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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!

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Top 10 Books About War

#1
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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.

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#2
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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.

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#3
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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.

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#4
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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.

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#5
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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.

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#6
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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.

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#7
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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.

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#8
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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.

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#9
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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.

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#10
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A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story
Written by Caren Stelson & illustrated by Akira Kusaka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-11

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.

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about War and...

Books About War and World War Ii

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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.

Buy book
$17.99
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$15.29
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$17.14
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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.

Buy book
$17.99
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$15.29
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$17.99
Used $17.99
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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.

Buy book
$8.99
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$7.64
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$8.99
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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Emmeline Pankhurst - 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot - 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.

  4. Hedy Lamarr's Double Life - 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.

Books About War and Girls And Women

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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.

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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.

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Night Witches at War
Written by Bruce Berglund
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14

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.

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  1. The Librarian of Basra - 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Daisy and the Deadly Flu: A 1918 Influenza Survival Story - In 1918, fourteen-year-old Daisy’s family has fallen on hard times. Her sister Elsie’s fiance was recently deployed to fight in World War I, and her father’s newspaper was forced to shut down for criticizing the U.S. entrance into the war. When the Spanish Flu arrives in her small town in Minnesota, Daisy tries to shield her loved ones from the devastating illness. As the influenza pandemic sweeps through the nation, can Daisy protect those closest to home? Featuring nonfiction support material, a glossary, and reader response questions, this Girls Survive story takes readers to one of history’s most important moments.

  4. Nurse, Soldier, Spy - This is the incredible true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who dressed as a man and fought in the Civil War. When she was 19, Sarah cut her hair, donned her brother’s clothes, and fled from Canada, where her father wanted her to marry an elderly gentleman. In the U.S., she went by the name Frank Thompson and joined the Army to fight the Confederates. She was a nurse working on the battlefield when, because of her heroism, she was asked to serve as a spy. At her death, Edmonds was buried in a military cemetery, in a plot reserved for Civil War veterans–the only woman to have this honor.

Books About War and The Holocaust

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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.

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Girl from Over There: The Hopeful Story of a Young Jewish Immigrant
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14
In the aftermath of the Holocaust and World War II, a young Jewish immigrant struggles to fit into her new home as she combats bullying and jealousy from the other children
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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.

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  1. Trapped in Hitler's Web - Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, author of Making Bombs for Hitler, explores the bonds of friendship and family against the perilous backdrop of war.

  2. 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.

  3. Making Bombs for Hitler - For readers who were enthralled by Alan Gratz’s <i>Prisoner B-3087</i> comes a gripping novel about a lesser-known part of WWII.<br></br>Lida thought she was safe. Her neighbors wearing the yellow star were all taken away, but Lida is not Jewish. She will be fine, won’t she? <p/>But she cannot escape the horrors of World War II. <p/>Lida’s parents are ripped away from her and she is separated from her beloved sister, Larissa. The Nazis take Lida to a brutal work camp, where she and other Ukrainian children are forced into backbreaking labor. Starving and terrified, Lida bonds with her fellow prisoners, but none of them know if they’ll live to see tomorrow. <p/>When Lida and her friends are assigned to make bombs for the German army, Lida cannot stand the thought of helping the enemy. Then she has an idea. What if she sabotaged the bombs… and the Nazis? Can she do so without getting caught? <p/>And if she’s freed, will she ever find her sister again? <p/>This pulse-pounding novel of survival, courage, and hope shows us a lesser-known piece of history – and is sure to keep readers captivated until the last page.

  4. I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 (I Survived #9) - One of the darkest periods in history...

Books About War and Siblings

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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.

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The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide
Written by Chris Colfer
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
The epic conclusion to Chris Colfer's #1 New York Times bestselling series The Land of Stories!
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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?

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  1. The War That Saved My Life - 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

Want to see books about siblings?

Books About War and Bravery

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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.

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Lifeboat 12
Written by Susan Hood
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-13

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.

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The Watcher
Written by Joan Hiatt Harlow
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

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  1. Lost Boys - 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

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Books About War and Family

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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.

