An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

War: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about war?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to war. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about war.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about war, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The House of Sixty Fathers to popular sellers like Ender’s Game to some of our favorite hidden gems like Number the Stars.

We hope this list of kids books about war can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About War

#1
Add to list
Diana’s White House Garden
Written by Elisa Carbone & illustrated by Jen Hill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Diana Hopkins lived in a white house. THE White House. World War II is in full force across the seas. It’s 1943, President Roosevelt is in office, and Diana’s father, Harry Hopkins, is his chief advisor. And Diana wants to be part of the war effort. After some well-intentioned missteps (her quarantine sign on her father’s office door was not well-received), the President requests her help with his newest plan for the country’s survival: Victory Gardens! From award-winning author Elisa Carbone comes the true story of how Diana Hopkins started her own Victory Garden on the White House lawn under the tutelage of Eleanor Roosevelt. With dedication and patience, she showed the nation that the war effort started first on the homefront.
#2
Add to list
Ender's Game
Written by Orson Scott Card
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-16
A veteran of years of simulated war games, Ender believes he is engaged in one more computer war game when in truth he is commanding the last fleet of Earth against an alien race seeking the complete destruction of Earth.
#3
Add to list
The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman
Written by Kathy Stinson & illustrated by Marie Lafrance
picture book
Recommend Ages: -
Inspired by true events, a fictionalized retelling of how one woman brought a world of books to children in Germany after World War II, and changed their lives forever.<br/><br/>Anneliese and Peter will never be the same after the war that took their father's life. One day, while wandering the ruined streets of Munich, the children follow a line of people entering a building, thinking there may be free food inside. Instead, they are delighted to discover a great hall filled with children's books --- more books than Anneliese can count. Here, they meet the lady with the books, who encourages the children to read as much as they want. And she invites them to come back the next day. Eventually, she will have a greater impact on the children's lives than they could ever have imagined.<br/><br/>This moving picture book, written by beloved and award-winning author Kathy Stinson, is based on the real-life work of Jella Lepman, founder of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and the International Youth Library. Lepman's collection of children's books from around the world traveled throughout Germany after World War II in the hope of building ?bridges of understanding? between countries. Brought to life by highly acclaimed illustrator Marie Lafrance, this book carries an important message about international cooperation that still resonates with world events today. It includes further information about Lepman and her work as well as historical photos. This story of the children who survived the war offers a unique and often unexplored perspective for history lessons. It also makes an excellent choice for character education lessons on resilience. A portion of the author's royalties will be donated to IBBY's Children in Crisis Fund.
#4
Add to list
Christmas Tapestry
Written by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
When a leak ruins the sacristy wall in his father’s church, Jonathan Jefferson Weeks thinks Christmas Eve service will be ruined. Luckily he and his father find a beautiful tapestry, perfect for covering the damaged wall and giving the church a festive look! But then, an old Jewish woman recognizes the beautiful cloth. Her discovery leads to a real miracle on Christmas Eve.
#5
Add to list
Emmeline Pankhurst
Written by Lisbeth Kaiser & illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
In this international bestseller from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, meet Emmeline Pankhurst, an inspiring women's rights activist who changed the world for future generations of women. As a child, Emmeline Pankhurst was inspired by books about heroes who fought for others. She dedicated her life to fighting for women's voting rights and, with hard work and great bravery, led a remarkable movement that changed the world. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist's life. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.
#6
Add to list
Number the Stars
Written by Lois Lowry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family. Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.
#7
Add to list
The Day War Came
Written by Nicola Davies & illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.
#8
Add to list
Lumber Jills
Written by Alexandra Davis & illustrated by Katie Hickey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
In World War II, Great Britain needed lumber to make planes, ships, and even newspapers—but there weren’t enough men to cut down the trees. Enter the fearless Lumber Jills! These young women may not have had much woodcutting experience, but they each had two hands willing to work and one stout heart, and they came together to do their part. Discover this lyrical story of home front heroism and female friendship.
#9
Add to list
Josephine
Written by Patricia Hruby Powell & illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine's powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.
#10
Add to list
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot
Written by Margot Theis Raven
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9
A True Story of the Berlin Airlift and the Candy that Dropped from the Sky.<P>Life was grim in 1948 West Berlin, Germany. Josef Stalin blockaded all ground routes coming in and out of Berlin to cut off West Berliners from all food and essential supplies. Without outside help, over 2.2 million people would die. <P>Thus began the Berlin Airlift, a humanitarian rescue mission that utilized British and American airplanes and pilots to fly in needed supplies. As one of the American pilots participating in the Airlift mission, Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen helped to provide not only nourishment to the children but also gave them a reason to hope for a better world. From one thoughtful, generous act came a lifelong relationship between Lt. Gail and the children of Berlin. <P>This is the true story of a seven-year-old girl named Mercedes who lived in West Berlin during the Airlift and of the American who came to be known as the Chocolate Pilot. <P>Artist Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen's evocative paintings illuminate Margot Theis Raven's powerful story of hope, friendship and remembrance. <P>About the Author: Margot Theis Raven has been a professional writer working in the fields of radio, television, magazines, newspapers, and children's books for thirty years. She has won five national awards, including an IRA Teacher's Choice award. Ms. Raven earned her degree in English from Rosemont College and attended Villanova University for theater study, and Kent State University for German language. Ms. Raven splits her time living in Concord, MA, Charleston, SC and West Chesterfield, NH. <P>About the Illustrator: Born in the Netherlands, Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen studied at the Royal Academy of Arts inHolland. He immigrated to the United States in 1976, and years later he became a children's book illustrator. "Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot" is Nick's ninth children's book with Sleeping Bear Press.
Table of Contents
Scroll to books about War and...

