Historical Novels for Children: The Twentieth Century to the End of World War II

The novels in this list tell stories that begin at the turn of the twentieth century up through 1945, when the world began piecing itself back together after having been rocked for a second time by war.

The novels in this list tell stories that begin at the turn of the twentieth century up through 1945, when the world began piecing itself back together after having been rocked for a second time by war.

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Breaker at Dawn

Author: Sullivan, Paul

Subjects: American History; Immigration; Coal Mining; Child Labor

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 978-0-88092-705-5

Order code: 7055

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 7055S

Breaker at Dawn Cover

This is a novel about the American coal industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is told from the point of view of Paddy O'Grady, a twelve-year-old boy working in a Pennsylvania mine in the breaker, where boys under the age of fourteen sorted through rapidly-moving streams of coal, picking out rocks and shale from the anthracite that was being conveyed to waiting railcars.

Miners and their families came from all over the world, including Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Italy. The mine owners encouraged ethnic rivalries to keep the workers segregated and relatively powerless, and the mining towns were divided by ethnicity. But the mining families had in common that they were all poor, and Paddy was not unusual in going to work in the breaker at the age of eight. The law said that children under twelve were not allowed to work, but the O’Grady family desperately needed the income Paddy could bring in, and documents could be manufactured as needed.

The boys who survived the twelve-hour days in the breaker could go down into the mines and earn more money when they turned fourteen, but the work was dangerous. Men lost their lives, whether suddenly in events such as cave-ins or slowly as a result of years of breathing in the toxic coal dust. As long as the coal companies could keep the workers fragmented, conditions would never change, but one man was encouraging the various factions to work together, united in purpose if not in language or heritage. Paddy was excited by the prospect of change, and yet he longed to be a miner like his father, for he couldn't imagine any other future. His father, however, could, and in the end, though banding together for the good of all was the right thing in one moment, the O'Grady family still had a hard decision to make on their own.

This is a gripping novel—not just for young people but for readers of all ages who appreciate a masterful story about a time in the not-so-distant past when circumstances were quite different but human grit and resolve were very much the same.

This is a novel about the American coal industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is told from the point of view of Paddy O'Grady, a twelve-year-old boy working in a Pennsylvania mine in the breaker, where boys under the age of fourteen sorted through rapidly-moving streams of coal, picking out rocks and shale from the anthracite that was being conveyed to waiting railcars.

Miners and their families came from all over the world, including Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Italy. The mine owners encouraged ethnic rivalries to keep the workers segregated and relatively powerless, and the mining towns were divided by ethnicity. But the mining families had in common that they were all poor, and Paddy was not unusual in going to work in the breaker at the age of eight. The law said that children under twelve were not allowed to work, but the O’Grady family desperately needed the income Paddy could bring in, and documents could be manufactured as needed.

The boys who survived the twelve-hour days in the breaker could go down into the mines and earn more money when they turned fourteen, but the work was dangerous. Men lost their lives, whether suddenly in events such as cave-ins or slowly as a result of years of breathing in the toxic coal dust. As long as the coal companies could keep the workers fragmented, conditions would never change, but one man was encouraging the various factions to work together, united in purpose if not in language or heritage. Paddy was excited by the prospect of change, and yet he longed to be a miner like his father, for he couldn't imagine any other future. His father, however, could, and in the end, though banding together for the good of all was the right thing in one moment, the O'Grady family still had a hard decision to make on their own.

This is a gripping novel—not just for young people but for readers of all ages who appreciate a masterful story about a time in the not-so-distant past when circumstances were quite different but human grit and resolve were very much the same.

Breaker at Dawn Cover

Breaker at Dawn Sample Pages:

Old Wild Man Terry

Author: Moore, Billy Loran

Subjects: American History; Horses; Native Americans

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-89824-610-0

Order code: 6100

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Old Wild Man Terry Cover

It's the year 1912, and thirteen-year-old Erin has heard rumors about an old hermit who lives in the desert canyons near her home in southwest Texas, but she thinks they're just stories that adults tell to scare children. But when her family's Missouri Fox Trotter mares escape with a herd of wild mustangs, she discovers that the myth is in fact a reality. In an attempt to recapture their horses, she and her twin brother, along with the son of the ranch hands who take care of their property, are injured, and it is Old Wild Man Terry who saves them. Soon Erin learns that the kind but strange-looking man has a fascinating history that includes being raised as a Black Seminole Indian and protecting settlers along the border between the U.S. and Mexico from raiding Indians and outlaws. And, it turns out, he's got a way with horses.

Billy Moore is also the author of The Runaway Scrape, a historical novel about the Texas Revolution of 1836.