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Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion
Written by Jane Barclay & illustrated by Renne Benoit
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Much has been written about war and remembrance, but very little of it has been for young children. As questions come from a young grandchild, his grandpa talks about how, as a very young man, he was as proud as a peacock in uniform, busy as a beaver on his Atlantic crossing, and brave as a lion charging into battle. Soon, the old man’s room is filled with an imaginary menagerie as the child thinks about different aspects of wartime. But as he pins medals on his grandpa’s blazer and receives his own red poppy in return, the mood becomes more somber. <p/>Outside, the crowd gathered for the veterans’ parade grows as quiet as a mouse, while men and women – old and young – march past in the rain. A trumpet plays and Grandpa lays a wreath in memory of his lost friend. Just then, the child imagines an elephant in the mist. “Elephants never forget,” he whispers to his grandpa. “Then let’s be elephants,” says the old man, as he wipes water from his eyes and takes his grandson’s hand. <p/><b>Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion</b> has relevance to a growing number of families, as new waves of soldiers leave home.

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At the Mountain's Base
Written by Traci Sorell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A family, separated by duty and distance, waits for a loved one to return home in this lyrical picture book celebrating the bonds of a Cherokee family and the bravery of history-making women pilots.
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  1. 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.

  2. The Summer We Found the Baby - Set during World War II, this poignant, briskly paced historical novel relays the events of one extraordinary summer from three engaging points of view.

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Books About War and Soldiers

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Finding Winnie
Written by Lindsay Mattick & illustrated by Sophie Blackall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie. In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war. Harry Colebourn’s real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey–from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England… And finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin. Here is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

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Allies
Written by Alan Gratz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
A New York Times bestseller!

Alan Gratz, bestselling author of Refugee, weaves a stunning array of voices and stories into an epic tale of teamwork in the face of tyranny -- and how just one day can change the world.

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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.

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  1. Forge - For many readers, <i>Forge</i> “will be one of the best novels they have ever read” (starred review from <i>Kirkus Reviews</i>) </b> <p/>Blistering winds. Bitter cold. And the hope of a new future. In this compelling sequel to <i>Chains</i>, a National Bo

  2. The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery - Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery. As Turnkey, it’s Flossie’s job to ensure that all the souls buried in the cemetery stay at rest. Not an easy job for a young ghost, but a task made especially difficult by World War II: London is being attacked every night by enemy bombers, and even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object that seems to exist in both the living and spirit worlds, she becomes suspicious—what is the officer up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could destroy not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie and her ghostly friends stop the soldier before it’s too late? History collides with the supernatural in this exciting, ethereal mystery from Allison Rushby.

  3. Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops - Inspired by her own granddaughter Natalie, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, tells a story through a child’s eyes of what family life is like when a parent is at war across the world. When her father leaves for a year of being at war, Natalie knows that she will miss him. Natalie is proud of her father, but there is nothing to stop her from wishing he was home. Some things do help her feel better. Natalie works with her Nana to send her dad and the other service men and women cookies and treats they have made. Natalie, her mom, and her brother can see and talk to Dad over the computer, and the kindness of friends at school and at church help her feel supported and loved. But there is nothing like the day when her Dad comes home at last.

  4. Soldier's Heart - In June 1861, when the Civil War began, Charley Goddard enlisted in the First Minnesota Volunteers. He was 15. He didn’t know what a shooting war meant or what he was fighting for. But he didn’t want to miss out on a great adventure. <BR>The shooting war turned out to be the horror of combat and the wild luck of survival; how it feels to cross a field toward the enemy, waiting for fire. When he entered the service he was a boy. When he came back he was different; he was only 19, but he was a man with soldier’s heart, later known as battle fatigue.

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Books About War and Heroes

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The Wall
Written by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Ronald Himler
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.

