents moved to town, and his brother left to be an Army Air Force cadet. A "delicious mixture of humor, warmth and local color" that does a great job of "describing America during WWII." (PW)

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 5+    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
The Art of Keeping Cool
The Art of Keeping Cool
by Janet Taylor Lisle

Summary:
Robert's father is off fighting in the war, so his family has moved in with his grandparents in a small coastal Rhode Island village. Tension is high in the family and the town. His hot-tempered grandfather has everyone walking on egg shells, and Robert can sense there's a family secret that is being kept from him. Add to that the townspeople's suspicions of a German artists living outside of town--suspicions that build to a final tragic end. "Wrenching." (PW)

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 5-7    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Code Talkers
Code Talker:
A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War II

Summary:
The nation is at war, and young Navajo Ned Begay wants to enlist when he hears that the Marines are recruiting Navajos. Determined to help, he lies about his age, enlists, and quickly finds himself as a code talker, using his native Navajo language to create top-secret messages for the frontlines. In a starred review, Booklist said readers "will come away with more than they ever expected to find."


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 5+     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
World War Two for Kids
World War II for Kids:
A History with 21 Activities

Summary: Packed with interesting facts, segments from real letters to and from troops (German too!), brief eyewitness accounts, and 21 related activities about World War II for kids (ie: tracking a ship using latitude and longitude, living a day on rations...)

Rdg Levels:  Interest--Gr. 5-7     Difficulty--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Remember D-Day : The Plan , the Invasion , Survivor Stories
Remember D-Day:
The Plan, the Invasion, Survivor Stories

Summary: A stylishly designed title all about the D-Day invasion of Normandy, including a readable discussion on the strategy used, the intelligence it was based up, and the deceptions that led up this turning point in the war. "A first-rate purchase." (SLJ)

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 5-8    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter: Women Working
on the Home Front in World War II

Summary:
The need for supplies and the shortage of workers led to a female-dominated work force during World War II. Resistance to taking on men's jobs had to be overcome--by both men and women--and these experiences led the way to future reforms for women. This excellent book details the short term and long term impacts of Rosie and her gang. :)


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 6-9     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
I Had Seen Castles
I Had Seen Castles
by Cynthia Rylant

Summary:
John Dante, 17, was ready for adventure and hoped it would include Europe and castles. Then Pearl Harbor is attacked, and despite the protests of his new girlfriend (who wants him to be a conscientious objector), he enlists to avenge his country and experiences the full horrors of war. PW called this book "a love story, a coming-of-age tale...with a passionate anti-war message...not to be missed."


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 6-10    Difficulty--young adult

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Angels of Mercy : The Army Nurses of World War II
Angels of Mercy:
The Army Nurses of World War II

Summary:
Almost 60,000 American women served as nurses in WWII, and the diversity of their nursing assignments and the breadth of their experiences are illustrated in this volume. Dozens were interviewed by the author, and their stories are told here in much detail. Air raids, terrible living conditions, being taken prisoner, and deaths are chronicled, as well as some surprises.

Reading Levels:
Interest Level-- Gr. 6+    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Under a War Torn Sky by Elliott
Under a War-Torn Sky
by L.M. Elliott

Summary:
"Packed with action, intrigue, and suspense," (Bklst) this book portrays the heroism of ordinary French citizens and members of the French Resistance during World War II. Hank, an American, is on his 15th bombing mission when he's shot down near the Swiss border. Local citizens rescue him and the French Resistance helps him escape across France. En route, he has many adventures and gets a clear look at what the Nazis did to France.

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 6-9    Difficulty--young adult

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Where the Action Was : Women War Correspondents in World War II
Where the Action Was:
Women War Correspondents in World War II

Summary:
Military policy usually kept women from covering combat, but 127 female photographers and reports managed to get official permission in WWII, and also found ways to get to where the action was. This title tells their story, portraying them as brave, tenacious, confident, and skilled.

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 7+     Difficulty Level--age 4-8

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins:A World War II Soldier, Normandy, France, 1944 by Walter Dean Myers
The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins:
A World War II Soldier

Summary:
Private Scott Collins doesn't know the seriousness of what awaits him and the other young men waiting for D-Day. Scott does survive the day, but is no longer the naive high school graduate anymore. The hardships and horror of battle have transformed him from youth to manhood in the space of a few weeks, and the reader watches his transformation through the entries he makes in his journal.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 7-10    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc






We'd like to add more books on World War II for kids in grades 6-8 to this list. Do you know of a good children's book about the World War II for kids? If so, please let us know by completing the Suggest a Book form, located in the top right hand column. Thank you.

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