It's the year 1912, and thirteen-year-old Erin has heard rumors about an old hermit who lives in the desert canyons near her home in southwest Texas, but she thinks they're just stories that adults tell to scare children. But when her family's Missouri Fox Trotter mares escape with a herd of wild mustangs, she discovers that the myth is in fact a reality. In an attempt to recapture their horses, she and her twin brother, along with the son of the ranch hands who take care of their property, are injured, and it is Old Wild Man Terry who saves them. Soon Erin learns that the kind but strange-looking man has a fascinating history that includes being raised as a Black Seminole Indian and protecting settlers along the border between the U.S. and Mexico from raiding Indians and outlaws. And, it turns out, he's got a way with horses.

Billy Moore is also the author of The Runaway Scrape, a historical novel about the Texas Revolution of 1836.

Old Wild Man Terry Cover

Old Wild Man Terry Sample Pages:

Liberty Girl

Author: Black, Robert

Subjects: School Experience; American History; World War I; Multicultural Friendship; Growing Up/Girls

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092-489-4

Order code: 4894

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4894S

Liberty Girl Cover

This book is set during the last year of World War I in Baltimore, Maryland. Author Robert Black has created the novel out of his grandmother's memories of growing up in wartime Baltimore, and he paints a visually vibrant canvas of the period. His characters are in believable situations and speak believable dialogue.

Seventh grader Eleanor Blizzard and her mother have moved from their home in Indiana to be with Mr. Blizzard. Her father is doing essential work for the Allies in the Great War against Germany. The family will remain in Baltimore as long as the war lasts.

Not yet enrolled in school and with no one her age around, Eleanor and teenage Maggie, the African-American housekeeper of the building, begin a friendship that transcends the differences in their social and economic positions and their cultures. In an environment of war hysteria, the great influenza pandemic, and the racial divides of 1918 Baltimore, Eleanor attempts to make friends and to do what she knows to be right.

Once in school, Eleanor is singled out as dangerously different and is made the object of bullying. Classmates, led by Boy Scout Billy Blake, believe that she lived in a log cabin in Indiana and that her studying German in school makes her suspect for espionage. Stuck-up Gail Jaspers, whose father is reputed to be a war hero on the Front, doesn't miss an opportunity to belittle Eleanor's father's role in the war, as well as the role of Eleanor's uncle, who is a medic in the field. Sentiment is so against Eleanor that she is asked to leave school for a time for her own safety. Eleanor does not want to return, but Maggie convinces her that the only way to make life better is to go back.

Everyone wants to go to the big war rally at the Fifth Regimental Armory. John Phillip Souza and his band will be there, as will the Vice President of the United States. Billy promises that as ushers, the Boy Scouts can sneak some friends in. Eleanor, as part of the group, does not suspect that Billy has abandoned her to embarrass her. Events lead her to meet the Vice President, and Billy and his ushers get into big trouble on their own.

Before the Great War was really over, an erroneous French report of armistice spread worldwide over the wire services. Historically accurate, Liberty Girl captures the glorious moment and its jubilation that the peace announcement brought. The novel also explores the empty feeling in the hearts and minds of the country as the mistake came to light. An influenza pandemic also involves the characters in varying degrees of difficulty.

Read more about the origins of this story, with photographs of the real Eleanor Blizzard and Maggie, and to see the author's study guide for this book.

Robert Black is also the author of Unswept Graves and The Eyes of the Enemy, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

This book is set during the last year of World War I in Baltimore, Maryland. Author Robert Black has created the novel out of his grandmother's memories of growing up in wartime Baltimore, and he paints a visually vibrant canvas of the period. His characters are in believable situations and speak believable dialogue.

Seventh grader Eleanor Blizzard and her mother have moved from their home in Indiana to be with Mr. Blizzard. Her father is doing essential work for the Allies in the Great War against Germany. The family will remain in Baltimore as long as the war lasts.

Not yet enrolled in school and with no one her age around, Eleanor and teenage Maggie, the African-American housekeeper of the building, begin a friendship that transcends the differences in their social and economic positions and their cultures. In an environment of war hysteria, the great influenza pandemic, and the racial divides of 1918 Baltimore, Eleanor attempts to make friends and to do what she knows to be right.

Once in school, Eleanor is singled out as dangerously different and is made the object of bullying. Classmates, led by Boy Scout Billy Blake, believe that she lived in a log cabin in Indiana and that her studying German in school makes her suspect for espionage. Stuck-up Gail Jaspers, whose father is reputed to be a war hero on the Front, doesn't miss an opportunity to belittle Eleanor's father's role in the war, as well as the role of Eleanor's uncle, who is a medic in the field. Sentiment is so against Eleanor that she is asked to leave school for a time for her own safety. Eleanor does not want to return, but Maggie convinces her that the only way to make life better is to go back.

