War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story

In the mid-1980s, Emmanuel Jal was a seven-year-old Sudanese boy, living in a small village with his parents, aunts, uncles, and siblings. But as Sudan’s civil war moved closer – with the Islamic government seizing tribal lands for water, oil, and other resources – Jal’s family moved again and again, seeking peace. Then, on one terrible day, Jal was separated from his mother, and later learned she had been killed; his father Simon rose to become a powerful commander in the Christian Sudanese Liberation Army, fighting for the freedom of Sudan.

Gleam And Glow

After his home is destroyed by war, eight-year-old Viktor finds hope in the survival of two very special fish.

Bone Talk

It is 1899. Ten year old Samkad thinks he knows everything about the world. He knows that home is in the mountains. He knows who his friends and his enemies are. And he knows that he will grow up to become a warrior like his dad, with his own shield, spear and axe. His best friend is Little Luki and she too wants to become a warrior – though there’s little chance of that because she is just a girl. Then strangers arrive: a boy with many languages in his throat and weird-looking men called Americans who bring war and death. Set during the U.S. invasion of the Philippines.

Soldier For Equality

José de la Luz Sáenz (1888–1953)—or Luz—believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his ability to quickly learn languages, he became part of the Intelligence Office in Europe. However, despite his hard work and intellect, Luz often didn’t receive credit for his contributions. Upon his return to the US, he joined other Mexican-Americans whom he had met in the army to fight for equality. His contribution, along with others, ultimately led to the creation of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the oldest Latino civil rights organization. Soldier for Equality is based in part on Luz’s diary during the war. It includes a biography of Luz’s later years, an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography, and an index.

The Grand Escape

At the height of World War I, as battles raged in the trenches and in the air, another struggle for survival was being waged in the most notorious POW camp in all of Germany: Holzminden. A land-locked Alcatraz of sorts, it was home to the most troublesome Allied prisoners–and the most talented at escape. The Grand Escape tells the remarkable tale of a band of pilots who pulled off an ingenious plan and made it out of enemy territory in the biggest breakout of WWI, inspiring their countrymen in the darkest hours of the war.

The War Below

Luka, a Ukrainian boy working in a slave labor camp, plays dead after an explosion at the factory and escapes, eventually joining a resistance group that opposes both the Nazis and the Soviets, and through the danger of the guerilla fighting he has two overriding goals–find out if his parents are still alive, and reunite with Lida, a girl who was a friend in the labor camp.

The Hawk and the Dove

The late Paul Kor, an internationally acclaimed Israeli author-illustrator, sought to create a miracle with this book borne out of his own brutal experiences of war. With its striking illustrations, the simple but powerful story offers a hopeful message of peace in a time of uncertainty. Clever paper cuts allow readers to play an active role in the transformations with every turn of the page, thus encouraging children to recognize they have the power to affect change, including when it comes to choosing peace over war in the future. This book provides an accessible look at the concepts of war and peace and would make a terrific discussion starter on the subject. It could also be a model for an art lesson on papercutting. A note at the end of the book details the inspiration behind the story and the book’s creation, accompanied by photographs.