Books About War and World War Ii

Add to list
The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman
Written by Kathy Stinson & illustrated by Marie Lafrance
picture book
Recommend Ages: -
Inspired by true events, a fictionalized retelling of how one woman brought a world of books to children in Germany after World War II, and changed their lives forever.<br/><br/>Anneliese and Peter will never be the same after the war that took their father's life. One day, while wandering the ruined streets of Munich, the children follow a line of people entering a building, thinking there may be free food inside. Instead, they are delighted to discover a great hall filled with children's books --- more books than Anneliese can count. Here, they meet the lady with the books, who encourages the children to read as much as they want. And she invites them to come back the next day. Eventually, she will have a greater impact on the children's lives than they could ever have imagined.<br/><br/>This moving picture book, written by beloved and award-winning author Kathy Stinson, is based on the real-life work of Jella Lepman, founder of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and the International Youth Library. Lepman's collection of children's books from around the world traveled throughout Germany after World War II in the hope of building ?bridges of understanding? between countries. Brought to life by highly acclaimed illustrator Marie Lafrance, this book carries an important message about international cooperation that still resonates with world events today. It includes further information about Lepman and her work as well as historical photos. This story of the children who survived the war offers a unique and often unexplored perspective for history lessons. It also makes an excellent choice for character education lessons on resilience. A portion of the author's royalties will be donated to IBBY's Children in Crisis Fund.
Add to list
Christmas Tapestry
Written by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
When a leak ruins the sacristy wall in his father’s church, Jonathan Jefferson Weeks thinks Christmas Eve service will be ruined. Luckily he and his father find a beautiful tapestry, perfect for covering the damaged wall and giving the church a festive look! But then, an old Jewish woman recognizes the beautiful cloth. Her discovery leads to a real miracle on Christmas Eve.
Add to list
Emmeline Pankhurst
Written by Lisbeth Kaiser & illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
In this international bestseller from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, meet Emmeline Pankhurst, an inspiring women's rights activist who changed the world for future generations of women. As a child, Emmeline Pankhurst was inspired by books about heroes who fought for others. She dedicated her life to fighting for women's voting rights and, with hard work and great bravery, led a remarkable movement that changed the world. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist's life. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.
Honorable Mentions
Josephine book
Add to list
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot book
Add to list
A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story book
Add to list
Navajo Code Talkers book
Add to list
  1. Josephine - In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.

  2. Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot - A True Story of the Berlin Airlift and the Candy that Dropped from the Sky.

    Life was grim in 1948 West Berlin, Germany. Josef Stalin blockaded all ground routes coming in and out of Berlin to cut off West Berliners from all food and essential supplies. Without outside help, over 2.2 million people would die.

    Thus began the Berlin Airlift, a humanitarian rescue mission that utilized British and American airplanes and pilots to fly in needed supplies. As one of the American pilots participating in the Airlift mission, Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen helped to provide not only nourishment to the children but also gave them a reason to hope for a better world. From one thoughtful, generous act came a lifelong relationship between Lt. Gail and the children of Berlin.

    This is the true story of a seven-year-old girl named Mercedes who lived in West Berlin during the Airlift and of the American who came to be known as the Chocolate Pilot.

    Artist Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen’s evocative paintings illuminate Margot Theis Raven’s powerful story of hope, friendship and remembrance.

    About the Author: Margot Theis Raven has been a professional writer working in the fields of radio, television, magazines, newspapers, and children’s books for thirty years. She has won five national awards, including an IRA Teacher’s Choice award. Ms. Raven earned her degree in English from Rosemont College and attended Villanova University for theater study, and Kent State University for German language. Ms. Raven splits her time living in Concord, MA, Charleston, SC and West Chesterfield, NH.

    About the Illustrator: Born in the Netherlands, Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen studied at the Royal Academy of Arts inHolland. He immigrated to the United States in 1976, and years later he became a children’s book illustrator. “Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot” is Nick’s ninth children’s book with Sleeping Bear Press.

  3. A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story - In this deeply moving nonfiction picture book, award-winning author Caren Stelson brings Sachiko Yasui's story of surviving the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and her message of peace to a young audience.

    Sachiko's family home was about half a mile from where the atomic bomb fell on August 9, 1945. Her family experienced devastating loss. When they returned to the rubble where their home once stood, her father miraculously found their serving bowl fully intact. This delicate, green, leaf-shaped bowl--which once held their daily meals--now holds memories of the past and serves as a vessel of hope, peace, and new traditions for Sachiko and the surviving members of her family.

  4. Navajo Code Talkers - During World War II U.S. forces had to keep battle plans and other top secret information out of the enemy’s hands. Coded messages were often used, but secret codes could be broken. To solve this problem, the U.S. military turned to an unexpected source to create an unbreakable code. The Navajo people spoke a complex language that few outsiders knew how to speak. Several Navajo soldiers were recruited to develop a code based on the Navajo language. The result was a complex code that could not be solved by the enemy. Learn all about the brave Navajo Code Talkers and how their unbreakable code helped defeat the enemy and win the war.

Books About War and 1940s

Add to list
Diana’s White House Garden
Written by Elisa Carbone & illustrated by Jen Hill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Diana Hopkins lived in a white house. THE White House. World War II is in full force across the seas. It’s 1943, President Roosevelt is in office, and Diana’s father, Harry Hopkins, is his chief advisor. And Diana wants to be part of the war effort. After some well-intentioned missteps (her quarantine sign on her father’s office door was not well-received), the President requests her help with his newest plan for the country’s survival: Victory Gardens! From award-winning author Elisa Carbone comes the true story of how Diana Hopkins started her own Victory Garden on the White House lawn under the tutelage of Eleanor Roosevelt. With dedication and patience, she showed the nation that the war effort started first on the homefront.
Add to list
Lumber Jills
Written by Alexandra Davis & illustrated by Katie Hickey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
In World War II, Great Britain needed lumber to make planes, ships, and even newspapers—but there weren’t enough men to cut down the trees. Enter the fearless Lumber Jills! These young women may not have had much woodcutting experience, but they each had two hands willing to work and one stout heart, and they came together to do their part. Discover this lyrical story of home front heroism and female friendship.
Add to list
It Rained Warm Bread
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14
Moishe was thirteen when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 and he was sent to Auschwitz. His home was ravaged, his family torn apart by illness and abduction. Years of brutality drew on as Moishe moved from one labor camp to the next. Finally, towards the end of the war and at the peak of Moishe’s deepest despair, a simple act of kindness by a group of courageous Czech women redeemed his faith that goodness could survive the trials of war: That was the day it rained warm bread. Deftly articulated and beautifully illustrated, this is a strong addition to the ever-important genre of Holocaust testimonies.
Honorable Mentions
Night Witches at War book
Add to list
Lifeboat 12 book
Add to list
The Boy on the Wooden Box book
Add to list
Soldier Dogs #1: Air Raid Search and Rescue book
Add to list
  1. Night Witches at War - Flying combat missions in wartime is always dangerous. But imagine doing so in a slow, rickety biplane, at night, with no lights or navigational equipment of any kind. Sound impossible? It wasn’t for the Soviet Night Witches. This unit of incredibly brave women flew hundreds of missions to attack German forces on the front lines during World War II. Learn all about these brave women and how their skill and courage in battle helped defeat the Nazis to win the war.

