Books for World War II Lesson Plans
Best World War II Books for Gr. 3-5



The books listed below can be great supplements for World War II lesson plans. Whether you are teaching American History or World History, it's likely that you will spend at least a few days talking about World War II (although probably more likely when teaching American History, right?)


Personal stories can help make WW2 feel more 'real' and relevant for students. When you know someone who has been impacted--even if it's only through the pages of a children's book-- it's hard to maintain a distanced, uninterested point of view. Hopefully the books below will make for great additions to your World War II lesson plans.

For books on other WWII topics:
We also have booklists for:
    - WW2 books-- Gr. 6-8       
    - Pearl Harbor Bombing
    - Nazis and the Holocaust  
        
    - Japanese Internment Camps 



One Thousand Tracings : Healing the Wounds of World War II
One Thousand Tracings:
Healing the Wounds of World War II

Summary:
At the end of World War II, many Americans sent care packages to needy residents of war-ravaged European countries. This title describes one such event which was organized by the author's grand- parents (and spurred to write this story after find the foot tracings that Europeans in need of shoes had sent over.) Includes beautiful watercolor paintings, photo collages, letters, news clips, and more.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 1-6    Difficulty Level--age 4-8

Coming Next: Related lessons, DRA & Lexile, etc
Wind Flyers
Wind Flyers
by Angela Johnson

Summary: A young boy proudly describes the heroic feats of his great-great-uncle who was a Tuskegee airman in WWII. Lyrical text is paired with spectacular illustrations that convey the joy of flight.

Rdg Levels:   Interest--Gr. 2-4     Difficulty--age 4-8

Coming Next: Related lessons, DRA & Lexile, etc
American Girl--Molly
American Girl Molly series, 1944
six books in the series

Summary:
Molly's father is stationed as a doctor in England, taking care of wounded soldiers during World War II. Back home the war has brought many changes in Molly's life, like lines outside stores, blackouts, and a rubber drive. She's trying to adjust and do her part, all the while hoping her dad comes home soon.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level-- Gr. 3-5     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II
The Little Ships:
The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II

Summary: The amazing but true story of Dunkirk, where the British army was rescued by small civilian boats. In this fictional account, a young girl accompanying her father on a rescue boat narrates the events. "Foreman's watercolor paintings add to the drama, excitement, and poignancy." (SLJ)

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 3-5    Difficulty Level--age 4-8
Across the Blue Pacific: A World War II Story
Across the Blue Pacific:
A World War II Story

Summary: A simple but effective fictional memoir of a childhood on the American homefront. In a starred review, Booklist said the "graceful text and evocative art offer an effective introduction to the period."

Reading Levels:
Interest Level-- Gr. 3-5     Difficulty Level--age 4-8

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Lily's Crossing
Lily's Crossing
by Patricia Reilly Giff

Summary:
Lily's father is called overseas to fight in WWII, so Lily moves in with her grandmother. While there, she befriends Albert, a Hungarian refugee boy, who shares his secret sadness with her---that his little sister was left behind in Europe, and that he wants to cross the ocean to find her. A moving story of friendship with an unexpected happy ending. In a starred review, Publ. Weekly said Lily's Crossing "has all the ingredients that best reward readers."


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 3-5     Difficulty Level--age 9-12

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Great World War II Projects
Great World War II Projects
You Can Build Yourself

Summary:
This book is a great resource for World War II lesson plans and classroom activities! Sections cover nearly every part of the war and include stories about real people and accompanying projects (like writing in secret code, making a ration book, etc). Additionally, the text includes clear explanations of the causes of the war and its effects. Draw from this when you plan your World War II lesson plans!


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

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc
Voices at Whisper Bend
Voices at Whisper Bend
(History Mysteries series)

Summary:
Charlotte wants to help with the war effort, so she gathers some friends to help her collect scrap metal. However, when their collection is stolen from her school's basement, Charlotte is determined to find out who the thief is. In addition to the mystery, readers learn about life on the home front, including how Americans of German descent were treated.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 3-6    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 but engaging story about two boys living in Brooklyn during World War II. Both boys have fathers serving abroad and both boys have a crush on their young 5th grade teacher, Miss Gossim! When one of them overhears the principal's plan to fire Miss Gossim, they decided they must do something to save her! Full of small details about life on the American home front 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 and her friend Johnny are busy organizing other kids to sell war bonds and collect items to support the war effort. Then, after a series of odd encounters with people with thick accents, Maddie grows suspicious and contacts the FBI. But could it really be true? Nazi spies in her neighborhood? "Osborne has done an excellent job of 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's life was carefree and fun...until the war started. His brother left to be an Air Force cadet, his father suddenly got a lot more serious, and his mom had to go to work. Now Davey's life is filled with rationing, collecting and sacrifices. In a starred review, School Library Journal said "Peck's master- ful, detail-rich prose describes wartime in the United States...This book is an absolute delight."

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 family is living with his grandparents while his dad is fighting Nazis. Their whole coastal Rhode Island village is afraid--afraid of Nazi submarines offshore, afraid that the German artist living outside of town is a spy, afraid of everything. And for Robert, there's more fear--fear of upsetting his grandfather and the fear that all these suspicions will erupt into violence. "A heartfelt story about family dynamics and the harmful power of prejudice and hatred." (SLJ)

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:
Ned Begay, a Navajo boy, leaves his home at six years old to go to a boarding school, where he learns American ways and the English language, as the Navajo language has been forbidden. When he hears that Navajos are wanted by the Marines, he enlists, claims he's 18, and becomes one of the famed code talkers. "Nonsensational and accurate, Bruchac's tale is quietly inspiring." (SLJ)


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: A book to draw from when planning your World War II lesson plans! Full of interesting facts about the war, portions of real letters to and from troops (US and German!), firsthand accounts, and 21 activities to use in World War II lesson plans.

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

Coming Next: Related lessons, DRA & Lexile, etc
Remember D-Day : The Plan , the Invasion , Survivor Stories
Remember D-Day:
The Plan, the Invasion, Survivor Stories

Summary: This volume focuses on a WWII turning point, the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The strategy, intelligence, and deceptions that led up to D-Day are explained, as well as what happened during the invasion and what helped the Allies win.

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

More coming: lesson ideas, DRA & Lexile, etc






Do you know of a good children's book for World War II lesson plans? 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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