Everyone wants to go to the big war rally at the Fifth Regimental Armory. John Phillip Souza and his band will be there, as will the Vice President of the United States. Billy promises that as ushers, the Boy Scouts can sneak some friends in. Eleanor, as part of the group, does not suspect that Billy has abandoned her to embarrass her. Events lead her to meet the Vice President, and Billy and his ushers get into big trouble on their own.

Before the Great War was really over, an erroneous French report of armistice spread worldwide over the wire services. Historically accurate, Liberty Girl captures the glorious moment and its jubilation that the peace announcement brought. The novel also explores the empty feeling in the hearts and minds of the country as the mistake came to light. An influenza pandemic also involves the characters in varying degrees of difficulty.

Read more about the origins of this story, with photographs of the real Eleanor Blizzard and Maggie, and to see the author's study guide for this book.

Robert Black is also the author of Unswept Graves and The Eyes of the Enemy, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Liberty Girl Cover

Links

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town

Author: Buckley, Anne

Subjects: Romance; American History; African-Americans

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 4586

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4586S

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town Cover

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town was inspired by an overnight visit that Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt made to Lancaster, Texas, in 1936, prior to attending the Texas Centennial. The novel, a work of historical fiction, traces the efforts of a young African-American woman, Olive Johnson, as she moves beyond her station of maid and creates a new life for herself.

Olive is empowered by Mrs. Roosevelt’s words and spirit. She learns about Mrs. Roosevelt by reading her work aloud to her employer, Ethel Wilson, whose untimely death sends Olive to the home of Louise and Bill Andrews as a maid. Abusive treatment from Louise prompts Olive to consider other work. The opening of Madam C.J. Walker’s College of Beauty Culture in Dallas, a school for colored cosmetologists, answers her dreams. After working for the Andrews during the day, Olive commutes to school nightly on the electric trolley (the Interurban). Tuition is a strain, but her mother, Bessie Mae, helps her work it out. A young African-American porter, Lewis Bonner, becomes intrigued with Olive and her determination, and he helps her overcome her apprehension about the big city and school. Usually shy, Olive warms to him. Bessie Mae and Pastor Simpson of the Free Will Baptist Church favorably measure Lewis’s character, and with their approval, romance develops.

Louise Andrews, hating to lose a good maid, tries to derail Olive’s education by loading her down with impossible household chores, but Olive perseveres because she needs the money. Olive’s moments of joy and laughter come from third grader Lily, Louise’s daughter, and Lily’s grandmother Ella. They forge a deep and caring relationship. Events take a tragic turn when Olive’s mother dies in a tornado. Overcome with grief, Olive retreats within herself, rejects Lewis, and finds solace only in her beauty training. She struggles to cope with the devastating change in her life.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s written words echo in Olive’s mind, and when Mrs. Roosevelt finally arrives in town and speaks to the crowd gathered at the strain station, Olive’s inner soul knows that Mrs. Roosevelt’s speech is for her. Mrs. Roosevelt’s words about fear, race, immigrant families, and an individual’s spirit empower Olive. Lewis is the porter on the Roosevelts’ railroad car. Heeding her soul and her inner strength, Olive steps forward to join him and begin her new life.

Author Anne Buckley has been a freelance writer, journalist, and publicist. Winner of the Anita Cole Memorial Scholarship, University of North Texas Centennial Literary Festival, Anne is also an active member of Women in Film/Dallas and the Dallas Screenwriters Association. She resides in Dallas, Texas.

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town was inspired by an overnight visit that Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt made to Lancaster, Texas, in 1936, prior to attending the Texas Centennial. The novel, a work of historical fiction, traces the efforts of a young African-American woman, Olive Johnson, as she moves beyond her station of maid and creates a new life for herself.

Olive is empowered by Mrs. Roosevelt’s words and spirit. She learns about Mrs. Roosevelt by reading her work aloud to her employer, Ethel Wilson, whose untimely death sends Olive to the home of Louise and Bill Andrews as a maid. Abusive treatment from Louise prompts Olive to consider other work. The opening of Madam C.J. Walker’s College of Beauty Culture in Dallas, a school for colored cosmetologists, answers her dreams. After working for the Andrews during the day, Olive commutes to school nightly on the electric trolley (the Interurban). Tuition is a strain, but her mother, Bessie Mae, helps her work it out. A young African-American porter, Lewis Bonner, becomes intrigued with Olive and her determination, and he helps her overcome her apprehension about the big city and school. Usually shy, Olive warms to him. Bessie Mae and Pastor Simpson of the Free Will Baptist Church favorably measure Lewis’s character, and with their approval, romance develops.