  2. Lifeboat 12 - In the tradition of The War That Saved My Life and Stella By Starlight, this poignant novel in verse based on true events tells the story of a boy’s harrowing experience on a lifeboat after surviving a torpedo attack during World War II. With Nazis bombing London every night, it’s time for thirteen-year-old Ken to escape. He suspects his stepmother is glad to see him go, but his dad says he’s one of the lucky ones—one of ninety boys and girls to ship out aboard the SS City of Benares to safety in Canada. Life aboard the luxury ship is grand—nine-course meals, new friends, and a life far from the bombs, rations, and his stepmum’s glare. And after five days at sea, the ship’s officers announce that they’re out of danger. They’re wrong. Late that night, an explosion hurls Ken from his bunk. They’ve been hit. Torpedoed! The Benares is sinking fast. Terrified, Ken scrambles aboard Lifeboat 12 with five other boys. Will they get away? Will they survive? Award-winning author Susan Hood brings this little-known World War II story to life in a riveting novel of courage, hope, and compassion. Based on true events and real people, Lifeboat 12 is about believing in one another, knowing that only by banding together will we have any chance to survive.

  3. The Boy on the Wooden Box - Traces the story of Holocaust survivor Leon Leyson, who was the youngest child in his family and possibly the youngest of the hundreds of Jews rescued by Oskar Schindler.

  4. Soldier Dogs #1: Air Raid Search and Rescue - The paw-biting start to a thrilling new adventure series perfect for fans of Max and the I Survived books, inspired by the brave military dogs who helped our troops win World War II. When Matt’s older brother enlisted in the army, he left Matt his German Shepherd, Chief, a retired fire dog and the best pet EVER. So Matt isn’t happy when Chief starts paying attention to his foster sister Rachel instead of him. But when Nazi planes begin bombing the city, Matt finds himself in an impossible situation. Can he be a hero to his sister when it matters most? And when they get caught outside during the air raid, will Chief be there to save the day? This paper-over-board edition includes a collectible poster and a pull-out map!

Want to see books about 1940s?

Books About War and Siblings

Add to list
Ender's Game
Written by Orson Scott Card
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-16
A veteran of years of simulated war games, Ender believes he is engaged in one more computer war game when in truth he is commanding the last fleet of Earth against an alien race seeking the complete destruction of Earth.
Add to list
The War I Finally Won
Written & illustrated by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A New York Times bestseller Like the classic heroines of Sarah, Plain and Tall, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables, Ada is a fighter for the ages. Her triumphant World War II journey continues in this sequel to the Newbery Honor-winning The War that Saved My Life When Ada's clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she's not what her mother said she was--damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She's not a daughter anymore, either. Who is she now? World War II rages on, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, move with their guardian, Susan, into a cottage with the iron-faced Lady Thorton and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded home is tense. Then Ruth moves in. Ruth, a Jewish girl, from Germany. A German? Could Ruth be a spy? As the fallout from war intensifies, calamity creeps closer, and life during wartime grows even more complicated. Who will Ada decide to be? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?
Add to list
The War That Saved My Life
Written & illustrated by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.
Honorable Mentions
The Council of Mirrors book
Add to list
Dragon Bones book
Add to list
Dragon Ghosts book
Add to list
The Everafter War (the Sisters Grimm #7) book
Add to list
  1. The Council of Mirrors - Hoping to save their family and the citizens of Ferryport Landing from the evil plans of Mirror, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm seek counsel from the other magic mirrors, who advise them to join forces with the Scarlet Hand.

  2. Dragon Bones - Ten years after Alex and Aaron Stowe brought peace to Quill and Artimé, their younger twin sisters journey beyond Artimé in the second novel in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling sequel series to The Unwanteds, which Kirkus Reviews called “The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.” The Artiméans have suffered some devastating blows. After years of peace, the recent daring adventure of twins Thisbe and Fifer Stowe have brought about dire consequences. Thisbe has been captured, Fifer is injured, and Sky is lost at sea. The twins’ older brother Alex, head mage of Artimé, is paralyzed with fear of losing anyone else he loves. Fifer must convince him to finally trust her to help in the battle ahead now that their true enemy has been revealed. Meanwhile Thisbe is trapped underground in the catacombs, where the ancient dragon rulers are buried. Along with fellow prisoners, Thisbe’s job is to transport dragon bones from her crypt to the extracting room, where others extract the magical properties dormant in the bones. When it appears no one is coming back to rescue her, Thisbe must train in secret, trying to learn how to control her fiery magic and use it to escape. As her situation becomes more grave, she might even have to align herself with the ultimate evil. Unfortunately it’s a risk she has to take.

  3. Dragon Ghosts - Ten years after Alex and Aaron Stowe brought peace to Quill and Artimé, their younger twin sisters journey beyond Artimé in the third novel in the New York Times bestselling sequel series to The Unwanteds, which Kirkus Reviews called “The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.” Devastated by loss and hampered by war, Fifer struggles to regroup and continue the search for her twin. Meanwhile Thisbe, pounded by images of Grimere’s dark history, contemplates her abandonment and considers leaving Rohan behind in a risky move that could take her home…or to her death.

  4. The Everafter War (the Sisters Grimm #7) - After their parents awake from a sleeping spell, Daphne and Sabrina become caught in the middle of a war between the Scarlet Hand and Prince Charming’s Everafter army and learn a shocking secret about a deadly enemy.

Want to see books about siblings?

