Voices in Wartime

Adult Fiction--Uris to Von Rezzoni

Uris, Leon.  Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1964).

Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin is about post-World War II Berlin and Germany. The novel starts in London during the war, and goes through the Russian occupation of Berlin to the eventual Berlin Airlift and finishes with the end of the airlift.


Uris, Leon.  Battle Cry (Avon Books, Reissued, 2005).

Originally published in 1953, Leon Uris's Battle Cry is the raw and exciting story of men at war from a legendary American author. This is the story of enlisted men - Marines - at the beginning of World War II. They are a rough-and-ready tangle of guys from America's cities and farms and reservations. Battle Cry does not extol the glories of war, but proves itself to be one of the greatest war stories of all time. 


Uris, Leon.  Exodus (Distribooks, Inc., Reissued, 2003).

Exodus is an international publishing phenomenon—the towering novel of the twentieth century's most dramatic geopolitical event.  Leon Uris magnificently portrays the birth of a new nation in the midst of enemies—the beginning of an earthshaking struggle for power.  Here is the tale that swept the world with its fury: the story of an American nurse, an Israeli freedom fighter caught up in a glorious, heartbreaking, triumphant era.  


Uris, Leon.  Milla 18 (Bantam, Reissue, 1983).

It was a time of crisis, a time of tragedy--and a time of transcendent courage and determination.  Leon Uris's blazing novel is set in the midst of the ghetto uprising that defied Nazi tyranny, as the Jews of Warsaw boldly met Wehrmacht tanks with homemade weapons and bare fists.  Here, painted on a canvas as broad as its subject matter, is the compelling of one of the most heroic struggles of modern times.


Uris, Leon.  QB VII (Bantam, Reissue, 1982).

In Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven, famous author Abraham Cady stands trial. In his book, The Holocaust—born of the  terrible revelation that the Jadwiga Concentration camp was the site of his family's extermination—Cady shook the consciousness of the human race. He also named eminent surgeon Sir Adam Kelno as one of Jadwiga's most sadistic inmate/doctors.  Kelno has denied this and brought furious charges. Now unfolds Leon Uris' riveting courtroom drama—one of the great fictional trials of the century.


 van Dis, Adriaan.  My Father's War: A Novel (New Press International Fiction Series, 2009).

Adriaan van Dis employs masterful skill in telling this rich story of a Dutch man who, in midlife, is coming to terms with the losses in his life and their effect on his family. His half sister's death revives memories of his father, a Dutch soldier who spent three years in a Japanese concentration camp only to die in the Netherlands when the narrator was 11. The drama unfolds as he uncovers the complicated history of his family and realizes what he remembers of his father doesn't match the recollections of others. That this book can address themes as diverse as sibling relationships, child abuse, war, and repressed memories with such subtlety and even a touch of humor is testament to both the quality of van Dis's writing and the expertise of his translator, Claire Nicolas White. (Amazon.com)


Vaughan, Robert.  His Truth is Marching On (Thomas Nelson, 2004).

As a student at Litchfield College, Dewey Bradley wants nothing more than to graduate, marry his girlfriend Unity, and become pastor of a church. But when war breaks out, Dewey-impassioned by the atrocities of the Nazis—drops out of school to enlist as an infantryman. Meanwhile, Gunter Reinhardt is forced to leave engineering school and join the German army. The two unknowingly cross paths as enemies on several occasions. While Dewey's heart is hardened by the brutality of war, Gunter becomes disillusioned with Hitler and his country, vowing his allegiance only to the men in his company. In a critical moment, Dewey and Gunter come face-to-face. One will choose to spare the life of the other, and in doing so, will ultimately spare his own soul.  With painstaking historical accuracy, Robert Vaughan weaves a story of intrigue and passion, offering readers a suspenseful glimpse into WWII-from both a military and human experience. 


Vaughan, Robert.  Touch the Face of God (Thomas Nelson, 2002).

In this moving novel, Lt. Mark White, a B-17 bomber pilot, meets Emily Hagan only weeks before he ships out to England. They fall in love through letters as each faces the war on separate sides of the Atlantic, but will the war and a misunderstanding tear them apart forever? Lt. Lee Arlington Grant has disappointed his military family by becoming a chaplain instead of a warrior. He hopes his service in the war will heal his rift with his father while he shares Christ with his fellow soldiers-especially Tom Canby. Their lives and the lives of the men and women who fight at their side are interwoven with danger, romance, tragedy, and ultimately hope as the war and their roles in it draw to a close.


Volpi, Jorge.  In Search of Klingsor (Fourth Estate, New edition, 2004).

"In 1940, Francis Bacon, a brilliant young American physicist, is invited to join the prestigious institute at Princeton, the world's foremost physics research facility. But a series of personal indiscretions forces him to accept a different, more sinister, assignment: uncover "Klingsor," Hitler's top adviser on the scientific work in the Third Reich, including the race to create the first atomic bomb." Bacon's efforts to expose the truth lead him first to Gustav Links, a survivor of the attempted coup against Hitler. With Links's help, he continues searching postwar Germany - in an era when a secret was really a secret and a lie wasn't necessarily a sin—and falls into a complicated relationship with an alluring woman. His search for Klingsor, an ominous and seemingly omniscient adversary, is part mystery, part psychological puzzle, part witty intellectual game. 


Vincenzi, Penny.  Something Dangerous (Penguin Group, 2005).

Expansively written and lushly detailed, this fast-paced sequel to No Angel follows the Lyttons, a prominent British publishing family, into the mid-20th century. It's 1928 as the book opens, and the Lytton heirs apparent—Giles, Kit and their twin sisters, Venetia and Adele—are more absorbed in their personal lives than in steering themselves toward future stewardship of the family empire. Giles, ensconced in a mid-level Lytton post, feels a professional and social failure; Kit is bright, but only eight; and the beautiful 18-year-old twins are more concerned with their court debuts than with learning anything useful about publishing. Lytton foster child Barty Miller, who graduated from Oxford with honors, might take the business seriously; she shows remarkable intelligence and drive, but not the gratitude that Celia Lytton, senior editor of the house and matron of the family, would like. The business and family survive the Depression as the Lyttons begin publishing cheaper books, the twins lose their virginity, Kit grows into a fine young man and Giles gets married. Then WWII comes along and snaps, if not sense, then at least some backbone into the Lytton children. But is it too late? As family secrets and the Nazis both threaten to crush the house of Lytton, Vincenzi tightens her grip on readers, churning out surprising twists that not only resolve current conflicts but promise delicious future crises.  (Publisher’s Weekly)



Vivante, Arturo.  Truelove Knot (University of Notre Dame Press, 2007).

A student in the Italian countryside at the outset of the fascist regime, the passionate young Fabio Diodati, appalled at the thought of becoming "indistinguishable," quickly develops a deep rebellious streak. By the late 1930s, Fabio's father, who is Jewish, and his mother (who is not) settle in England. Noncomformist Fabio, catapulted from boarding school in Worcester, is deportated as a "male 'enemy alien''' to a Canadian internment camp on St. Helen's Island; after a daring escape (where he assumes a fake name), he is accepted in the Merchant Navy. A lull in the snowballing action finally comes the night before Fabio is meant to set sail, when he meets Margie, a young waitress in Montreal, and their single night's tryst leaves both parties bewildered by the depth of their connection. The relationship rescues the whirlwind story, sustaining the book through through Fabio's perilous transatlantic trips from Halifax to England via U-Boat infested waters; through bittersweet reunions with his family; and through his sporadic communications with Margie. Poignant reflections on finding hope in small freedoms, and in poetry, help make the latest from Vivante (Solitude & Other Stories) quietly convincing.


Vonnegut, Kurt.  Slaughterhouse-Five (Dell Press, Reprint, 1999).