Louise Andrews, hating to lose a good maid, tries to derail Olive’s education by loading her down with impossible household chores, but Olive perseveres because she needs the money. Olive’s moments of joy and laughter come from third grader Lily, Louise’s daughter, and Lily’s grandmother Ella. They forge a deep and caring relationship. Events take a tragic turn when Olive’s mother dies in a tornado. Overcome with grief, Olive retreats within herself, rejects Lewis, and finds solace only in her beauty training. She struggles to cope with the devastating change in her life.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s written words echo in Olive’s mind, and when Mrs. Roosevelt finally arrives in town and speaks to the crowd gathered at the strain station, Olive’s inner soul knows that Mrs. Roosevelt’s speech is for her. Mrs. Roosevelt’s words about fear, race, immigrant families, and an individual’s spirit empower Olive. Lewis is the porter on the Roosevelts’ railroad car. Heeding her soul and her inner strength, Olive steps forward to join him and begin her new life.

Author Anne Buckley has been a freelance writer, journalist, and publicist. Winner of the Anita Cole Memorial Scholarship, University of North Texas Centennial Literary Festival, Anne is also an active member of Women in Film/Dallas and the Dallas Screenwriters Association. She resides in Dallas, Texas.

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town Cover

Growing Up as a Greek-American

Author: Kallas, John

Subjects: American History; Diversity; Personal Experience; Greek-Americans; Growing Up

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Pages: 158

ISBN: 978-0-89824-489-2

Order code: 4892

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4892S

Growing Up as a Greek-American Cover

John Kallas was born in America in 1922 to Greek parents who had immigrated to the United States not long before. His father was a storyteller, and John carries on that tradition in this book, which artfully describes what being a Greek-American in the twentieth century was like. The stories are warm, funny, loving, and accurate. They are about John's parents and siblings, his childhood in the Greek neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, his school experiences, his time serving in the Army during World War II, his visit as an adult to his parents' villages in Greece, and more. This is life as it was lived in Greek-American households across the country as families bridged the divide between two very different cultures. They are the challenges and triumphs of a strong people in a land where diversity was not always welcome.

Although author John Kallas could not speak a word of English when he entered kindergarten, he worked hard and eventually earn both an M.A. and a Ph.D. He knew well the immigrant experience, and he shares it in this book in a way that brings it to life and makes it real. These are stories that readers will carry with them and that will help them to appreciate the beautiful, quirky, friendly, hard-working people who are the Greeks and the Greek-Americans.

John Kallas was born in America in 1922 to Greek parents who had immigrated to the United States not long before. His father was a storyteller, and John carries on that tradition in this book, which artfully describes what being a Greek-American in the twentieth century was like. The stories are warm, funny, loving, and accurate. They are about John's parents and siblings, his childhood in the Greek neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, his school experiences, his time serving in the Army during World War II, his visit as an adult to his parents' villages in Greece, and more. This is life as it was lived in Greek-American households across the country as families bridged the divide between two very different cultures. They are the challenges and triumphs of a strong people in a land where diversity was not always welcome.

Although author John Kallas could not speak a word of English when he entered kindergarten, he worked hard and eventually earn both an M.A. and a Ph.D. He knew well the immigrant experience, and he shares it in this book in a way that brings it to life and makes it real. These are stories that readers will carry with them and that will help them to appreciate the beautiful, quirky, friendly, hard-working people who are the Greeks and the Greek-Americans.

Growing Up as a Greek-American Cover

Growing Up as a Greek-American Sample Pages:

River Rats

Author: Wyatt, Leslie J.

Subjects: Bullying; Leadership; Family Relationships; Growing Up

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 978-0-89824-378-9

Order code: 3789

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 3789S

River Rats Cover

Twelve-year-old Kenny spends his days on the Chariton River in 1940s rural Missouri with his older brother Jim and their two best friends, swimming, fishing, and roaming the countryside. Kenny's love of the resplendent beauty of the river bottomlands is almost as boundless as his love for Jim, but his fidelity to his older brother has begun, at times, to feel misguided.

When a new boy, Henry, moves into the area, Jim takes a disliking to him almost immediately. Not only is he poor and living in an abusive home, but Henry, in his calm, understated way, is better at nearly everything, and it is obvious to everyone that he has more honor and integrity than Jim. Kenny likes Henry, and Jim's unfair and increasingly vicious behavior toward the boy places Kenny in a position in which he feels he must choose between loyalty to his brother and a defense of what he knows to be right.

