The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
War - February 2010

Selected and annotated by Katherine Hlousek

Aronson, Marc and Patty Campbell, ed. War Is . . . : Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk about War. Candlewick, 2008. 200p. Gr. 8-12.
Varying experiences of war are conveyed through the wide assortment of essays, short stories, interviews, song lyrics, and letters from individuals directly involved or affected by war. Divided into three sections: “Deciding About War,” “Experiencing War,” and “Aftermath of War,” the terrible appeal, realities, and lasting effects of war are expressed.

Borden, Louise. Across the Blue Pacific: A World War II Story; illus. by Robert Andrew Parker. Houghton, 2006. 48p. Gr. 3-5.
World War II seems distant to Molly Crenshaw until a fateful telegram arrives announcing the death of her admired neighbor, Ted Walker, who was serving on a submarine in the Pacific. Borden provides a believable picture of life during war and illustrates the effects of a far away war at home.

Caputo, Philip. 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War. Preiss/Atheneum, 2005. 128p. Gr. 6-10.
A useful source for information and learning about the Vietnam War as viewed and experienced by American soldiers, Viet Cong, North Vietnamese guerrillas, and the citizens of South Vietnam and the United States . The first-person accounts and photographs humanize the tragedy of war and celebrate heroism.

DePaola, Tomie. I'm Still Scared: The War Years. Putnam, 2006. 83p. Gr. 2-4.
Told from the perspective of author and illustrator Tomie DePaola as a second-grader, the uncertainty following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 is described for young readers. Despite slight changes, precautions, and anxiety, Tomie’s family works to keep his life as normal as possible.

Dowell, Frances O'Roark. Shooting the Moon. Atheneum, 2008. 176p. Gr. 4-8.
Growing up with her colonel father’s belief that the “ Army Way is the right way,” Jamie Dexter does not understand why her parents are not enthused her brother, TJ, decided to enlist. As Jamie develops the rolls of film TJ sends home from Vietnam , she realizes the horror and reality of war. Amidst the plot, Dowell provides an introduction to the war and the surrounding issues.

Ellis, Deborah. Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2009. 128p. Gr. 5–10.
Featuring interviews with twenty child refugees from Iraq , this is an important current title concerning the most tragic victims of war, children. The Iraqi refugees speak for themselves, sharing their stories, graphic memories of what they witnessed, and strong opinions for and against Saddam Hussein and the United States.

Ellis, Deborah. Off to War: Voices of Soldiers’ Children. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2008. 175p. Gr. 5–10.
Young people ranging from ages six to seventeen from Canada and the United States with a parent who has or is currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan share what it means to have a family member serving in a war. Common themes shared by soldiers’ children include the importance of maintaining a normal life, finding someone they trust to confide in, and the difficulty of not having others around who have experienced the same issues.

Hampton, Wilborn. War in the Middle East : A Reporter's Story. Candlewick, 2007. 112p. Gr. 5-9.
Wilborn Hampton recalls his experiences as a reporter assigned to cover the Jordanian civil conflict in the 1970s. Told from a personal point of view, readers are able to sense the sights and sounds, while also realizing the climate of danger and struggles faced by a journalist attempting to get his story out.

Henderson, Kathy. Lugalbanda: The Boy Who Got Caught Up in a War: An Epic Tale from Ancient Iraq ; illus. by Jane Ray. Candlewick, 2006. 72p. Gr. 4-6.
In this timeless retelling of an ancient Sumerian tale, a young, courageous prince Lugalbanda is determined to join his brother in battle, but collapses during the grueling journey. With the assistance of gods and goddesses, Lugalbanda obtains strength and magical powers to bring the war to a peaceful end. Henderson ’s inclusion of background information on the Sumerians also makes Lugalbanda a wonderful nonfiction resource.

Kohler, Dean Ellis and Susan Vanhecke. Rock 'n' Roll Soldier . Collins/HarperTeen, 2009. 278p. Gr. 8-12.
With the arrival of his draft notice, Dean Kohler’s musical aspirations are suddenly interrupted. Serving as a military policeman in Qui Nhon , Vietnam , Dean struggles with his identity as a musician, rather than a soldier. Following orders from the Captain to form a rock band, Dean’s traveling band provides the troops with an escape from the death and violence of the Vietnam War.

Manning, Mick and Brita Granström. Tail-End Charlie. Frances Lincoln Children's Books , 2009. 40p. Gr. 3–5.
Charlie Manning’s personal war stories and experiences as a tail-gunner in the Royal Air Force during World War II are preserved in a unique scrapbook journal style. The personal reflections and incorporation of illustrations and memorabilia help tell the story of one man’s war.

McCormick, Patricia. Purple Heart. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2009. 199p. Gr. 7-12.
Private Matt Duffy, haunted by a memory of the death of a young Iraqi boy, does not feel like a hero when honored with a Purple Heart. After suffering a traumatic brain injury, Matt struggles to remember what happened. McCormick captures the realities of war and its effects on individuals.

Mead, Alice. Dawn and Dusk. Farrar, 2007. 152p. Gr. 5-8.
Surviving Saddam Hussein’s 1987 bombing of the Kurds in Sardasht , Iran , Azad, a thirteen-year-old Kurdish boy, flees to Turkey with part of his family. Azad learns his parents divorced because his father betrayed his wife and became an informer for Iran ’s secret police. The peril of war and conflict is conveyed through the experiences of Azad, a young adolescent.

Murphy, Jim. A Savage Thunder: Antietam and the Bloody Road to Freedom . McElderry, 2009. 103p. Gr. 5–8.
This well researched account of the Battle of Antietam, the deadliest day in American military history and the turning battle of the Civil War details the events leading to the battle, the battle itself, and the results of the battle. Both the Confederate and Union sides are included. Photographs, maps, and quotations from battle participants are incorporated as extensions of the story of Antietam.

Myers, Walter Dean. Sunrise over Fallujah . Scholastic, 2008. 304p. Gr. 7-12.
Robin Perry decided to enlist, despite his family members’ concern and disapproval of his choice and is sent to Iraq early in the war. Feelings about the senselessness of the war are suggested as Robin’s tour of duty continues.

Nicholson, Dorinda Makanaõnalani. Remember World War II: Kids Who Survived Tell Their Stories. National Geographic, 2005. 61p. Gr. 5-9.
First-person accounts bring the experience of the Second World War from a child’s perspective to life. Divided into three sections, the war in Europe , the Pacific, and the American home front, sufficient background information is provided to connect the individual stories.