Books About War and Social Themes

Add to list
The Day War Came
Written by Nicola Davies & illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.
Add to list
Hawk and the Dove, The
Written & illustrated by Paul Kor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
The hawk is sad. He is tired of war. So, he changes his face and puts on gloves. Whoosh! He has become a gentle dove. And all around him, the world is at peace. No more canon blasts. No more bombs. Planes turn into butterflies. Soldiers' guns sprout dazzling flowers. Everyone is joyful as a blanket of calm envelops the world. However, though happy now, the dove still worries. Will it last? 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.
Add to list
The Eleventh Trade
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home. They say you can't get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it costs $700, and Sami doesn’t have even one penny. What he does have is a keychain that has caught the eye of his classmate. If he trades the keychain for something more valuable, could he keep trading until he has $700? Sami is about to find out. The Eleventh Trade is both a classic middle school story and a story about being a refugee. Like Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree, Alyssa Hollingsworth tackles a big issue with a light touch.
Honorable Mentions
The Butter Battle Book book
Add to list
My Grandfather's War book
Add to list
The Wolf Wilder book
Add to list
A Blinding Light book
Add to list
  1. The Butter Battle Book - The Butter Battle Book, Dr. Seuss’s classic cautionary tale, introduces readers to the important lesson of respecting differences. The Yooks and Zooks share a love of buttered bread, but animosity brews between the two groups because they prefer to enjoy the tasty treat differently. The timeless and topical rhyming text is an ideal way to teach young children about the issues of tolerance and respect. Whether in the home or in the classroom, The Butter Battle Book is a must-have for readers of all ages.

  2. My Grandfather's War - The award-winning team of Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper share this poignant story about a Vietnam veteran and his relationship with his granddaughter. While the relationship is a positive one, the young girl senses her grandfather’s pain and is curious to find out the cause of it. As she innocently seeks answers, she unknowingly opens old wounds and discovers her grandfather’s sadness is a legacy of the Vietnam War and his experiences there. This is a sensitive exploration of the lingering cost of war and of the PTSD so many returned servicemen experience. Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Khe Sanh (the Vietnam War’s longest battle), My Grandfather’s War also sheds light on a war that is not always remembered in the same way that the world wars and other conflicts are. Many who served experience a sense of betrayal at the treatment they received on their return, as the conflict came to be regarded as the ‘unpopular’ war, and this is covered in a child-friendly way in a note at the back of the book.

  3. The Wolf Wilder - A girl and the wolves who love her embark on a rescue mission through Russian wilderness in this lyrical tale from the author of the acclaimed Rooftoppers and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms. Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. She loves taking care of the wolves, especially the three who stay at the house because they refuse to leave Feo, even though they’ve already been wilded. But not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her—and learn from her wolves how to survive. From the author of Rooftoppers, which Booklist called “a glorious adventure,” and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, which VOYA called “a treasure of a book,” comes an enchanting novel about love and resilience.

  4. A Blinding Light - The First World War is raging, and anti-German prejudice is rampant. Maddie and Will Schroeder are mourning the loss of their father, but their German heritage doesn’t merit much sympathy. On the morning of December 6, there’s a flash of light, then thunder underground: the Halifax Explosion hits. Instantly, the city is unrecognizable. Lost in the destroyed city, how will the siblings find each other? Exploring concepts of guilt, blame and the divide between locals and immigrants, A Blinding Light will hold readers spellbound. Teachers and parents will find plenty of topics for discussion in the book’s historical and cultural lessons.

Books About War and World War I

Add to list
Hedy Lamarr's Double Life
Written by Laurie Wallmark & illustrated by Katy Wu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star. But in private, she was something more: a brilliant inventor. Now Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu, who collaborated on Sterling's critically acclaimed picture-book biography Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, tell the inspiring story of how, during World War Two, Lamarr developed a groundbreaking communications system that still remains essential to the security of today's technology.
Add to list
Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace
Written & illustrated by Ashley Bryan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
In May of 1942, at the age of eighteen, Ashley Bryan was drafted to fight in World War II. For the next three years, he would face the horrors of war as a black soldier in a segregated army. He endured the terrible lies white officers told about the black soldiers to isolate them from anyone who showed kindness—including each other. He received worse treatment than even Nazi POWs. He was assigned the grimmest, most horrific tasks, like burying fallen soldiers…but was told to remove the black soldiers first because the media didn’t want them in their newsreels. And he waited and wanted so desperately to go home, watching every white soldier get safe passage back to the United States before black soldiers were even a thought. For the next forty years, Ashley would keep his time in the war a secret. But now, he tells his story. The story of the kind people who supported him. The story of the bright moments that guided him through the dark. And the story of his passion for art that would save him time and time again. Filled with never-before-seen artwork and handwritten letters and diary entries, this illuminating and moving memoir by Newbery Honor–winning illustrator Ashley Bryan is both a lesson in history and a testament to hope.
Add to list
A Meeting in the Sky
Written by Rina Singh & illustrated by Jordi Vila Delclos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-10
On December 20, 1943, a German pilot escorted an American bomber to safety; this remarkable, secret meeting in the sky inspired a lifelong quest to reunite as the two former enemies became friends.
Honorable Mentions
Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War book
Add to list
The Brave Cyclist book
Add to list
Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War book
Add to list
Renato and the Lion book
Add to list
  1. Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War - Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to life the story of a Mexican-American war hero Jos. de la Luz S.enz (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.

  2. The Brave Cyclist - Once a skinny and weak child, Gino Bartali rose to become a Tour de France champion and one of cycling’s greatest stars. But all that seemed unimportant when his country came under the grip of a brutal dictator and entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany. Bartali might have appeared a mere bystander to the harassment and hatred directed toward Italy’s Jewish people, but secretly he accepted a role in a dangerous plan to help them. Putting his own life at risk, Bartali used his speed and endurance on a bike to deliver documents Jewish people needed to escape harm. His inspiring story reveals how one person could make a difference against violence and prejudice during the time of the Holocaust.

  3. Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War - A delightful tale inspired by the true story of a brave goat war hero. Perfect for fans of Finding Winnie and Rescue and Jessica. During World War I, a goat named Billy was adopted by a platoon of soldiers and made his way across the ocean to be part of the war effort. Billy . . . • Trained with the soldiers • Was smuggled across the ocean • Got snuck into the frontlines in a box of oranges • Ate some secret documents and was arrested for treason • Got trench foot • Head-butted soldiers into a trench and saved them from a shell • Came back home a decorated war hero This charming true story follows Sergeant Billy from his small prairie town to the trenches of World War I and back, through harrowing moments, sad moments, moments of camaraderie and moments of celebration. This unforgettable goat and the platoon that loved him will capture your heart!

