Pearl Harbor Bombing
Best Children's Books

If you are teaching about the Pearl Harbor bombing, be sure to integrate children's books in order to help children/teens understand the real impact and significance of the attacks. Older children who can appreciate what happened on September 11 may be more able to comprehend the impact of such an attack, but regardless, the best way to really bring this tragic event to life is through the stories of those who lived through it--whether they be fictional stories or real eyewitness accounts.

The children's books below all center around the Pearl Harbor bombing, each told through the experience of a real or fictional American living in Hawaii at the time. Hopefully this list will be a good resource for you as you plan your World War II unit.

Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows 

by Barry Denenberg

In this Dear America series book, Amber and her family have just moved to Hawaii, and Amber has met a new friend named Kame, whose parents moved to Hawaii from Japan. Just as life seems to be getting settled for Amber, Pearl Harbor is attacked and her world is changed forever. Following the attack, she writes in her journal about the frantic atmosphere and increasing anti-Japanese sentiment, and wonders what she should do.

Interest Level:         Grade 4-8
Grade Equivalent:   5.5
DRA Level:            40
Lexile Measure:      930L
Guided Reading:     S

Attack on Pearl Harbor: True Story of the Day America Entered WW II

by Shelley Tanaka

Using photos and memorabilia, Tanaka recounts the events leading up to, during, and immediately after the Pearl Harbor bombing. She structures the narrative around the accounts of four young men who experienced it firsthand. Booklist said "the account is riveting [and] conveys the danger and frenzied pace of the events."

Interest Level:         Gr. 5-8
Grade Equivalent:   5.3
Lexile Measure:       820L

Under the Blood-Red Sun

by Graham Salisbury

When Pearl Harbor is attacked, Tomikazu's quiet life on Oahu is turned upside down. He watches as the attacks take place and the frightening aftermath for Japanese Americans. It's worst for those born in Japan--like his father and grandfather, who are both arrested. Salisbury expertly shows the emotions Tomikazu experiences as he deals with the racism, the fear, and the pressures of his father's absence.

Interest Level:         Grade 5-8
Grade Equivalent:    5.8
DRA Level:              60
Lexile Measure:       640L
Guided Reading:     W

A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor

by Harry Mazer

When they sneak off to go fishing on December 7, 1941, Adam and his friends could not fathom what was about to happen. Having drifted close to the fleet at Pearl Harbor, they watch in shock as the Japanese planes approach and then attack the fleet and harbor. From this point on, the "quick pace, graphic detail, and nonstop action" (SLJ) will absorb readers and provide a nice history lesson as well.

Interest Level:         Gr. 5-9
Grade Equivalent:  5.1
DRA Level:             50
Lexile Measure:     530L
Guided Reading:   T

We need more children's books in this category.  Do you know of a good children's book about the Pearl Harbor bombing? If so, please let us know!