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. 

Don't let the ease of reading fool you--Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy—and humor.


Vonnegut, Kurt.  Mother Night (Dial Press, Reissue, 1999).

Mother Night is a novel by American author Kurt Vonnegut, first published in 1961. A film version starring Nick Nolte was released in 1996.  It is the story of Howard W. Campbell Jr., an American, who moved to Germany directly after World War I and then later became alternately a well-known German language playwright and a Nazi propagandist. The action of the novel is narrated by Campbell himself. The premise is that he is writing his memoirs while awaiting trial for war crimes in an Israeli prison. Howard W. Campbell also appears briefly in Vonnegut's later novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Campbell's character was probably inspired by the stories of WWII radio propagandist William Joyce, a.k.a. Lord Haw-Haw, and Ezra Pound although only in the most general terms.  (Wikipedia)


Von Rezzori, Gregor.  Memoirs of an Anti-Semite: A Novel in Five Stories (New York Review Books, 2007).

The elusive narrator of this beautifully written, complex, and powerfully disconcerting novel is the scion of a decayed aristocratic family from the farther reaches of the defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire. In five psychologically fraught episodes, he revisits his past, from adolescence to middle age, a period that coincides with the twentieth-century’s ugliest years. Central to each episode is what might be called the narrator’s Jewish Question. He is no Nazi. To the contrary, he is apolitical, accommodating, cosmopolitan. He has Jewish friends and Jewish lovers, and their Jewishness is a matter of abiding fascination to him. His deepest and most defining relationship may even be the strange dance of attraction and repulsion that throughout his life he has conducted with this forbidden, desired, inescapable, imaginary Jewish other. And yet it is just his relationship that has blinded him to–and makes him complicit in—the terrible realities his era. Lyrical, witty, satirical, and unblinking, Gregor von Rezzori’s most controversial work is an intimate foray into the emotional underworld of modern European history.


Von Rezzori, Gregor.  Snows of Yesteryear (Vintage, 1991).

Von Rezzori, author of the novel Memoirs of an Anti-Semite, focuses on a childhood in Bukovina "spent among mad and dislocated personalities." His nurse, an illiterate peasant called "the savage" by the family, provides him the warmth and love his parents cannot give and symbolizes for him his visceral connection to his homeland. His mother's real tenderness alternates with neurotic anxiety and rage; rather asexual, she is the wrong match for his father's vital, "highly luminous temperament." They separate, and her remarriage is disastrous. Von Rezzori's "astonishingly precocious" sister dies an early death mysteriously linked to a failed business venture of his mother. His governess fosters his drawing talent, but his sister's death and his mother's "need" of him stifle his budding career. These five portraits shed light on the old Europe of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the way of life that passed with it. (Richard Kuczkowski for Library Journal).



Art and Photography Books--Vishniac to Ziegler

Vishniac, Roman.  A Vanished World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986).

This pictorial history of Jewish life in Germany in the 1930s before the Holocaust, shows the stories of individuals, their increasing poverty, sad wisdom and enduring love in the years leading up to World War II.


Vishniac, Roman.  Children of a Vanished World (University of California Press, 1999). 

Between 1935 and 1938 the celebrated photographer Roman Vishniac explored the cities and villages of Eastern Europe, capturing life in the Jewish shtetlekh of Poland, Romania, Russia, and Hungary, communities that even then seemed threatened--not by destruction and extermination, which no one foresaw, but by change. Using a hidden camera and under difficult circumstances, Vishniac was able to take over sixteen thousand photographs; most were left with his father in a village in France for the duration of the war. With the publication of Children of a Vanished World, seventy of those photographs are available, thirty-six for the first time. The book is devoted to a subject Vishniac especially loved, and one whose mystery and spontaneity he captured with particular poignancy: children.

Selected and edited by the photographer's daughter, Mara Vishniac Kohn, and translator and coeditor Miriam Hartman Flacks, these images show children playing, children studying, children in the midst of a world that was about to disappear. They capture the daily life of their subjects, at once ordinary and extraordinary. The photographs are accompanied by a selection of nursery rhymes, songs, poems, and chants for children's games in both Yiddish and English translation. 


Volaykoya, Hana.  I Never Saw Another Butterfly (Schocken; Revised edition,1994).

A total of 15,000 children under the age of fifteen passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp between the years 1942 and 1944; less than 100 survived. In these poems and pictures drawn by the young inmates of Terezin, we see the daily misery of these uprooted children, as well as their courage and optimism, their hopes and fears. The drawings and poems are all that is left of these children. About those who signed their names to their work, it has been possible to find out a few facts: the year and place of their birth, the date of their transport to Terezin and to Auschwitz, and the date of their death. For most of them that last date was 1944, a year before the end of the war. 

These innocent and honest depictions allow us to see through the eyes of the children what life was like in the ghetto. Birds and butterflies flutter with the looming red roofs of Terezin in the background; a luminous moonlit room betrays the stark interior of the barracks. Pencil line drawings depict the threatening guards, work brigades, and deportations they witnessed. Side by side with the realities are images of hope -- a sailboat guided by a candle, a lighted menorah, children playing in a garden that resembles Eden, figures scaling mountain peaks to liberation.


Whitman, Sylvia.  Children of the World War II Home Front: Picture the American Past (Carolrhoda Books , 2000).

Explores the experiences of children living in the United States during World War II, including writing V-mail to soldiers, participating in air raid drills, planting Victory Gardens, buying stamps for war bonds, and gathering cooking grease and scrap metal for making bombs.  


Ziegler, Jan Fielder.  The Schooling of Japanese American Children at Relocation Centers During World War II: Miss Mabel Jamison and Her Teaching of Art at Rohwer, Arkansas (Edwin Mellen Press, 2005).

The general story of education of Japanese Americans imprisoned in camps in this country during World War II has long been known. Little has been written, however, about the individual teachers who agreed to live and work with the students in the camps during the period of incarceration. The story of “Miss Jamison” and the education program in the prison camps at Rohwer and Jerome in Arkansas provides a fresh new view of a Caucasian teacher who came to work with a “strange” group of students, but who was herself educated in the process. Through evidence from Jamison’s papers, contemporary documents, historical accounts, interviews with survivors and even from the students’ art work Miss Jamison preserved, Ziegler creates a perceptive account of the wartime ordeal of the more than 110,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them American citizens, from a unique point of view. This book is a moving and significant expansion of our knowledge of the human dimensions of a wartime tragedy. 


Art and Photography Books--Lange to Searle

Lange, Dorothea (Author) and Linda Gordon (Editor).  Impounded (W. W. Norton, 2006).

This indelible work of visual and social history confirms Dorothea Lange's stature as one of the twentieth century's greatest American photographers. Presenting 119 images originally censored by the U.S. Army—the majority of which have never been published—Impounded evokes the horror of a community uprooted in the early 1940s and the stark reality of the internment camps. With poignancy and sage insight, nationally known historians Linda Gordon and Gary Okihiro illuminate the saga of Japanese American internment: from life before Executive Order 9066 to the abrupt roundups and the marginal existence in the bleak, sandswept camps. In the tradition of Roman Vishniac's A Vanished World, Impounded, with the immediacy of its photographs, tells the story of the thousands of lives unalterably shattered by racial hatred brought on by the passions of war.


Langley, Andrew.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Fire from the Sky (Compass Point Books, 2006).

On the morning of August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, another bomb fell on Nagasaki. Both cities were devastated. More than 120,000 men, women, and children were killed or mortally wounded within seconds of the blast. Thousands more would die from radiation sickness. Though the bombings prompted Japan_s surrender and brought about the end of World War II, they ushered in an era in which we all live under the long, dark shadow of nuclear annihilation.  