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Americas White Table
Written by Margot Theis Raven & illustrated by Mike Benny
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The White Table is set in many mess halls as a symbol for and remembrance to service members fallen, missing, or held captive in the line of duty. Solitary and solemn, it is the table where no one will ever sit. As a special gift to her Uncle John, Katie and her sisters are asked to help set the white table for dinner. As their mother explains the significance of each item placed on the table Katie comes to understand and appreciate the depth of sacrifice that her uncle, and each member of the Armed Forces and their families, may be called to give. It was just a little white table… but it felt as big as America when we helped Mama put each item on it and she told us why it was so important. “We use a Small Table, girls,” she explained first, “to show one soldier’s lonely battle against many. We cover it with a White Cloth to honor a soldier’s pure heart when he answers his country’s call to duty.” “We place a Lemon Slice and Grains of Salt on a plate to show a captive soldier’s bitter fate and the tears of families waiting for loved ones to return,” she continued.”We push an Empty Chair to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here…”

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The Siege of Macindaw
Written by John Flanagan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

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.

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  1. The Battle for Skandia - 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?

  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?

  3. War Stories - From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Restart, a story of telling truth from lies -- and finding out what being a hero really means.

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Books About War and World War I

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Tucky Jo and Little Heart
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Friendship, loyalty, and kindness stand the test of time in this heartwarming World War II-era picture book based on a true story from the beloved author-illustrator of <i>Pink and Say </i>and <i>The Keeping Quilt</i>. <p/>Tucky Jo was known as the “kid from Kentucky” when he enlisted in the army at age fifteen. Being the youngest recruit in the Pacific during World War II was tough. But he finds a friend in a little girl who helps him soothe his bug bites, and he gets to know her family and gives them some of his rations. Although the little girl doesn’t speak English, Tucky Jo and Little Heart share the language of kindness. Many years later, Tucky Jo and Little Heart meet again, and an act of kindness is returned when it’s needed the most in this touching picture book based on a true story.

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Butterfly
Written by Patricia Polacco
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Ever since the Nazis marched into Monique’s small French village, terrorizing it, nothing surprises her, until the night Monique encounters ?the little ghost? sitting at the end of her bed. She turns out to be a girl named Sevrine, who has been hiding from the Nazis in Monique’s basement. Playing after dark, the two become friends, until, in a terrifying moment, they are discovered, sending both of their families into a nighttime flight.

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Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War
Written & illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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.

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  1. Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story - This unforgettable tale, illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Barbara Cooney, has become a seasonal classic-a touching and joyful story about courage and the power of family.

  2. Hanna's Cold Winter -

  3. On the Horizon - From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII's most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Kenard Pak.

  4. Rilla of Ingleside (Special Collector's) - Anne’s children were almost grown up, except for pretty, high-spirited Rilla. No one could resist her bright hazel eyes and dazzling smile. Rilla, almost fifteen, can’t think any further ahead than going to her very first dance at the Four Winds lighthouse and getting her first kiss from handsome<P> Kenneth Ford. But undreamed-of challenges await the irrepressible Rilla when the world of Ingleside becomes endangered by a far-off war. Her brothers go off to fight, and Rilla brings home an orphaned newborn in a soup tureen. She is swept into a drama that tests her courage and leaves her changed forever.

Books About War and 19th Century

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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.

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Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem
Written by Tim Grove
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
The little-known and inspiring story behind the national anthem and the stars and stripes
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Caroline's Battle: 1812
Written by & illustrated by Lisa Papp
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Caroline’s father has just returned when they receive frightening news–British warships are sailing to attack Sackets Harbor. Every grown man, including Papa, has been called to defend the village. Mama and Caroline are left alone to guard Abbott’s Shipyard as the battlefront draws ever closer. Caroline knows she must be brave to keep Papa’s shipyard safe. But when the battle seems lost, Mama gives her a terrible order: burn the shipyard to the ground. Will Caroline really be able to do what must be done? The illustrated “Looking Back” section discusses the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the burning of the White House during the War of 1812.

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  1. Changes for Caroline - A letter arrives for Caroline, asking her to come help her uncle Aaron and cousin Lydia on their new farm for the summer. Although Caroline is reluctant to leave her family, she’s eager to lend a hand. So when she suspects that a thief has been stealing much-needed food from the farm, Caroline helps keep watch to guard against the uninvited visitor. Then she makes an unexpected discovery–and learns that some things are not as simple as they seem. The illustrated “Looking Back” section explores how America began to change at the end of the War of 1812.