Set against the backdrop of World War II, Kenny's inner turmoil is a reflection of the events playing out across the ocean. The decision that Kenny must make is agonizing, its consequences unthinkable no matter which path he chooses. This achingly beautiful novel is a poignant story told in the authentic voice of a boy who is forced to face the truth of who he is—as a brother, as a friend, and as a human being.

Review:
"Playing out against the small foreground of local events is a big story on the world stage: over in Europe, another dominating individual is bending all of Europe to his sway. Kenny comes to realize that trivial-seeming decisions can have big consequences, and a tyrant is a tyrant, no matter how petty. Readers will appreciate the authentic feel of the times and the interplay between characters." – Redeemedreader.com

Author Leslie J. Wyatt learned first-hand about the Chariton River bottoms from someone who grew up there. "Listening to his stories was like stepping into a bygone age. I began to wish I could capture them for my children and all the other children in the world who would never get to live that life."

Wyatt’s writing credits include a previous historical novel and more than 200 stories and articles in national magazines. A two-time graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), she served as 2010 SCBWI Missouri Mentor and has presented at literature festivals, SCBWI writing conferences, schools, and homeschool co-ops. Her work is varied, but the themes of justice, individuality, and heritage run throughout them. She is the author of The Flight of the Cliff Bird, also published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Twelve-year-old Kenny spends his days on the Chariton River in 1940s rural Missouri with his older brother Jim and their two best friends, swimming, fishing, and roaming the countryside. Kenny's love of the resplendent beauty of the river bottomlands is almost as boundless as his love for Jim, but his fidelity to his older brother has begun, at times, to feel misguided.

When a new boy, Henry, moves into the area, Jim takes a disliking to him almost immediately. Not only is he poor and living in an abusive home, but Henry, in his calm, understated way, is better at nearly everything, and it is obvious to everyone that he has more honor and integrity than Jim. Kenny likes Henry, and Jim's unfair and increasingly vicious behavior toward the boy places Kenny in a position in which he feels he must choose between loyalty to his brother and a defense of what he knows to be right.

Set against the backdrop of World War II, Kenny's inner turmoil is a reflection of the events playing out across the ocean. The decision that Kenny must make is agonizing, its consequences unthinkable no matter which path he chooses. This achingly beautiful novel is a poignant story told in the authentic voice of a boy who is forced to face the truth of who he is—as a brother, as a friend, and as a human being.

Review:
"Playing out against the small foreground of local events is a big story on the world stage: over in Europe, another dominating individual is bending all of Europe to his sway. Kenny comes to realize that trivial-seeming decisions can have big consequences, and a tyrant is a tyrant, no matter how petty. Readers will appreciate the authentic feel of the times and the interplay between characters." – Redeemedreader.com

Author Leslie J. Wyatt learned first-hand about the Chariton River bottoms from someone who grew up there. "Listening to his stories was like stepping into a bygone age. I began to wish I could capture them for my children and all the other children in the world who would never get to live that life."

Wyatt’s writing credits include a previous historical novel and more than 200 stories and articles in national magazines. A two-time graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), she served as 2010 SCBWI Missouri Mentor and has presented at literature festivals, SCBWI writing conferences, schools, and homeschool co-ops. Her work is varied, but the themes of justice, individuality, and heritage run throughout them. She is the author of The Flight of the Cliff Bird, also published by Royal Fireworks Press.

River Rats Cover

River Rats Sample Pages:

Links

The Eyes of the Enemy

Author: Black, Robert

Subjects: World War II; Historical Fiction

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

ISBN: 978-0-89824-323-9

Order code: 3239

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

The Eyes of the Enemy Cover

 Praise for Black’s books: “Very highly recommended… quite special and unique approach to storytelling.” – Midwest Book Review

An original, deftly crafted, inherently absorbing and thoroughly entertaining read for children ages 11 to 15, “The Eyes of the Enemy” by Robert Black is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library Historical Fiction collections for young readers.” – Children’s Bookwatch

It is 1944, and the war between the United States and Japan rages across the Pacific. Back in Nebraska, Kathy Syverson has been having unusual dreams—very unusual dreams. She sees her brother Danny in a foreign land, living as a Marine. But Kathy doesn’t just see him; she is there. Her life in America is disturbed by vivid glimpses into her brother’s struggle overseas. Through these dreams she is afforded a unique perspective on those living on both sides of the front line.