Newhouse, Alana.  A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward (W.W. Norton, 2007).

This extraordinary volume features classic photographs of the history one has learned to associate with the Forward—Lower East Side pushcarts, Yiddish theater, labor rallies—along with gems no one would expect. The premiere national Jewish newspaper has opened up its never-before-seen archives, revealing a photographic landscape of Jews in the twentieth century and beyond. From shtetl beauty contests and matchmakers caught mid-deal to the streets of the New World; from diaspora communities and mandate Palestine to the Holocaust, the Soviet Jewry movement, and the emergence of Jewish suburbia; from Paul Muni and Barbra Streisand to Woody Allen and Madonna—this book is a kaleidoscopic array of modern Jewish life. Original essays are included by leading intellectuals and historians, including Leon Wieseltier, J. Hoberman, Roger Kahn, and Deborah E. Lipstadt, plus an introduction by Pete Hamill.  A great gift book in the tradition of Roman Vishniac's A Vanished World and Frederic Brenner's Diaspora: Homelands in Exile. 531 duotone photographs.


O’Donnel, Joe.  Japan 1945: A U.S. Marine's Photographs From Ground Zero (Vanderbilt University Press, 2005).

In September 1945 Joe O’Donnell was a twenty-three-year-old Marine Corps photographer wading ashore in Japan, then under American occupation. His orders were to document the aftermath of U.S. bombing raids in Japanese cities, including not only Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also cities such as Sasebo, one of the more than sixty Japanese cities firebombed before the atomic blasts. "The people I met," he now recalls, "the suffering I witnessed, and the scenes of incredible devastation taken by my camera caused me to question every belief I had previously held about my so-called enemies." 

In addition to the official photographs he turned over to his superiors, O’Donnell recorded some three hundred images for himself, but following his discharge from the Marines he could not bear to look at them. He put the negatives in a trunk that remained unopened until 1989, when he finally felt compelled to confront once more what he had he had seen through his lens during his seven months in postwar Japan. Now, for this remarkable book, seventy-four of these photographs have been assembled. The images of destruction—a panorama of Ground Zero at Nagasaki, a lone building still standing near the Aioi Bridge at Hiroshima, a fourteen-year-old burn victim lying in a coma—are, of course, wrenching beyond words. But the book includes hopeful images as well, and these are equally affecting—children playing on a road, young girls carrying their infant siblings on their backs as they go about everyday routines, geishas performing a traditional dance, Marine boots mingled with Japanese sandals outside a church entrance. 



Robinson, Gerald H.  Elusive Truth: Four Photographers at Manzanar (Carl Mautz Publishers, 2002).

In 1942, The United States government declared 110,000 American Japanese residents a threat to national security and incarcerated them in eleven relocation camps around the country. One such camp, Manzanar, was located near Lone Pine in the Owens Valley, east of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Four photographers—Ansel Adams, Clem Albers, Dorothea Lange, and Toyo Miyatake—photographed Manzanar and its residents at various times throughout its three year existence. Their photographs tell the story of Manzanar from four different perspectives. Taken together, they offer a glimpse of the elusive truth of the relocation camps—a cautionary and poignant tale of pain, injustice, and the triumph of the human spirit. 


Searle, Ronald.  To the Kwai-And Back: War Drawings 1939-1945 (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986).

In 1939, as an art student, Ronald Searle volunteered for the army, embarking for Singapore in 1941. Within a month of his arrival there, however, he became a prisoner of the Japanese, and after 14 months in a prisoner-of-war camp, was sent north to a work camp on the Burma Railway. In May 1944, he was sent to the notorious Changi Gaol in Singapore and became one of the few British soldiers to survive imprisonment there. Throughout his captivity, despite the risk, Ronald Searle made drawings to record his experiences. The drawings in this remarkable book were hidden by Searle and smuggled from place to place, stained with the sweat and dirt of his captivity. They are a record of one man's war and are among the most important and moving accounts of the Second World War.


Art and Photography Books--Hill to Kyo

Hill, Kimi Kodani.  Topaz Moon: Chiura Obata's Art of the Internment (Heyday Books, 2000).

Chiura Obata was one of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans forcefully relocated in 1942 from their homes and communities to the stark barracks of desert internment camps. As an artist faithfully recording the world around him, Obatas work from this period gives us a view into the camps that is at once honest in the details of austerity and hardship, and strikingly lyrical in its portrayal of hope and beauty even in incarceration. Topaz Moon presents more than 100 of Obatas sketches, sumi paintings, and watercolors from the internment period. Lovingly collected and edited by his granddaughter, Obatas work gives testament to his artistic genius and a spirit undefeated by adversity. 


Hirasuna, Delphine.  The Art of Gaman: Arts & Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps 1942-1946 (Ten Speed Press, 2005).

In 1942,Executive Order 9066 mandated the incarceration of 110,000 Japanese Americans, including men, women, children, the elderly, and the infirm, for the duration of the war. Allowed only what they could carry, they were given just a few days to settle their affairs and report to assembly centers. Businesses were lost, personal property was stolen or vandalized, and lives were shattered. The Japanese word gaman means "enduring what seems unbearable with dignity and grace. "Imprisoned in remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by soldiers with machine guns, the internees sought courage and solace in art. Using found materials at first and later what they could order by catalog, they whittled and carved, painted and etched, stitched and crocheted. What they created is a celebration of the nobility of the human spirit under adversity. The Art Of Gaman presents more than 150 examples of art created by internees, along with a history of the camps.


Ichioka, Yuji, Paul Takeda and Ray C. Franchi.  Through Innocent Eyes: Writings and Art from the Japanese American Internment (Keiro Services Press and the Generations Fund, Los Angeles, 1990).

In 1942, some 120,000 Japanese Americans, without benefit of due process, were removed from their homes and confined to stark internment centers in desolate areas of the United States. Of the Japanese Americans interned, 30,000 were school age children. For the first time, the writing & artwork of these young people have been compiled into a single volume to bring us their voices & visions. In this return to a historical time of racial stereotyping & hatred; war hysteria & paranoia, one finds the voices surprisingly restrained. There is little anger here--no bitterness or despair. Here are pages that are key to the young—vibrant with optimism & hope. Ray Franchi, a teacher at Poston (one of the ten internment camps) & Paul Takeda, a Red Cross worker compiled the original scrapbook of sketches & writings so that other school-aged children could become familiar with the plight of the Japanese Americans during the war. However, the scrapbook remained submerged until 45 years later. Keiro Services, a non-profit organization providing long-term care to the Japanese American elderly decided to make the collection available to increase awareness & education among the general public. Edited by Vincent Tajiri, the book contains the illustrations & sketches of fifty children along with contributing works by other known authors of the camp experience. Also included is a brief interview with the schoolteacher, Franchi.


Japan Broadcasting Corporation.  Unforgettable Fire: Pictures Drawn by Atomic Bomb Survivors (Pantheon Books, 1981).

The drawings in Unforgettable Fire were solicited by NHK, the Japanese Public Television Network, in 1975 and 1995 for the 30th and the 50th anniversary of the bombings to be shown on TV and at the peace museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are more than 3,000 artworks in the collection, all by survivors who were asked to put their memories into art. 


Kacyzne, Alter.  Poyln: Jewish Life in the Old Country (Holt Paperbacks, 2001).

Candid and intimate, tender and humorous, Kacyznes portraits of teeming village squares and primitive workshops, cattle markets and spinning wheels, prayer groups and summer camps tell the story of a way of life that is no more. Born in 1885 in Vilna, Alter Kacyzne was a Yiddish poet, dramatist, journalist, and editor, as well as a photographer. During the 1920s and 30s he was a central figure in Warsaw's lively Yiddish cultural scene and his photographic studio was a local landmark. Kacyzne was killed in a Ukrainian pogrom in 1941.