  4. Renato and the Lion - The touching, magical story of a boy in a war-torn country and the stone lion that rescues him. Renato loves his home in Florence, Italy. He loves playing with his friends in the Piazza della Signoria. He loves walking home by the beautiful buildings and fountains with his father in the evenings. And he especially loves the stone lion who seems to smile at him from a pedestal in the piazza. The lion makes him feel safe. But one day his father tells him that their family must leave. Their country is at war, and they will be safer in America. Renato can only think of his lion. Who will keep him safe? With luminous watercolor paintings, Barbara DiLorenzo captures the beauty of Florence in this heartwarming and ultimately magical picture book.

Books About War and Family

Add to list
Freedom Bird: A Tale of Hope and Courage
Written by Jerdine Nolen & illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
In this inspiring story in the tradition of American black folktales, an enslaved brother and sister are inspired by a majestic and mysterious bird to escape to freedom in this dramatic and unforgettable picture book. There was nothing civil about that war. They should have called it what it was: a big, bad war. Brother and sister Millicent and John are slaves on Simon Plenty’s plantation and have suffered one hurt and heartbreak after another. Their parents had told them old tales of how their ancestors had flown away to freedom just as free and easy as a bird. Millicent and John hold these stories in their hearts long after their parents are gone. “Maybe such a time will come for you,” their parents said. Then one day a mysterious bird appears in their lives. The bird transforms them and gives them the courage to set their plan into motion and escape to freedom.
Add to list
Captain Rosalie
Written by Timothée de Fombelle & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Timothée de Fombelle and Isabelle Arsenault capture the heart-wrenching cost of war for one small girl in a delicately drawn, expertly told tale. While her father is at war, five-year-old Rosalie is a captain on her own secret mission. She wears the disguise of a little girl and tracks her progress in a secret notebook. Some evenings, Rosalie's mother reads aloud Father's letters from the front lines, so that Rosalie knows he is thinking of her and looking forward to the end of the war and to finally coming home. But one day a letter comes that her mother doesn't read to her, and Rosalie knows her mission must soon come to an end. Author Timothée de Fombelle reveals the true consequence of war through the experiences of small, determined Rosalie, while acclaimed artist Isabelle Arsenault illustrates Rosalie's story in muted grays marked with soft spots of color -- the orange flame of Rosalie's hair, the pale pink of a scarf, the deep blue ink of her father's letters. All the more captivating for the simplicity with which it is drawn and told, this quiet tale will stay with the reader long after its last page is turned.
Add to list
A Long Walk to Water
Written & illustrated by Linda Sue Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12
The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.
Honorable Mentions
The Watcher book
Add to list
Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time book
Add to list
A Whale in Paris book
Add to list
  1. The Watcher - After Wendy is kidnapped, the only way she can survive World War II Germany is with the help of a special dog and the family she never knew she had in this historically accurate, standalone companion to Shadows on the Sea that Kirkus Reviews calls “a stimulating blend of suspense and history.” 1942. Berlin, Germany. How did Wendy end up in such a place? Just a few months ago, she was enjoying her time in Maine, supporting the American war effort. But she was kidnapped, then betrayed by her own mother, who is actually a Nazi spy. As a new Berliner—and now a German—Wendy is expected to speak in a language she’s never known and support a cause she doesn’t believe in. There are allies, though, among the Germans. Allies who have been watching over Wendy since she arrived. And Wendy, along with her new German shepherd puppy, must confront them. If only she can find them. Her life depends on it.

  2. Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time - In this picture book companion to the bestseller A Long Walk to Water, a young South Sudanese girl goes on a journey that requires determination, persistence, and compassion. Young Nya takes little sister Akeer along on the two-hour walk to fetch water for the family. But Akeer becomes too ill to walk, and Nya faces the impossible: her sister and the full water vessel together are too heavy to carry. As she struggles, she discovers that if she manages to take one step, then another, she can reach home and Mama’s care. Bold, impressionistic paintings by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brian Pinkney evoke the dry, barren landscape and the tenderness between the two sisters. An afterword discusses the process of providing clean water in South Sudan, reducing waterborne illness.

  3. A Whale in Paris - A hopeful and heroic girl befriends a small, lost whale during World War II and together they embark on a journey to liberate France and find their families in this charming debut novel.

Want to see 8 more books about war and family ?

How about books about family?

Books About War and Friendship

Add to list
Number the Stars
Written by Lois Lowry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family. Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.
Add to list
Julius Zebra: Battle with the Britons!
Written & illustrated by Gary Northfield
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Think you know Julius Zebra? Think again! The handsome, fast-talking gladiatorial champion is sent on a zany new adventure -- to Britannia! Before Julius Zebra can have his freedom, Emperor Hadrian sends him on one last mission. As the newly named People's Champion, Julius must travel with his friends to a distant land to remind its people of the might of the Roman Empire. It'll be just like a vacation! But when the motley menagerie of gladiators arrives in cold, wet Britannia, they don't quite receive the welcome they were expecting. In fact, the Britons seem to hate the Romans. And the longer Julius and his friends stay in Britannia, the more they realize that they have a lot more in common with the Britons than they thought. After all, they're all under Hadrian's rule. But what can a ragtag group of fighting animals do about it?
Add to list
Lost Boys
Written by Darcey Rosenblatt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Based on historical events, this unforgettable and inspiring tale for middle-grade readers is about a young boy torn from the only life he’s ever known and held captive as a prisoner of war. In 1982, twelve-year-old Reza has no interest in joining Iran’s war effort. But in the wake of a tragedy and at his mother’s urging, he decides to enlist, assured by the authorities that he will achieve paradise should he die in service to his country. War does not bring the glory the boys of Iran have been promised, and Reza soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence—they act upon it. Will Reza make it out alive? And if he does, will he even have a home to return to? In this unforgettable tale of friendship and survival against the odds, Reza finds solace through music and forges his own path, wherever that might take him. Lost Boys is a stunning debut from Darcey Rosenblatt. It is perfect for readers interested in current events, history, and the Middle East. Praise for Lost Boys: “In Rosenblatt’s ambitious debut novel, Reza, a 12-year-old Iranian boy, clings to friendship and his love of music as the Iran-Iraq War tears his world apart. . . . Reza’s story is compelling . . . .” —Kirkus Reviews “This hard-hitting first novel opens in Iran in 1982 during the Ayatollah Khomeini’s oppressive rule and that nation’s war with Iraq. . . . The larger political context becomes personal when a devastating public rejection of Reza and his fellow survivors by Iran leaves the boys without a country. . . . [T]he resilience of Rosenblatt’s protagonist strikes a strong chord.” —Publishers Weekly
Honorable Mentions
The Circus Comes to the Village book
Add to list
Ruby in the Ruins book
Add to list
  1. The Circus Comes to the Village - When fall arrives, the circus comes to Paghman village, one of the few pleasures for the villagers. Yamo and his friend Mirado are very excited. Yamo misses his brother, who has gone off to war. Mirado’s father is also away at war. At the circus, the boys browse the vendors, ride the swings and enjoy the shows. Mirado plays his father’s flute with the circus band and his music moves the people’s hearts. When the circus moves on the next day, Mirado leaves with it. As the villagers prepare for the severe winter ahead, Yamo thinks about his friend Mirado and wonders how he is doing. Finally, snow falls. The villagers are happy, since the snow leads to the next year’s harvest. Kobayashi’s illustrations portray the beautiful village life that fall. Then, on the final page we are stunned to learn: “This winter, my village was destroyed by the war, and people escaped to other villages.” But the reader is ultimately left with hope, as the springtime announces the villagers’ return.