Author, Robert Black writes:

"Seventy-two years ago in August, the Second World War was over with the dropping of the second atomic bomb on mainland Japan. In June the Battle of Okinawa was the last major engagement. At that point in the war, the Japanese strategy was to make the American advance so bloody and so costly that they’d choose to negotiate peace rather than conquer the Japanese Home Islands. What made the battle especially horrible was the large number of civilian casualties. It’s estimated that 142,000 people – one-third of the civilian population – were killed. Many were victims of “collateral damage,” and others committed suicide, too ashamed of their defeat or frightened by Japanese propaganda that portrayed Americans as savage brutes.

"Those civilians were the ones that drew me to the battle and led me to think there might be a story there. I was especially interested in the stories of children who were caught in the conflict. Perhaps the best known of these are the accounts of the Himeyuri students and other Okinawan high school girls who were pressed into service as battlefield nurses.

"In another book I found told the story of a young girl who was given a makeshift white flag by the elderly couple sheltering her and told to go to the Americans. By the time she made it, she was being followed by an entire line of surrendering Japanese soldiers. If there was to be a book for me to write about Okinawa, it would involve characters like these children, because my readers could relate to them."

Robert Black is also the author of Liberty Girl and Unswept Graves, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Praise for Black’s books: “Very highly recommended… quite special and unique approach to storytelling.” – Midwest Book Review

An original, deftly crafted, inherently absorbing and thoroughly entertaining read for children ages 11 to 15, “The Eyes of the Enemy” by Robert Black is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library Historical Fiction collections for young readers.” – Children’s Bookwatch

It is 1944, and the war between the United States and Japan rages across the Pacific. Back in Nebraska, Kathy Syverson has been having unusual dreams—very unusual dreams. She sees her brother Danny in a foreign land, living as a Marine. But Kathy doesn’t just see him; she is there. Her life in America is disturbed by vivid glimpses into her brother’s struggle overseas. Through these dreams she is afforded a unique perspective on those living on both sides of the front line.

Author, Robert Black writes:

"Seventy-two years ago in August, the Second World War was over with the dropping of the second atomic bomb on mainland Japan. In June the Battle of Okinawa was the last major engagement. At that point in the war, the Japanese strategy was to make the American advance so bloody and so costly that they’d choose to negotiate peace rather than conquer the Japanese Home Islands. What made the battle especially horrible was the large number of civilian casualties. It’s estimated that 142,000 people – one-third of the civilian population – were killed. Many were victims of “collateral damage,” and others committed suicide, too ashamed of their defeat or frightened by Japanese propaganda that portrayed Americans as savage brutes.

"Those civilians were the ones that drew me to the battle and led me to think there might be a story there. I was especially interested in the stories of children who were caught in the conflict. Perhaps the best known of these are the accounts of the Himeyuri students and other Okinawan high school girls who were pressed into service as battlefield nurses.

"In another book I found told the story of a young girl who was given a makeshift white flag by the elderly couple sheltering her and told to go to the Americans. By the time she made it, she was being followed by an entire line of surrendering Japanese soldiers. If there was to be a book for me to write about Okinawa, it would involve characters like these children, because my readers could relate to them."

Robert Black is also the author of Liberty Girl and Unswept Graves, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

The Eyes of the Enemy Cover

The Eyes of the Enemy sample pages:

Links

Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece

Author: Cornwell, Anna Christake

Subjects: Greek-Americans; European History; World War II

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 5728

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5728S

Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece Cover

Born in the United States to Greek parents, Anna Christake Cornwell was trapped in Greece during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Her mother and father had returned to Greece to educate their young son Tasio and their daughter Anna in the mother tongue and the ways of the homeland. Underlying the parents' concern was their daughter's free spirit, which seemed so different from what was expected of a proper girl in Greece. In 1940, in spite of the growing danger of world war, her father opted to return to the United States, leaving the rest of the family to follow later. But before they could book passage, they were trapped by the war, and Mama was left to protect her two young children from the Nazis for the next five and a half years.

The horrors of war brought Anna, Tasio, and Mama to know hunger and the constant threat of starvation, disease, exposure to the elements, and enemy bullets. Constantly on the alert for raids, the refugees often ran to the mountains to hide, abandoning what little of their belongings remained.

As was the case with everyone they knew, Mama and her children came to hate the Nazis and side with the resistance. As she grew up, Anna’s natural ability marked her for leadership in the resistance, and by the time she was fourteen, she was a leader in the youth resistance movement—with her mother’s full approval. What was proper behavior for a young girl had changed dramatically under the pressure of German occupation.

Only the Birds Are Free is a story of action and emotion. The characters are robust, and the descriptive passages are unforgettable. Anna’s story was originally published in Greek; this is her English translation. Anna and her family now reside in New York.