Kantor, Alfred.  Book of Alfred Kantor (Schocken Books, 1987).

Facsimile of the book of Alfred Kantorshowing art from his experience in the camps of Terezin, Auschwitz and Schwarzheide. Very detailed drawings of life in the camps.  Includes notes and commentary.


Kyo, Maclear.  Beclouded Visions. Hiroshima-Nagasaki and the Art of Witness (State University of New York Press, 1998).

Beclouded Visions is an exploration of the many and varied ways in which atrocity has shaped the requirements of art, vision, and collective memory in the twentieth century. The atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki serve as a starting point, but what begins as a study of visual culture related to the atomic bombings soon generates questions that can be applied to multiple sites and practices of communal remembrance. Drawing on a diverse array of images—ranging from military photographs to survivor paintings—Maclear asks what it means to see such representations. What does it mean to put a face to horror? Does "seeing everything" make us more humane? Is it possible to become inured to images of violence? She probes the nature of our fascination with images of horror, and she questions our attachment to pictorial realism and graphic memory. Placing philosophers such as Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin, and Theodore Adorno in the context of ongoing debates about history and memory, Beclouded Visions provides a refreshing perspective on art, remembrance, and mourning.


Art and Photography Books--Adams to Gusky

Adams, Ansel.  Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese Americans (Spotted Dog Press, 2002).

On February 19, 1942, U.S. presidential order forcibly removed more than 110,000 persons from their homes to one of ten "war relocation centers" across the country. All were of Japanese ancestry, but two-thirds were American citizens. Ralph Merritt, then director of Manzanar War Relocation Center, asked friend Ansel Adams to photograph the center, set against the remote mountains of California's Sierra Nevada. The resulting effort, Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese Americans, written and photographed by Adams, was released in 1944 to the American public as a book and exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Reeling from the impact of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and unable to make the distinction between American citizens of Japanese ancestry and the Japanese enemy of war, Adams' message was essentially lost on the American public. 

In 1965, Adams donated his entire collection of Manzanar photographs to the Library of Congress. Archie Miyatake, interned at Manzanar with his family and father, Los Angeles photographer Toyo Miyatake, wrote the introduction to this new edition. His father smuggled into camp a contraband camera lens and ground glass, making a camera from scraps of wood. Toyo said to his son: "As a photographer I have a responsibility to record life here at this camp so this kind of thing never happens again." The Institute for Learning Technologies, Teachers College/Columbia University granted Spotted Dog Press permission to link to their site where you can read a review written in 1946 by Museum of Modern Art/New York curator Nancy Newhall detailing the difficulties that Ansel Adams had trying to exhibit his Born Free And Equal photographs. 


Goldstein, Donald M., J. Michael Wenger and Katherine V. Dillon.  Rain of Ruin: A Photographic History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Potomoc Books, 1999).

This photographic history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki provides the first comprehensive photographic record of the bombings and their aftermath, presenting a history of the two cities before and after the bombs drop and also including photos of American and Japanese politicians and military men involved in the bombing. Anticipate a detailed, well-rounded title. (Midwest Book Review) 


Gusky, Jeff.  Silent Places (Overlook Books, 2003).

Jeff Gusky, a doctor of emergency medicine, decided at the age of 42 that he wanted to better confront the reality of modern Jewish history. A self-taught photographer who subsequently learned to make museum quality prints, he bought what he calls "a good, journalist-type camera and some lenses" and traveled to Poland-once the home of the largest concentration of Diaspora Jews. He read the instruction manuals on the plane en route.

Over four trips, accompanied each time by a top Polish guide, Gusky traveled through the country, beyond the city ghettos and the sites of concentration camps, into remote villages where Jews had lived and worked for almost 1,000 years before the Holocaust-capturing on film the austere landscapes and the remains of a once thriving Jewish culture. The silence is deafening: here are Jewish cemeteries full of broken gravestones, ruined synagogues filled with trash and disfigured with graffiti, a Jewish home now used as a public toilet-"where people lived, walked, worshipped, and were, ultimately, exterminated," says Gusky. The doleful, understated clarity of what he saw and photographed captures a poignant sense of loss-making at the same time an indelible connection to the past. 


Children's Books and Picture Books--Poole to Ziefert

Poole, Josephine and Angela Barrett (Illustrator).  Anne Frank (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2005).

The life of Anne Frank, from birth until being taken from the hidden attic by the Nazis, is presented in this haunting, meticulously researched picture book. It is a compelling yet easy-to-understand "first" introduction to the Holocaust as witnessed by Anne and her family. The stunningly evocative illustrations by Angela Barrett are worth a thousand words in capturing for young Americans what it must have felt like to be Anne Frank, a spirited child caught in the maelstrom of World War II atrocities. A detailed timeline of important events in Europe and in the Frank family is included.


Radunsky, Vladimir.  What Does Peace Feel Like? (Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books, 2003).

Radunsky strings together descriptive similes and metaphors to describe the essence of the word "peace." "What does Peace smell like? Like a bouquet of flowers in a happy family's living room…like fresh and new furniture…like pizza with onions and sausage.…" To the side of each question, the author indicates the names of children from the Ambrit International School in Rome who contributed their sentiments to the text. Other spreads attempt to explain how peace looks, sounds, tastes, and feels. Colorful gouache illustrations, primitive in design, supplement the concept. The only unique feature is the extensive list of words for peace in over 150 languages that appears at the end. While the book might be useful for a unit on peacekeeping, there is nothing original here. (Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, for School Library Journal)


Rappaport, Doreen and Emily Arnold McCully (Illustrator).  The Secret Seder (Hyperion Books, 2005).

Jacques and his parents are hiding in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, pretending to be Catholics. On the first night of Passover, Jacques and his father elude Nazi soldiers to gather with other Jews and celebrate the Seder in secret. For this book, Doreen Rappaport researched the lives of resistance fighters and Jews in hiding: brave men and women who managed to survive one of the darkest times in history with their faith intact. Emily Arnold McCully's intense and respectful paintings illuminate the perils of a turbulent time and the triumphs of a resilient people.


Reynoldson, Fiona.  Key Battles of World War II (Heinemann, 2001).

Key Battles of World War II provides in-depth background information and detailed descriptions of an important event in history, while considering the causes and effects, the issues at stake, the people involved, the aftermath, and consequences.


Rubin, Susan Goldman and Ela Weissberger.  The Cat With the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin (Holiday House, 2006).

Ela Stein was eleven years old in February of 1942 when she was sent to the Terezin concentration camp with other Czech Jews. By the time she was liberated in 1945, she was fifteen. Somehow during those horrendous three-and-a-half years of sickness, terror, separation from loved ones, and loss, Ela managed to grow up. Although conditions were wretched, Ela forged lifelong friendships with other girls from Room 28 of her barracks. Adults working with the children tried their best to keep up the youngest prisoners' spirits. A children's opera called Brundibar was even performed, and Ela was chosen to play the pivotal role of the cat. Yet amidst all of this, the feared transports to death camps and death itself were a part of daily life. Full of sorrow, yet persistent in its belief that humans can triumph over evil; this unusual memoir tells the story of an unimaginable coming of age.


Russo, Marisabina.  Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II (Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books, 2005).

Rachel's Oma (her grandmother) has two picture albums. In one the photographs show only happy times -- from after World War II, when she and her daughters had come to America. But the other album includes much sadder times from before—when their life in Germany was destroyed by the Nazis' rise to power. For as long as Rachel can remember, Oma has closed the other album when she's gotten to the sad part. But today Oma will share it all. Today Rachel will hear about what her grandmother, her mother, and her aunts endured. And she'll see how the power of this Jewish family's love for one another gave them the strength to survive.