  2. Perilous Road - A 1959 Newbery Honor Book

Books About War and Places And Regions

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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.

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Raid of No Return: A World War II Tale
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.

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Return to the Most Beautiful Village in the World
Written & illustrated by Yutaka Kobayashi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Mirado has been traveling with the circus all over the world, but he still thinks of Paghman Village and his friend Yamo every day. When he hears the news that the long war will be over, Mirado decides to return to the village, heading east by train, bus, carriage, and finally by foot. Supported by the kindness of people he meets on the way, he finally arrives, but he sees Paghman Village was completely destroyed by the war–and he can’t find Yamo. But one morning as he plays his flute on the street, people gather around, and Mirado hears a familiar voice singing.

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  1. A Scarf for Keiko - It's 1942. Sam's class is knitting socks for soldiers and Sam is a terrible knitter. Keiko is a good knitter, but some kids at school don't want anything to do with her because the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor and her family is Japanese American. When Keiko's family is forced to move to a camp for Japanese Americans, can Sam find a way to demonstrate his friendship?

  2. 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?

  3. The Most Beautiful Village in the World - 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.

  4. The Turtle Ship - A young Korean boy named Sun-sin designs one of the greatest battleships in history and fulfills his dream of sailing the world.

Books About War and Social Themes

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The Hawk and the Dove
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.

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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.

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My Grandfather's War
Written & illustrated by Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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.

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  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. Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War - On May 27, 1937, over four hundred children sailed for Morelia, Mexico, fleeing the violence of the Spanish Civil War. Home was no longer safe, and Mexico was welcoming refugees by the thousands. Each child packed a suitcase and boarded the Mexique, expecting to return home in a few months. This was just a short trip, an extra-long summer vacation, they thought. But the war did not end in a few months, and the children stayed, waiting and wondering, in Mexico. When the war finally ended, a dictator--the Fascist Francisco Franco--ruled Spain. Home was even more dangerous than before.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 Parents

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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.

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New Coat for Anna
Written by Harriet Ziefert
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Illus. in full color. “A fresh and moving story of a mother’s dedication to<BR>acquire a coat for her daughter in post-World War II hard times. Anna’s mother<BR>decides to trade the few valuables she has left for wool and for the services<BR>of a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor. Lobel’s pictures do a tremendous job of<BR>evoking the period. Insightful and informative, this may make children consider<BR>how precious the ordinary can become in times of turmoil.”–(starred)<BR> “Booklist. <BR>”

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Renato and the Lion
Written & illustrated by Barbara Dilorenzo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

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.

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  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. War Is Over - Transcending its time and period, this moving and lyrical story, beautifully illustrated, explores the fear and hope of children in time of war.

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Books About War and Animals

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Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War
Written by Mireille Messier & illustrated by Kass Reich
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

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Remembering Vera
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

From beloved author Patricia Polacco comes the heartwarming and true story of Vera, an amazing dog who was found as a stray by the US Coast Guard, moved into the San Francisco Bay base, and became a hero and friend. <p/>In 1962 a stray dog was found under a pile of boxes in a Coast Guard warehouse in what used to be called Government Island, the Coast Guard Base in San Francisco Bay, when a seaman named Dave Bunch was mopping the floor. It was love at first sight. At first the men decided to hide the pup from the Commander, thinking she wouldn’t be allowed. But soon enough all of the men in the barracks fell hard for the little dog. Then one day when high waves challenged another vessel at sea, it was Vera’s fierce determination and natural swimming ability that brought the life preserver and safety line to the sinking boat. Vera became a hero and the beloved pet and mascot of the San Francisco Coast Guard.

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Rags: Hero Dog of WWI: A True Story
Written by Margot Theis Raven
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

During World War I, while stationed overseas in France with the United States Army, Private James Donovan literally stumbles upon a small dog cowering on the streets of Paris. Named Rags for his disheveled appearance, the little stray quickly finds a home with Donovan and a place in his heart. Although the Army did not have an official canine division, Rags accompanies Donovan to the battlefield, making himself a useful companion delivering messages and providing a much-appreciated morale boost to the soldiers. News about Rags spreads and soon the little dog’s battlefield exploits become the stuff of legend. But during a fierce battle near the end of the war, both Rags and Donovan are wounded. Severely injured, Donovan is sent back to the United States. And the little dog with the big heart refuses to leave his best friend’s side.