  2. Ruby in the Ruins - From beloved British storyteller Shirley Hughes comes a touching tale of unconditional love as a family puts itself back together in postwar London. Ruby and Mum cling to each other while they live through the terrifying London Blitz, waiting for Dad to come home from the war. Day after day they hope for his return — but when the moment to meet him at the station finally comes, Ruby hardly recognizes the tall man who steps off the train. He’s big and sunburned, and he doesn’t seem to be as engaged as he once was. It’s easier to play outside in the wreckage of the bombings than to stay at home with a dad she doesn’t know anymore. But when Ruby hurts her knee in the ruins, there’s only one person who can rescue her and make her feel all right.

Books About War and Heroes

Add to list
The Wall
Written by Eve Bunting
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
A boy and his father come from far away to visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington and find the name of the boy's grandfather, who was killed in the conflict.
Add to list
The Librarian of Basra
Written & illustrated by Jeanette Winter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Presents the true story of how Alia Baker, the librarian of the Basra library, and her friends managed to save the books of the library before the library was burned to the ground during the 2003 Iraq War.
Add to list
The Battle for Skandia
Written by John Flanagan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
Still far from their homeland after escaping slavery in the icebound land of Skandia, Will and Evanlyn's plans to return to Araluen are spoiled when Evanlyn is taken captive by a Temujai warrior. Though still weakened by the warmweed's toxic effects, Will employs his Ranger training to locate his friend, but an enemy scouting party has him fatally outnumbered. Will is certain death is close at hand, until Halt and Horace make a daring, last-minute rescue. The reunion is cut short, however, when Halt makes a horrifying discovery: Skandia's borders have been breached by the entire Temujai army. And Araluen is next in their sights. If two kingdoms are to be saved, an unlikely union must be made. Will it hold long enough to vanquish a ruthless new enemy? Or will past tensions spell doom for all?
Honorable Mentions
The Siege of Macindaw book
Add to list
The Burning Bridge book
Add to list
  1. The Siege of Macindaw - After years as a Ranger’s apprentice, Will is now the protector of his first fief. Not long into his service, everything that can go wrong does: Keren, a renegade knight, has taken over Castle Macindaw, a strategic gateway to the North—poisoning the royal family in the process—and is holding Will’s friend Alyss captive. The situation grows direr when Will uncovers Keren’s secret alliance with the Scotti, who have plans to plunder Araluen. Time is of the essence, and Will must recruit a motley crew to rescue Alyss and reclaim Castle Macindaw—before the Scotti can make it their own.

  2. The Burning Bridge - Bracing for a final clash with the evil warlord Morgarath, the Rangers rally the kingdom’s allies, and Will is chosen, along with his friend Horace, as special envoys to nearby Celtica. But the simple mission soon takes an unsettling turn – the Celticans have disappeared, their town abandoned. The scheming hand of Morgarath, it seems, has been far from idle. He has found a way to bring his legions over the once impassible eastern mountains and is planning to ambush the king’s army in a rout. Now with help many miles away, Will and Horace are the only ones standing in the way of the dark lord’s plans.They have shown great skill and courage in their training, but how will they fare in the face of true evil?

Want to see books about heroes?

Books About War and America

Add to list
Our Flag Was Still There
Written & illustrated by Jessie Hartland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
“So much to like about this, including the folk art–style artwork with childlike appeal, the emphasis on the women who constructed the flag, and the important ways a symbol can influence a country for generations.” —Booklist (starred review) From beloved author-illustrator Jessie Hartland comes a whimsical nonfiction picture book that tells the story of the American flag that inspired the poem and our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” If you go to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, you can see a massive American flag: thirty feet tall and forty-two feet long. That’s huge! But how did it get there? And where did it come from? Well… The story of this giant flag begins in 1812 and stars a major on the eve of battle, a seamstress and her mighty helpers, and a poet named Francis Scott Key. This isn’t just the story of one flag. It’s the story of “The Star Spangled-Banner,” a poem that became our national anthem, too. Dynamically told and stunningly illustrated, Jessie Hartland brings this fascinating and true story to life.
Add to list
The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody
Written by Matthew Landis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
Twelve-year-old Oliver Prichard is obsessed with the Civil War. He knows everything about it: the battles, the generals, every movement of the Union and Confederate Armies. So when the last assignment of seventh-grade history is a project on the Civil War, Oliver is over the moon–until he’s partnered with Ella Berry, the slacker girl with the messy hair who does nothing but stare out the window. And when Oliver finds out they have to research a random soldier named Private Raymond Stone who didn’t even fight in any battles before dying of some boring disease, Oliver knows he’s doomed. But Ella turns out to be very different from what Oliver expected. As the partners film their documentary about Private Stone–with Oliver’s friend Kevin signing on as their head writing consultant–Oliver discovers that sometimes the most interesting things are hiding in uninteresting places. Even Private Stone is better than expected: There’s a mystery buried in his past, and Oliver knows he can figure it out.
Add to list
Mayor Pete
Written by Rob Sanders & illustrated by Levi Hastings
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**Get to know Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a first-of-his-kind candidate running for a one-of-a-kind office, in Rob Sanders' inspiring picture book biography, featuring illustrations by Levi Hastings.** When Pete Buttigieg announced he was running for president, he became the first openly gay candidate to run for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination and the first millennial ever to pursue the office. But before the nation knew him as “Mayor Pete,” he was a boy growing up in a Rust Belt town, a kid who dreamed of being an astronaut, and a high schooler who wondered about a life of public service. Without a doubt, no one could have imagined who Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg, the boy who lived in a two-story house on College Street, would become. Through victories and defeats, and the changes that the seasons bring, the young boy from South Bend grew into a man devoted to helping others. _Mayor Pete: The Story of Pete Buttigieg_ celebrates the life of an American who dared to be the first and who imagined a better world for everyone. A Who Did It First? Book
Honorable Mentions
The Stone Heart book
Add to list
The Eternal Soldier book
Add to list
The Unbreakable Zamperini book
Add to list
Long May She Wave book
Add to list
  1. The Stone Heart - Kaidu and Rat have only just recovered from the assassination attempt on the General of All Blades when more chaos breaks loose in the Nameless City: deep conflicts within the Dao nation are making it impossible to find a political solution for the disputed territory of the City itself. To complicate things further, Kaidu is fairly certain he’s stumbled on a formula for the lost weapon of the mysterious founders of the City. . . . But sharing it with the Dao military would be a complete betrayal of his friendship with Rat. Can Kai find the right solution before the Dao find themselves at war?