Born in the United States to Greek parents, Anna Christake Cornwell was trapped in Greece during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Her mother and father had returned to Greece to educate their young son Tasio and their daughter Anna in the mother tongue and the ways of the homeland. Underlying the parents' concern was their daughter's free spirit, which seemed so different from what was expected of a proper girl in Greece. In 1940, in spite of the growing danger of world war, her father opted to return to the United States, leaving the rest of the family to follow later. But before they could book passage, they were trapped by the war, and Mama was left to protect her two young children from the Nazis for the next five and a half years.

The horrors of war brought Anna, Tasio, and Mama to know hunger and the constant threat of starvation, disease, exposure to the elements, and enemy bullets. Constantly on the alert for raids, the refugees often ran to the mountains to hide, abandoning what little of their belongings remained. 

As was the case with everyone they knew, Mama and her children came to hate the Nazis and side with the resistance. As she grew up, Anna’s natural ability marked her for leadership in the resistance, and by the time she was fourteen, she was a leader in the youth resistance movement—with her mother’s full approval. What was proper behavior for a young girl had changed dramatically under the pressure of German occupation.

Only the Birds Are Free is a story of action and emotion. The characters are robust, and the descriptive passages are unforgettable. Anna’s story was originally published in Greek; this is her English translation. Anna and her family now reside in New York.

Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece Cover

Nadia of the Nightwitches

Author: Townsend, Tom

Subjects: Flight; European History; World War II; Russian Air Force

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 2737

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 2737S

Nadia of the Nightwitches Cover

Following the German invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941, the Soviet government authorized the formation of three squadrons of female pilots. Their story has, for the most part, remained untold outside of the Soviet Union.

Although this novel is a work of historical fiction, the Night Witches were very real. This is the time of Stalin and The Young Communists League, and all Russians fought. The open-cockpit PO-2 biplane was simple enough for peasant girls to fly, and cheap to build and repair. And training women for air battle freed up the men to fly the more important missions of the Great Patriotic War. Nadia of the Nightwitches is dedicated to the memory of all those pioneer women, both Allied and Axis, who flew military aircraft in World War II.

This enthralling story is about Nadia Tarachinko, age seventeen, just graduated from flight school and determined to kill Germans. In a flashback we see why: the family farm is bombed, her family is killed, and a near-crazed and bloodied Nadia is rescued from two German soldiers by a female pilot, Lilly, who swoops out of the air in a PO-2 and flies the girl to the safety of the Night Witches base.

Missions, battles, and the innermost thoughts of the fighting young women emanate from the pages. Although this is Nadia’s story, it is also a riveting look at patriotism and love through the eyes of young women at war. Those in battle are afraid to care for anyone because death is so imminent. Yet Townsend shows us love in various combinations: Lilly and Nadia (both Night Witch pilots), Shenya (Nadia’s navigator) and Nicholai (a Russian flight captain), and Nadia and Misha (a tank command sergeant). There is also the Night Witches' compassion for a surviving young German boy who they are determined to keep incognito and hand to the safety of the Allied forces at the war’s end.

Tom Townsend is a writer, a historian, and a film producer. He is one of the best-known authors of young adult fiction, and many of his books are used in school systems, particularly in the Southwest. He attended high school at the Munich American School in Germany, where his father was an Army officer. He is the author of more than two dozen books, including Gypsy Prince: War Horse, also set during World War II. In addition, he is the author of the Fairie Ring Series. He and his wife live on a cattle ranch in Texas.

Following the German invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941, the Soviet government authorized the formation of three squadrons of female pilots. Their story has, for the most part, remained untold outside of the Soviet Union.

Although this novel is a work of historical fiction, the Night Witches were very real. This is the time of Stalin and The Young Communists League, and all Russians fought. The open-cockpit PO-2 biplane was simple enough for peasant girls to fly, and cheap to build and repair. And training women for air battle freed up the men to fly the more important missions of the Great Patriotic War. Nadia of the Nightwitches is dedicated to the memory of all those pioneer women, both Allied and Axis, who flew military aircraft in World War II.

This enthralling story is about Nadia Tarachinko, age seventeen, just graduated from flight school and determined to kill Germans. In a flashback we see why: the family farm is bombed, her family is killed, and a near-crazed and bloodied Nadia is rescued from two German soldiers by a female pilot, Lilly, who swoops out of the air in a PO-2 and flies the girl to the safety of the Night Witches base.

