Allies

It is June 6, 1944, D-Day, and Dee Carpenter (true name Dietrich Zimmermann), an underage private in the United States Army, is headed for Omaha Beach, seeking revenge for his uncle, who was arrested by Nazis when Dee was a little boy; meanwhile, Samira Zidano, an eleven-year old French-Algerian girl is looking for the French resistance, desperate to deliver the message that the invasion is about to begin, and get their help in freeing her mother–this is the most important day of the twentieth century, and both children want to fight, and survive.

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 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.

Without Warning: Ellen’s Story, 1914-1918

After World War I calls her brother to the front lines, a young woman sets out to make a difference in this powerful historical novel.”I don’t know much about wars except soldiers and sailors get killed and Jack might get killed with them. But grown-up people say . . . they’re a chance for young men to go off to foreign parts and be brave and come home heroes.”England, 1914. The piercing tone of the bugle changes a sleepy British village and Ellen Wilkins forever. It is the call to enlist — a chance Ellen’s brother, Jack, won’t miss. The call also spurs Ellen to leave the safety of home and begin a journey of self-discovery, one that takes her close to the front lines to pursue her calling as a nurse. In this gritty and insightful novel, Dennis Hamley deftly portrays the everyday realities of life in wartime, along with harrowing accounts of war’s lifelong effects on the young people caught in its path.

War Horse

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?