  2. The Eternal Soldier - This is the untold story of Sallie, a dog whose life as a soldier began in a basket and ended as a Civil War hero. The pup barked and nearly tumbled out of the basket. We laughed, and immediately we knew—she was one of us already. Brindle fur with streaks of brown and black swirled all over her like a patchwork quilt. She was as pretty as an apple tree in full bloom. We called her Sallie. During the Civil War, Sallie came to the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry as a gift from a townsperson, but she quickly became a favorite among her men. She marched with them from battle to battle, always guarding the unit’s colors, and even met President Lincoln. And over three long days at the battle of Gettysburg, Sallie stayed with the dead, guarded their bodies, and nearly died herself from hunger and thirst as the conflict raged on. Though she fell in battle, her loyalty was rewarded years later when her men met again on the battlefield at Gettysburg to erect her likeness in bronze so that she might eternally guard them. This beautiful story about a dog’s dedication and loyalty shows that bravery comes in all shapes and forms!

  3. The Unbreakable Zamperini - In the 1930s Louis Zamperini was a promising Olympic track athlete. But when World War II broke out, he enlisted and served as a bombardier with the U.S. Army Air Corps. In 1943 Zamperini miraculously survived when his bomber crashed in the Pacific Ocean. But that was just the beginning of his ordeal. After surviving for more than six weeks on a raft at sea, he was captured by Japanese forces and sent to a POW camp. For the next two years Zamperini endured brutal treatment at the hands of the Japanese officer who chose to make an example of him. But no matter how horrible things things became, Zamp refused to be broken. Learn all about Louis Zamperini and his unbreakable spirit as a prisoner of war in World War II.

  4. Long May She Wave - Discover the story of the girl who sewed the American flag that inspired the lyrics of the National Anthem in this beautifully illustrated celebration of our country’s iconic symbol for freedom. Caroline Pickersgill came from a family of the best flag makers in Baltimore. She and her family proudly stitched the grand flag that gallantly whipped in the wind over Fort McHenry. But when the British attacked Baltimore on September 12, 1814, would those broad stripes and bright stars still wave strong? Would America still be free and remain the home of the brave?

Want to see books about America?

Books About War and Places And Regions

Add to list
Brother's Keeper
Written & illustrated by Julie Lee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Two children must escape North Korea on their own in this harrowing novel based on a true story. North Korea. December, 1950. Twelve-year-old Sora and her family live under an iron set of rules: No travel without a permit. No criticism of the government. No absences from Communist meetings. Wear red. Hang pictures of the Great Leader. Don't trust your neighbors. Don't speak your mind. You are being watched. But war is coming, war between North and South Korea, between the Soviets and the Americans. War causes chaos--so war is the perfect time to escape. The plan is simple: Sora and her family will walk for weeks from their tiny northern village to the South Korean city of Busan--if they can avoid napalm, frostbite, border guards, and enemy soldiers. But they can't. And when an incendiary bombing breaks the family apart, Sora and her little brother Young must get to South Korea on their own. Can a twelve-year-old girl and her eight-year-old brother survive three hundred miles of warzone in winter? Based on the incredible true experience of the author's mother as a refugee during the Korean War, Brother's Keeper offers readers a view into a vanished world and a closed nation.
Add to list
Raid of No Return (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #7)
Written & illustrated by Nathan Hale
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Nathan Hale tackles a topic fans have been asking about for years: World War II. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, officially bringing the United States into World War II. A new generation of pilots were recruited to fly bombing missions for the United States, and from that group, volunteers were requested for a dangerous secret assignment. For the first time in American history, Army bombers would be launched from an aircraft carrier. Once at sea, they were told their mission was a retaliation strike against targets in Tokyo. But on the day of the raid, a Japanese patrol boat spotted them and they had to launch early, with barely enough fuel to get them past their target. After the bombing, some pilots crashed, some were captured, and many ended up in mainland China and were carried to safety by Chinese villagers, being hunted by Japanese forces all the while. With tales of high-flying action and bravery, Raid of No Return is a story of heartbreak and survival during wartime.
Add to list
The Most Beautiful Village in the World
Written & illustrated by Yutaka Kobayashi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
A young boy, Yamo, lives in the Afghan village of Paghman. The peaceful village is surrounded by the bounty of nature. Fruit trees burst into bloom in the spring, and in the summer, Yamo's whole family joins in harvesting apricots, plums, and cherries--breaking into song as they pick. This year, for the first time, Yamo goes to the market in town to sell their harvest with his father. He is filling in for his older brother, who is off fighting in the war. After they have sold their fruit, his father uses the income to buy a white baby lamb. Readers will feel experience the deep love of the family, enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the landscape, and vivid activities at the town market. Then on the final page, readers will be stunned to learn: "This winter, my village was destroyed by the war, and now it's all gone." This book, the first of three in the Yamo's Village series, leads the young reader to think in real terms about the meaning of war and its impact. And they understand that there used to be many beautiful villages in Afghanistan.
Honorable Mentions
The House of Sixty Fathers book
Add to list
Navy SEALs: Mission at the Caves book
Add to list
  1. The House of Sixty Fathers - Meindert DeJong is the winner of the 1954 Newbery Award for The Wheel on the School. The New York Herald Tribune praised this book for “its insight that stimulates the imagination and its clear beauty, like that of a Vermeer painting.” The scene of this latest book by Mr. DeJong is China, during the Japanese occupation. Young Tien Pao is alone on his family’s sampan when the boat breaks loose from its moorings and is caught by the rushing waters of the river. When the sampan finally lands, Tien Pao is in Japanese territory. With only his pig for company, he starts on the long and difficult journey back to Hengyang and his parents. The House of Sixty fathers could be the story of any child in any war.In his expressive pictures Maurice Sendak has caught the essence of TienPao and his faith, courage, and unwillingness to surrender his belief in the impossible. The House of Sixty Fathers isbased on Meindert DeJong’s actual experience, During World War 11 Mr. DeJong was official historian for the Chinese-American Composite Wing, which was part of Cbennault’s famous Fourteenth Air Force. A young Chinese war orphan, the Tien Pao of this story, was adopted by DeJong’s outfit. The boy chose DeJong as his special “father,” and the two were devoted to one another. Mr. DeJong wanted to bring the boy back to the United States with him, but because of legal complications he was unable to do so. However, the men in the outfit left the youngster well provided for when they returned to America. The Communists then took over that section of China, and DeJong has never heard what happened to the boy.