Takashima, Shizuye.  A Child in Prison Camp (Tundra Books, 1992).

When Shizuye Takashima, “Shichan” as she was called, was eleven years old, her entire world changed forever. As a Japanese-Canadian in 1941, she was among thousands of people forced from their homes and sent to live in internment camps in the Canadian Rockies. Although none had been convicted of any crime, they were considered the enemy because the country was at war with Japan. In this true story of sadness and joy, Shichan recalls her life in the days leading up to her family’s forced movement to the camp, her fear, anger, and frustration as the war drags on, and the surprising joys in the camp: a Kabuki play, holiday celebrations, and the ever-present beauty of the stars.


Tsuchiya, Yukio and Ted Lewin (Illustrator).  Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People, and War (Houghton Mifflin, 1997).

A zookeeper recounts the story of John, Tonky, and Wanly, three performing elephants at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, whose turn it is to die, and of their keepers, who weep and pray that World War II will end so their beloved elephants might be saved.


Uchida, Yoshiko.  The Bracelet (Putnam Juvenile, 1996).

Emi, a Japanese American in the second grade, is sent with her family to an internment camp during World War II, but the loss of the bracelet her best friend has given her proves that she does not need a physical reminder of that friendship.  


Vander Zee, Ruth.  Erika's Story (Creative Editions, 2003).

The searing, beautiful illustrations of acclaimed artist Roberto Innocenti capture the fear, love, and sadness of a Holocaust survivor's tale in this story of a Jewish couple who make a heart-rending decision so that their infant daughter might live. Based on a true story.


Walker, Alice.  Why War is Never a Good Idea (HarperCollins, 2007).

Though War is Old / It has not / Become wise," Walker writes in this spare, eloquent poem. Naive-style paintings in neon-bright colors celebrate forest diversity and urban communities across the globe. Then each community, in turn, is destroyed by war, its glowing warmth disappearing beneath clouds of smoke and ash. On the first page, a smiling frog and a beautiful pink flower bask in a pond; on the opposite page, "Huge tires / Of a / Camouflaged / Vehicle are /About to / Squash / Them flat." Then the destruction intensifies: something drops from the sky on a Latino boy dreaming on a haystack. Images of eyes greedy for oil give way to a stark picture of mothers and babies buried beneath swirling, tactile streams of waste. The communities are always idyllic, with no hint of poverty or struggle, but the activist message and sometimes frightening images will compel children to talk about what they feel and see. (Hazel Rochman for Booklist)


Wild, Margaret and Julie Vivas (Illustrator).  Let the Celebrations Begin! (Orchard Books, 1996).

A child, who remembers life at home before life in a concentration camp, makes toys with the women to give to the other children at the very special party they are going to have when the soldiers arrive to liberate the camp.


Yolen, Jane and Leslie Baker (Illustrator).  All Those Secrets of the World (Little Brown & Co., 1993).

The highly prolific Yolen ( Owl Moon ; Elfabet ) here relates a bittersweet memory from an important period in her childhood: the two years during which her father was away at war. She recalls the fun she and her cousin Michael had when the family piled into the car to go see Daddy's ship off at the docks--the children ate ice cream cones, but Mama "cried all the way home." At the beach the next day Janie and Michael see some tiny spots on the horizon. Michael tells her that they are ships, but Janie doesn't believe him. (The specks are so small, she says, and her daddy's ship was so big. . . .) Five-year-old Michael teaches her a "secret of the world"--as he moves further away from her, he gets smaller. When father returns and tells his daughter that she is "lots bigger than I remembered," Janie explains, "Now you are here, so I am big." This timely, nostalgic story is told with simple grace, and Janie's thoughts and experiences are believably childlike. Baker's ( The Third-Story Cat ) watercolors are poignant, evocative and contain just the right amount of sentimentality.
(Publisher’s Weekly)


Young, Ed.  Voices of the Heart (Scholastic Press, 2003).

In this deeply personal book, Ed Young explores twenty-six Chinese characters, each describing a feeling or emotion, and each containing the symbol for the heart. Through stunning collage art that interprets the visual elements within each character, Young uncovers layers of meanings for words such as joy and sorrow, respect and rudeness. He invites readers to probe the full range of their own emotions and he gives a context for discussing ethics and the similarities between old and new, East and West. It's a book for those who love the beauty of language and the beauty of the heart.


Ziefert, Harriet.  A New Coat for Anna (Dragonfly Books, 1988).

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


Children's Books and Picture Books--Krinitz to Polacco

Krinitz, Esther Nisenthal and Bernice Steinhardt.  Memories of Survival (Hyperion, 2005).

In this stunning collection of embroidered panels lies Esther Krinitz's remarkable journey of living through the Holocaust in Poland. At the age of 15, she and her 13-year-old sister separated from their family and went into hiding. Forced from the homes of their friends and neighbors, they sought refuge in the depths of the forest. With no place left to turn, they disguised themselves as Catholic farmhands and lived for years in fear as the war raged on. The eventual end of the war brought with it a heartbreaking discovery: while Esther and her sister survived, their parents and siblings, and millions of other Jews, did not.Though never trained as an artist, at the age of 50, Esther decided to retell her memories through this series of hand-stitched panels. At once naive and infinitely complex, these images reveal both the extreme horrors of war and the cherished family memories shared before the war began. Told in Esther's own words! , with commentary written by her daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, this is an unforgettable look back to a time and events that must never be forgotten.


Littlesugar, Amy and William Low (Illustrator).  Willy and Max: A Holocaust Story (Philomel, 2006).

When Max’s dad buys a painting from the window of Willy’s dad’s antique shop, Willy and Max become instant friends.They are just alike, down to their same missing tooth! Even though Max lives in the Jewish quarter, the boys are inseparable—until the Nazis come. They take everything from Max’s family, including the precious painting that began the boys’ friendship.And though they promise to be friends forever, Willy and Max know that something unspeakable is coming between them, and they may never see each other again.  Beautiful and heartbreaking, Willy & Max is the powerful story of two boys separated by circumstance, but held together through generations by a simple painting—and the unbreakable spirit of their friendship. 


Marshall, Ann, Luba Tryszynska-Frederick (Translator) and Michelle Roehm McCann (Illustrator).  Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen (Tricycle Press, 2003).

Just when it seems a non-fiction Holocaust book can't tell us anything new, along comes a story like this one, an inspiring, upbeat, true rescue account that is essential to the history. In the last few months of the war, Luba Trysznka, a young Polish Jewish woman, saved more than 50 Dutch Jewish children who had been abandoned in a snowy field behind her barracks in Bergen-Belsen. She sheltered the children, scavenged and stole for them, and cajoled food scraps, medicine, and wood to keep the children alive. McCann's third-person account is based on interviews with Luba, who now lives in the U.S., and Marshall's handsome accompanying art, in oil paint and collage, is radiant. There are also occasional photos, including one of the survivors 50 years later when their brave rescuer was honored. There are no guards or emaciated corpses here, and children will need the useful introduction and afterword to fill in the facts about the millions who did not survive—among them, Dutch teen Anne Frank, who died of typhus right at Bergen-Belsen.  (Hazel Rochman for Booklist)


Maruki, Toshi.  Hiroshima No Pika (HarperCollins, 1982).

Hiroshima No Pika (Hiroshima No More) is a retelling of a mother's account of what happened to her family during the Flash that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Toshi Maruki is highly regarded as an artist in her native Japan. Since the end of Worl War II, she and her husband Iri Maruki have been actively engaged in campaigning for nuclear disarmament and world peace. In addition to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the subjects of her paintings have included the Minamata tragedy and genocide during the Japanese occupation of Nanking. Hiroshima No Pika was awarded the Ehon Nippon Prize (for the most excellent picture book of Japan), an annual award given by the Yomiuri Shimbun Press.