Missions, battles, and the innermost thoughts of the fighting young women emanate from the pages. Although this is Nadia’s story, it is also a riveting look at patriotism and love through the eyes of young women at war. Those in battle are afraid to care for anyone because death is so imminent. Yet Townsend shows us love in various combinations: Lilly and Nadia (both Night Witch pilots), Shenya (Nadia’s navigator) and Nicholai (a Russian flight captain), and Nadia and Misha (a tank command sergeant). There is also the Night Witches' compassion for a surviving young German boy who they are determined to keep incognito and hand to the safety of the Allied forces at the war’s end.

Tom Townsend is a writer, a historian, and a film producer. He is one of the best-known authors of young adult fiction, and many of his books are used in school systems, particularly in the Southwest. He attended high school at the Munich American School in Germany, where his father was an Army officer. He is the author of more than two dozen books, including Gypsy Prince: War Horse, also set during World War II. In addition, he is the author of the Fairie Ring Series. He and his wife live on a cattle ranch in Texas.

Nadia of the Nightwitches Cover

Monday

Author: Wilburn, Garlyn Webb

Subjects: Humor; Farm Life; Growing Up/Boys

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6

Order code: 6260

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 6260S

Monday Cover

It is 1943. Jeff has failed English class. Given the option by his strict fourth-grade teacher either to complete all assignments sent home during the summer or to attend summer school (which she would be teaching), Jeff’s parents feel that a summer visit to his grandparents' small farm near Parkerville, in central Texas, might be just the thing to help him change his attitude and buckle down to work. They warn him that if he does not do the reading and spelling work with Grandma, he will be brought home to go to summer school.

Treated on the farm as a responsible member of the family, Jeff is given chores to do. Usually he is paired with Monday, a strong-willed donkey whom Jeff believes is the most cantankerous donkey that ever lived. Jeff knows what he needs to do and what he needs Monday to do. Monday knows what he should do; it is seldom what Jeff has planned. Readers will laugh at some of the conflicts between Jeff and Monday as the summer wears on. The observant reader will sense Jeff's shifting attitude as he reminisces about his adventures with Monday and credits the donkey with not only stubbornness but intelligence and bravery in running off wolves.

Toward summer's end, Jeff is on time with his reading and spelling, and he builds a cart for Monday to pull him in. He leads them both into a place where Monday clearly does not want to be. Too late, Jeff realizes that it is past time to turn around and go home. While he is at he stream getting a drink, a blood-curdling scream from Monday horrifies him as he turns and watches the damage a panther is doing to Monday's back, neck, and shoulders. Monday's survival becomes paramount for Jeff. By the end of the story, Jeff's attitude toward Monday has come full circle; he would like Monday to be his when he grows up! Among other things, Jeff has learned that along with Monday's stubborn nature come many admirable traits.

This is a wonderful tale of a young boy learning important life lessons from his grandparents and from a special donkey.

Garlyn Webb Wilburn is a fourth-generation Texan who now lives in China Spring, Texas, where he spends his time raising donkeys and writing for young readers.

It is 1943. Jeff has failed English class. Given the option by his strict fourth-grade teacher either to complete all assignments sent home during the summer or to attend summer school (which she would be teaching), Jeff’s parents feel that a summer visit to his grandparents' small farm near Parkerville, in central Texas, might be just the thing to help him change his attitude and buckle down to work. They warn him that if he does not do the reading and spelling work with Grandma, he will be brought home to go to summer school.

Treated on the farm as a responsible member of the family, Jeff is given chores to do. Usually he is paired with Monday, a strong-willed donkey whom Jeff believes is the most cantankerous donkey that ever lived. Jeff knows what he needs to do and what he needs Monday to do. Monday knows what he should do; it is seldom what Jeff has planned. Readers will laugh at some of the conflicts between Jeff and Monday as the summer wears on. The observant reader will sense Jeff's shifting attitude as he reminisces about his adventures with Monday and credits the donkey with not only stubbornness but intelligence and bravery in running off wolves.

Toward summer's end, Jeff is on time with his reading and spelling, and he builds a cart for Monday to pull him in. He leads them both into a place where Monday clearly does not want to be. Too late, Jeff realizes that it is past time to turn around and go home. While he is at he stream getting a drink, a blood-curdling scream from Monday horrifies him as he turns and watches the damage a panther is doing to Monday's back, neck, and shoulders. Monday's survival becomes paramount for Jeff. By the end of the story, Jeff's attitude toward Monday has come full circle; he would like Monday to be his when he grows up! Among other things, Jeff has learned that along with Monday's stubborn nature come many admirable traits.

This is a wonderful tale of a young boy learning important life lessons from his grandparents and from a special donkey.

Garlyn Webb Wilburn is a fourth-generation Texan who now lives in China Spring, Texas, where he spends his time raising donkeys and writing for young readers.

Monday Cover

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