  2. Navy SEALs: Mission at the Caves - Brandon Webb is a Navy SEAL on a mission with his platoon.As the SEALs explore a network of caves in Afghanistan, they happen upon enemy soldiers. Outnumbered and with few resources at their disposal, Brandon and his team must call on their training to complete their operation—and to stay alive. Packed with photos, maps, and sidebars to provide context and background, the Special Operations Files series will provide insight into the most elite forces in the U.S. military.These uniquely trained soldiers do what no one else can do:employ high-tech weaponry and old-fashioned bravery to get the job done!

Books About War and History

Add to list
Flowers for Sarajevo
Written by John McCutcheon & illustrated by Kristy Caldwell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Young Drasko is happy working with his father in the Sarajevo market. Then war encroaches. Drasko must run the family flower stand alone. One morning, the bakery is bombed and twenty-two people are killed. The next day, a cellist walks to the bombsite and plays the most heartbreaking music Drasko can imagine. The cellist returns for twenty-two days, one day for each victim of the bombing. Inspired by the musician’s response, Drasko finds a way to help make Sarajevo beautiful again. Based on real events of the Bosnian War, award-winning songwriter and storyteller John McCutcheon tells the uplifting story of the power of beauty in the face of violence and suffering. The story comes to life with the included CD in which cellist Vedran Smailović accompanies McCutcheon and performs the melody that he played in 1992 to honor those who died in the Sarajevo mortar blast.
Add to list
The Sinking of the Vasa
Written by Russell Freedman & illustrated by William Low
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
Newbery Medalist Freedman explores the mystery of the sinking of the great Swedish warship, the "Vasa, " on her maiden voyage in 1628, and her resurrection from the seas centuries later. Full color.
Add to list
Sophia's War
Written by Avi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own. Master storyteller Avi shows exactly how personal politics can be in this “nail-biting thriller” (Publishers Weekly) that is rich in historical detail and rife with action.
Honorable Mentions
Ben's Revolution book
Add to list
The Matchlock Gun book
Add to list
The Player King book
Add to list
  1. Ben's Revolution - History comes alive in this gripping account of a young boy caught up in the start of the Revolutionary War. Based on an episode in National Book Award–winning author Nathaniel Philbrick’s New York Times bestseller Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, this engrossing story allows readers to experience history from a child’s perspective, and Wendell Minor’s stunning paintings will transport readers back to the early days of the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Russell is in school on the morning of April 19th, 1775, when his teacher announces, “The war’s begun, and you may run!” Ben knew this day was coming; after all, tensions had been mounting between the colonists and the British troops ever since the Boston Tea Party. And now they have finally reached the breaking point. Ben and his friends excitedly rush out of their classroom to bear witness, and follow the throngs of redcoats marching out of Boston toward Concord. Much to Ben’s surprise, Boston is sealed off later that day—leaving the boys stuck outside the city, in the middle of a war, with no way to reach their families. But Ben isn’t worried—he’s eager to help the Patriots! He soon becomes a clerk to the jovial Israel Putnam, a general in the provincial army. For months he watches the militia grow into an organized army, and when the Battle of Bunker Hill erupts, Ben is awed by the bravery of the Patriots, although saddened by the toll war takes. He later goes on to become an apprentice at a Revolutionary newspaper, and it’s a happy day when they get to report on the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

  2. The Matchlock Gun - A Newbery Medal Winner In 1756, New York State was still a British colony, and the French and the Indians were constant threats to Edward and his family. When his father was called away to watch for a raid from the north, only Edward was left to protect Mama and little Trudy. His father had shown him how to use the huge matchlock gun, an old Spanish gun that was twice as long as he was, but would Edward be able to handle it if trouble actually came? This classic, first published in 1941, has an updated, kid-friendly format that includes the original black-and-white illustrations.

  3. The Player King - “Swiftly moving and utterly engrossing.” —Shelf Awareness Parents’ Choice Recommended From Newbery Award–winning author Avi comes the gripping and amazingly true tale of a boy plucked from the gutter to become the King of England. England, 1486. King Henry VII has recently snatched the English Crown and now sits on the throne, while young Prince Edward, who has a truer claim, has apparently disappeared. Meanwhile, a penniless kitchen boy named Lambert Simnel is slaving away at a tavern in Oxford—until a mysterious friar, Brother Simonds, buys Lambert from the tavern keeper and whisks him away in the dead of night. But this is nothing compared to the secret that the friar reveals: You, Lambert, are actually Prince Edward, the true King of England! With the aid of the deceitful Earl of Lincoln, Brother Simonds sets out to teach the boy how to become the rightful English king. Lambert has everything to gain and nothing to lose, or so he thinks. Yet in this dangerous battle for the throne, Lambert is not prepared for what’s to come—or for what it really means to play at being a king.

Want to see 20 more books about war and history ?

How about books about history?

Suggested Links