Mochizuki, Ken and Dom Lee (Illustrator).  Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story (Lee & Low Books, 2003).

Add this to the stories of the Righteous Gentiles. In 1940, Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania, saved the lives of hundreds of Polish Jewish refugees. He personally wrote out visas that enabled the Jews to escape the Nazis. To do that, he risked the lives of his own family and disobeyed the instructions of the Japanese government. The story is told in the first person by the consul's son, Hiroki, who remembers himself at the age of five when desperate refugees were crowding at his father's door. He remembers how his father consulted his family and how they all discussed their choice: if they helped those people, the family could be in danger; if they did nothing, all the refugees could die. Lee's stirring mixed-media illustrations in sepia shades are humane and beautiful; they capture the intensity of those days--when the crowds were at the gate and one man wrote and wrote the visas by hand--from the child's viewpoint. The immediacy of the narrative will grab kids' interest and make them think. And yet, this story cries out for fuller historical treatment than a picture book can give it. So many questions are left unanswered: What happened to the refugees? What happened to the consul's family? A brief afterword just hints at the astonishing drama. (Hazel Rochman for Booklist)


Mochizuki, Ken and Dom Lee (Illustrator).  Baseball Saved Us (Lee & Low Books, 1995).

A Japanese American boy learns to play baseball when he and his family are forced to live in an internment camp during World War II, and his ability to play helps him after the war is over.


Nelson, S.D.  Quiet Hero: The Ira Hayes Story (Lee & Low Books, 2006).

The short life of Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian and one of the marines who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, is chronicled in a picture book for middle-graders. Shy and silent, Hayes found comfort first in the regimen of a government-run boarding school and then in the armed services during World War II. He and five other Marines were immortalized in that iconic image of raising the Stars and Stripes on a pole, which was later made into a bronze statue. Hailed as a hero upon his return, Hayes found it difficult to adjust to civilian life, sinking into despair and alcoholism, a disease that killed him 10 years later. Some of Nelson's acrylic images, like his language, are a bit stiff and stilted, but several spreads dynamically capture the fury of war, and the text is readable and informative. The author's note provides a bit more information about this well-known military moment. (GraceAnne DeCandido for Booklist)


Nerlove, Miriam.  Flowers On The Wall (Margaret K. McElderry, 1996).

Stories about the Holocaust for young children always raise problems: either they tell the terrifying truth and that can overwhelm this audience, or they distort the truth and make things sweet and hopeful. This quiet picture book is neither sensational nor comforting. Inspired by a pre-Holocaust photograph by Roman Vishniac, Nerlove imagines the life of a Jewish child in Warsaw who stayed in bed all winter because of the cold and painted flowers on the wall behind her bed. Most of the story takes place before the Nazi invasion, when the Jews suffered under Polish oppression. For a brief period, Rachel gets some shoes and even manages to go to school; then the Germans come, and the final double-page spread shows the Jews being taken to Treblinka concentration camp, Rachel's dreams "gone forever." The words and watercolor pictures are understated, avoiding close-up scenes of brutality, starvation, and breakdown. The focus is on the rooms of home and school and the brightly colored flowers that cover the cracked gray walls.  (Hazel Rochman for Amazon.com)


Oppenheim, Joanne.  Dear Miss Breed (Scholastic Nonfiction, 2006).

In the early 1940's, Clara Breed was the children's librarian at the San Diego Public Library. But she was also friend to dozens of Japanese American children and teens when war broke out in December of 1941. The story of what happened to these American citizens is movingly told through letters that her young friends wrote to Miss Breed during their internment. This remarkable librarian and humanitarian served as a lifeline to these imprisoned young people, and was brave enough to speak out against a shameful chapter in American history.


Oppenheim, Shulamith Levey and Ronald Himler (Illustrator). The Lily Cupboard (HarperTrophy, 1995).

Although this depiction of a young Jewish girl's experience in Nazi-occupied Holland "ultimately does not ring true," said PW, it is "sure to provoke further discussion and may serve to introduce the themes of war and racism." (Publisher’s Weekly)


Platt, Richard.  D-Day Landings: The Story of the Allied Invasion (DK Children, 2004).

How did the Allies plan and execute the most massive and daring invasion in military history? Read all about it in the DK Reader that explains in thrilling detail how the Nazis were defeated on the beaches of France. DK Readers is a multi-level learning-to-read program combining DK's highly visual style with appealing stories at five graduated levels. Stunning photographs and engaging, age-appropriate stories are guaranteed to capture a child's interest while developing reading skills and general knowledge. DK Readers allow progression of stories for beginning readers with simple sentences and word repetition through to stories with rich vocabulary and more challenging sentence structure for proficient readers.


Polacco, Patricia.  The Butterfly (Philomel, 2004).

Since the Tall Boots—the Nazis—have 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. When she turns out to be--not a ghost at all--but a young girl named Sevrine, who has been hiding from the Nazis in Monique's own basement, how could Monique not be surprised! Playing upstairs after dark, the two become friends until, in a terrifying moment, they are discovered, sending both of their families into a nighttime flight. In the tradition of Pink and Say, Patricia Polacco once again dips into her own family's history to reveal her Aunt Monique's true story of friendship from the French Resistance.



Children's Books and Picture Books--Fleming to Kodama

Fleming, Candace and Stacey Dressen-McQueen.  Boxes for Katje (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003).

After World War II there is little left in Katje's town of Olst in Holland. Her family, like most Dutch families, must patch their old worn clothing and go without everyday things like soap and milk. Then one spring morning when the tulips bloom "thick and bright," Postman Kleinhoonte pedals his bicycle down Katje's street to deliver a mysterious box—a box from America! Full of soap, socks, and chocolate, the box has been sent by Rosie, an American girl from Mayfield, Indiana. Her package is part of a goodwill effort to help the people of Europe. What's inside so delights Katje that she sends off a letter of thanks—beginning an exchange that swells with so many surprises that the girls, as well as their townspeople, will never be the same. This inspiring story, with strikingly original art, is based on the author's mother's childhood and will show young readers that they, too, can make a difference.


Gourley, Catherine and Camela Decaire (Authors) and Laszlo Kubinyi, Jamie Young and Connie Russell (Illustrators). Welcome to Molly's World, 1944: Growing Up in World War Two America (American Girls, 1999).

Coming on the heels of Welcome to Felicity's World, 1774 (1999), are these volumes showing the background of other American Girls. Molly's World introduces children to the social history of the early 1940s. A map of "Hometown, USA" shows such details as a rubber drive, a USO canteen, and a line outside the grocery store. Other double-page spreads focus on such topics as the Women's Army Corps, blackouts in the U.S. and air raids in England, and V-E Day. Kirsten's World follows a family of Swedish immigrants as they make their way to the frontier in the Minnesota Territory in the 1840s. Among the subjects introduced in the colorful double-page spreads are log cabin construction, Native American dress, and a trip to town. There are hundreds of illustrations, including period photographs and paintings, photographs of artifacts, and modern paintings of nineteenth-century scenes. Informative introductions preface the periods covered by the series. Other volumes are listed in Series Roundup, this issue.  (Carolyn Phelan for Booklist)


Hamanaka, Sheila.  Peace Crane (HarperCollins Publishers, 1995).

On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Out of the ashes grew the legacy of Sadako, the girl who folded a thousand paper cranes. Now Sheila Hamanaka, author and illustrator of the acclaimed All the Color of the Earth, uses majestic oil paintings and heartfelt verse to express the dreams of another child, trapped in the violence of today's world, who wonders if the peace crane will ever come. Fifty years after the bombing of Hiroshima, this luminous book affirms the true spirit of Sadako and all who believe that peace is possible in our troubled time. 