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  1. Julius Zebra: Battle with the Britons! - 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?

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

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Books About War and America

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Ashes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

Return to the American Revolution in this blistering conclusion to the Seeds of America trilogy that began with the bestselling National Book Award Finalist <i>Chains</i> and continued with <i>Forge</i>, which <i>Kirkus Reviews</i> called “the best book you’ll ever read.” <p/>As the Revolutionary War rages on, Isabel and Curzon have narrowly escaped Valley Forge–but their relief is short-lived. Before long they are reported as runaways, and the awful Bellingham is determined to track them down. With purpose and faith, Isabel and Curzon march on, fiercely determined to find Isabel’s little sister Ruth, who is enslaved in a Southern state–where bounty hunters are thick as flies. <p/>Heroism and heartbreak pave their path, but Isabel and Curzon won’t stop until they reach Ruth, and then freedom, in this grand finale to the acclaimed <i>New York Times </i>bestselling trilogy from Laurie Halse Anderson.

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Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen?
Written by Sherri L. Smith & illustrated by Jake Murray
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
It's up, up, and away with the Tuskegee Airmen, a heroic group of African American military pilots who helped the United States win World War II
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Rosie: Stronger Than Steel
Written & illustrated by Lindsay Ward
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A brave tractor farms for freedom in a story inspired by women who acted with courage and strength in American factories and on British farms during World War II.

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  1. Sophia's War - 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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How about books about America?

Books About War and 21st Century

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Mayor Pete: The Story of Pete Buttigieg
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

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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.

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Seven and a Half Tons of Steel
Written by Janet Nolan & illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

The USS New York is big like other navy ships, and it sails like other navy ships, but there is something special about this navy ship.<br>Following the events of September 11, 2001, a beam from the World Trade Center Towers was given to the United States Navy. The beam was driven from New York to a foundry in Louisiana, where the seven and a half tons of steel, which had once been a beam in the World Trade Center, became a navy ship’s bow.<br>Powerful text from Janet Nolan is paired with stunning illustrations from New York Times best-selling illustrator Thomas Gonzalez (14 Cows for America) in this inspiring story that reveals how something remarkable can emerge from a devastating event.

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  1. 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.

  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 Survival Stories

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Refugee
Written by Alan Gratz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
A tour de force from acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087), this timely -- and timeless -- novel tells the powerful story of three different children seeking refuge.
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Stones in Water (Revised)
Written by Donna Jo Napoli
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When Roberto sneaks off to see a movie in his Italian village, he has no idea that life as he knows it is over. German soldiers raid the theater, round up the boys in the audience, and pack them onto a train. After a terrifying journey, Roberto and his best friend Samuele find themselves in a brutal work camp, where food is scarce and horror is everywhere. The boys vow to stay together no matter what. But Samuele has a dangerous secret, which, if discovered, could get them both killed. Lovers of historical fiction will be captivated by this tragic, triumphant, and deeply moving novel.

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Village of Scoundrels
Written by Margi Preus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Newbery Honor recipient Margi Preus tells the incredible true story of a group of French teenagers who helped save refugees in WWII

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  1. Alice on the Island: A Pearl Harbor Survival Story - In 1941, thirteen-year-old Alice’s days are filled with swimming in the Hawaiian sea, going to school, and helping watch her younger siblings. But on December 7, everything changes when she experiences an act of war, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As the United States enters World War II, Alice’s father is sent to a Japanese internment camp, leaving Alice and the rest of her family struggling to adjust to life without him. Featuring nonfiction support material, a glossary, and reader response questions, this Girls Survive story takes readers to one of history’s most important moments.

  2. In a Flash - A riveting and dramatic story of two devoted sisters, Italian citizens, who must survive in WWII Japan.

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