Hamanaka, Sheila.  On the Wings of Peace: Writers and Illustrators Speak Out for Peace, in Memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Clarion Books, 1995). 

To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, fifty-eight writers and illustrators have donated prose, poetry, and artwork that deal with the proposition of peace - from the day-to-day issues of personal and community violence to international conflict. Some of the contributors are Leo and Diane Dillon, Walter Dean Myers, Kioko Mori, Katherine Paterson, Jerry Pinkney, Milton Meltzer, Paul Morin, and Wendell Minor. Children of today face the greatest challenge humanity has ever known: creating a world in which every man, woman, and child has the opportunity to live in peace. Throughout history, war has been the method of choice to resolve arguments over borders, injustices, ideologies, religions, and numerous other passionately held beliefs. The heroes of history have been the brave men and women who have risked their lives to fight their countries' battles. Events of the twentieth century have brought changes that now make going to war, for any reason, obsolete. The heroes of the twenty-first century will be men and women who find alternatives to war. These people are children today.


Hausfater, Rachel.  The Little Boy Star: An Allegory of the Holocaust (Milk and Cookies Press, 2006).

A young Jewish boy is given a star to wear. At first he is proud of the decoration, but soon finds the star overshadowing him—no one sees the boy, only the star. Lonely, frightened, and helpless, he watches as other star-wearers are led away into the night. This affecting allegory, rich with symbolism, educates children about the events of the Holocaust in a way that young minds can easily grasp. Told in simple, poetic language, the book offers a tender message of tolerance and inner strength.


Hesse, Karen and Wendy Watson (Illustrator). The Cats in Krasinski Square (Scholastic Press, 2004).

When Karen Hesse came upon a short article about cats out-foxing the Gestapo at the train station in Warsaw during WWII, she couldn't get the story out of her mind. The result is this stirring account of a Jewish girl's involvement in the Resistance. At once terrifying and soulful, this fictional account, borne of meticulous research, is a testament to history and to our passionate will to survive, as only Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse can write it.


Hest, Amy and Deborah Haefflel (Illustrator). The Ring and the Window Seat (Scholastic Inc., 1990).

Although she has been saving for a ring, Stella decides to give her bundle of nickles to a carpenter who is trying to rescue his little girl from a war-torn country.


Hoestlandt, Jo, Mark Plizzotti (Translator) and Johanna Kang (Illustrator).  Star of Fear, Star of Hope (Walker Books for Young Readers, 1996).

Like Richter's Friedrich (1970) for older readers, this picture book dramatizes the Holocaust from the point of view of a gentile child who watches the mounting persecution of a Jewish friend. Translated from the French, the story is narrated by Helen, who remembers herself at nine years old in 1942 when the Nazis occupied northern France. Why does her best friend, Lydia, have to wear a yellow star? Why are people in hiding and using strange names? What is Lydia afraid of? Helen quarrels with her friend, and then Lydia is taken away, and Helen never sees her again. The book won the Graphics Prize at the 1994 Bologna Book Fair. The pastel pictures in sepia tones are understated, with an old-fashioned, almost childlike simplicity. In contrast to the quiet pictures of the children together inside the house, there's a climactic double-page street scene of a long column of people carrying suitcases and being marched away by the French police. Without being maudlin or sensational, the story brings the genocide home.  (Hazel Rochman for Booklist)


Houston, Gloria.  But No Candy (Philomel, 1992).

While her Uncle Ted is off fighting in World War II, Lee watches the candy gradually disappear from the shelves of her family's store and realizes that her entire world has changed.


Hunter, Sara Hoagland and Julia Miner (Illustrator).  The Unbreakable Code (Rising Moon Books, 1996).

Because John is afraid to leave the Navajo Reservation, his grandfather explains to him how the Navajo language, faith, and ingenuity helped win World War II.


Johnston, Tony and Ron Mazellan (Illustrator). The Harmonica (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2004).

Based on a true survivor story, this powerful picture book is yet another astonishing Holocaust account for discussion. A Polish Jewish child, blissfully happy with his loving parents, gets a harmonica from his coal-miner father and learns to play Schubert while his parents dance. The realistic mixed-media, double-page illustrations contrast that glowing warmth of home with the darkness that comes when Nazi soldiers break down the door, separate the boy from his family, and send him to the camps. His harmonica becomes his solace. The commandant hears about the child's playing. He orders the boy to play Schubert and throws him bread. In the end, however, the music does nothing to humanize the brutal Nazis. In fact, one unforgettable picture shows the commandant blissfully listening to the music, one hand over his heart and the other holding a whip. The home memories are idyllic, but there's absolutely no sentimentality about the child's survival. Johnston gives children and grown-ups lots to talk about here—for example, Can a person be both sensitive and cruel? (Hazel Rochman for Booklist)


Josephson, Judith Pinkerton.  Growing Up in World War II: 1941 To 1945 (Lerner Publishing Group, 2002).

Books in the attractive Our America series give today's children an opportunity to understand what childhood and adolescence were like for America's youth in the past. Each book focuses on several children describing various aspects of their lives. In New Century, one girl is growing up on a southern plantation; another child is Kermit, the son of Teddy Roosevelt. The organization could have been better, but the writing is lively as Josephson gives a general introduction to the times, including such topics as work, play, and education. World War II follows a similar pattern, but the emphasis is on what it was like to live through the war years. Both books feature evocative black-and-white photographs. The design is pleasing, but sometimes particular pictures take up a whole page when a half would do. Footnotes, a selected bibliography bolstered by a list of books and Web sites, and a two-page spread of follow-up activities round out each book.  (Ilene Cooper for Booklist)


Kadohata, Cynthia.  Weedflower (Atheneum, 2006).

Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to. That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States! As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new "home." 

Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they'd been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend...if he can ever stop being angry about the fact that the internment camp is on his tribe's land. With searing insight and clarity, Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Kadohata explores an important and painful topic through the eyes of a young girl who yearns to belong. Weedflower is the story of the rewards and challenges of a friendship across the racial divide, as well as the based-on-real-life story of how the meeting of Japanese Americans and Native Americans changed the future of both.


Kodama, Tatsuharu and Noriyuki Ando (Illustrator).  Shin's Tricycle (Walker Books for Young Readers, 1995).

A beautifully illustrated true story of another family's experience of the bombing of Hiroshima. Shin's uncle is able to get him the impossible: the tricycle he desperately wants. He is riding the wonderful, brand-new tricycle when the atom bomb is dropped. Shin is found in the rubble, holding on to his treasure. He dies later that day, ten days before his fourth birthday. The tricycle now sits in the Peace Museum in Hiroshima.


Children's Books and Picture Books--Abells to de Paolo

Abells, Chana Byers.  The Children We Remember (HarperTrophy, 2002).

Through moving photographs from the Yad Vashem Archives in Jerusalem, Israel, archivist Chana Byers Abells has created an unforgettable essay about the children who lived and died during the Holocaust. While it is a story of death and loss, it is also a story of courage and endurance, a story to be shared with today's children.


Adler, David A.  and Karen Ritz (Illustrator).  Hiding from the Nazis (Holiday House, 2001).

Hiding from the Nazis is the true story of Lore Baer, who as a four-year-old Jewish child was placed with a Christian family in the Dutch farm country to avoid persecution by the Nazis.


Adler, David A. and Llyod Bloom (Illustrator).  One Yellow Daffodil: A Hanukkah Story (Voyager Books, 1999).

Holocaust survivor Morris Kaplan spends his days tending his flower shop and trying to ignore his emotional emptiness. Two of his youngest customers, Jonathan and Ilana, visit every Friday to buy flowers for their family's Sabbath. He is surprised when the children arrive on a Tuesday, until they explain that this bouquet is for the first night of Hanukkah. After Mr. Kaplan admits that he no longer observes holiday traditions, the children invite him to join their family festivities the following evening. Although the celebration brings forth painful memories--including one of a single daffodil growing in the mud at Auschwitz--the experience helps Morris begin reconnecting with humanity. Bloom's rich acrylic paintings lend an appropriately thoughtful tone to the pensive text. The story is only marginally connected with Hanukkah, but it lends itself to sharing on Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Kay Weisman for Booklist)


Adler, David A. and Rose Eichenbaum (Illustrator).  The Number on My Grandfather's Arm (Urj Press, 1987).

The moving story of a young girl who learns her grandfather’s experience in Auschwitz and then helps him overcome his sensitivity about the number on his arm, this award-winning picture book gives young children "just enough" information about the Holocaust without overwhelming them.


Amis, Nancy.  The Orphans of Normandy: A True Story of World War II Told Through Drawings by Children (Atheneum, 2003).

When the Allies invaded Normandy on June 6, 1944, one hundred orphaned girls were forced to flee their orphanage in Caen, France, the only home many of them had ever known. They began a trek on foot to a safer location, to Beaufort-en-Vallée, a town one hundred and fifty miles away. As the war raged on all sides of them, the girls, led by their teachers, bravely marched south, keeping one step ahead of the fighting and waving little white flags for protection. Told through their own drawings and words, this moving and timely book details their experiences on their journey to safety.


Bartoletti, Susan Campbell.  Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (Scholastic Nonfiction, 2005).

"I begin with the young. We older ones are used up . . . But my magnificent youngsters! Look at these men and boys! What material! With them, I can create a new world." --Adolf Hitler, Nuremberg 1933 By the time Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, 3.5 million children belonged to the Hitler Youth. It would become the largest youth group in history. Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores how Hitler gained the loyalty, trust, and passion of so many of Germany's young people. Her research includes telling interviews with surviving Hitler Youth members.


Borden, Louise W and Robert Andrew Parker (Illustrator).  Across the Blue Pacific: A World War II Story (Houghton Mifflin, 2006).

When the United States enters World War II, Molly is attending Beechwood Elementary. But her thoughts are with Ted Walker, her neighbor, who is serving aboard a cruiser in the South Atlantic. Three years later, the war is still going on and Molly is in the fourth grade. Ted is still at sea, as a naval officer of the USS Albacore, a submarine in the Pacific Ocean. Orchard Road feels like the safest place on earth, but somewhere on the other side of the world, Ted and his crew are carrying out dangerous missions. No one knows when they will come home, and young Molly must find a way to live with fear during wartime.


Borden, Louise and Niki Daly (Illustrator). The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands (Margaret K. McElderry, 2004).

In 1941 Piet, a young Dutch boy from Sluis, gets the assignment of a lifetime: He must skate along the frozen canals of the Netherlands and across the Belgian border, in order to guide two neighborhood children to their aunt's house in Brugge, where the children will remain for the duration of World War II. Their father has been taken by German soldiers, and the children are no longer safe in Sluis -- but the journey with Piet, past soldiers and enemies, is fraught with danger. 

Along the treacherous path to Belgium the three children skate using every bit of speed, courage, and strength they can muster. All the time they try to appear like innocent schoolchildren simply out for a skate, for if the German soldiers discover their escape plan, the children will be in grave trouble. During the journey Piet thinks about his hero, Pim Mulier -- the first person to ever skate the Elfstedentocht, the famous and prestigious Eleven Towns Race that takes place in his country. For years Piet has dreamed of proving that he is a skater as brave and strong as Pim Mulier -- but he had never imagined that his test would fall under such dangerous circumstances.


Borden, Louise and Michael Foreman (Illustrator).  The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II (Aladdin, 2003).

In May of 1940—the early days of World War II—half a million British and French soldiers were trapped in France. Weak and wounded, they needed aid. Help came in the form of countless small craft, steered by brave young men, in the legendary armada of "little ships" that sailed aross the English Channel. Many people wanted to be a part of the rescue mission. Here is the story of a girl who was so determined to help that she disguised herself as a boy to blend in with the men as they sailed toward Dunkirk.


Bunting, Eve and K. Wendy Popp  (Illustrator).  One Candle (Harper Collins, 2002).

For one family the traditional Hanukkah celebration has a deeper meaning. Amidst the food and the festivities, Grandma and Great-Aunt Rose begin their story-the one they tell each year. They pass on to each generation a tale of perseverance during the darkest hours of the Holocaust, and the strength it took to continue to honor Hanukkah in the only way they could.  Best-selling author Eve Bunting's touching and joyous story about the importance of remembrance is exquisitely rendered by K. Wendy Popp's remarkable pastels. One Candle reaffirms the values of tradition and family, but also shows us that by continuing to honor the tragedies and the triumphs of the past there will always be hope for the future.


Bunting, Eve and Chris K. Soentpiet (Illustrator).  So Far from the Sea (Clarion Books, 1998).

Laura Iwasaki and her family are paying what may be their last visit to Laura's grandfather's grave. The grave is at Manzanar, where thousands of Americans of Japanese heritage were interned during World War II. Among those rounded up and taken to the internment camp were Laura's father, then a small boy, and his parents. Now Laura says goodbye to Grandfather in her own special way, with a gesture that crosses generational lines and bears witness to the patriotism that survived a shameful episode in America's history. Eve Bunting's poignant text and Chris K. Soentpiet's detailed, evocative paintings make the story of this family's visit to Manzanar, and of the memories stirred by the experience, one that will linger in readers' minds and hearts. 


Bunting, Eve and Stephen Gammell (Illustrator). Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1989).

In this unique introduction to the Holocaust, Eve Bunting encourages young children to stand up for what they think is right, without waiting for others to join them.


Coerr, Eleanor.  Sadako (Putnam Juvenile, 1997).

Hospitalized with the dreaded atom bomb disease, leukemia, a child in Hiroshima races against time to fold one thousand paper cranes to verify the legend that by doing so a sick person will become healthy.


Deedy, Carmen Agra and Henri Sorensen (Illustrator). The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark (Peachtree Publishers, 2000).

Without the yellow star to point them out, the Jews looked like any other Danes. For centuries, the Star of David was a symbol of Jewish pride. But during World War II, Nazis used the star to segregate and terrorize the Jewish people. Except in Denmark. When Nazi soldiers occupied his country, King Christian X of Denmark committed himself to keeping all Danes safe from harm. The bravery of the Danes and their king during that dangerous time has inspired many legends. The most enduring is the legend of the yellow star, which symbolizes the loyalty and fearless spirit of the king and his people. Award-winning author and storyteller Carmen Deedy has poignantly recreated this legend which is accompanied by Danish illustrator Henri Sorensen's arresting full-color portraits. The result is a powerful and dignified story of heroic justice, a story for all people and all times.


dePaolo, Tomie.  I’m Still Scared (Puffin, Re-print, 2007).

DePaola picks up his autobiographical series right where his last title, Things Will Never Be the Same (2003),left off: December, 7, 1941. Now in second grade, little Tomie describes the reactions to the Pearl Harbor bombings, first at home, then at church, and finally at school, where the children attend special assemblies and try to understand new concepts, such as air raids. What isn't explained fully at school, Tomie can ask about at home, and with his family's caring support, he is able to work through his fears about the war. Once again, the warm, childlike narration captures both the specifics of the time and universal experiences that will connect with most children. The shaded, black-and-white sketches on each page extend the story's small, revealing moments--stinky, wet wool mittens drying on the classroom radiator; Tomie snuggled into his grandfather's hug. Children won't recognize the war details, such as blackout curtains, but they'll see their own worries about today's conflicts and feel reassured about their safety, right along with Tomie.


dePaolo, Tomie.  Why? (Puffin, 2007).

World War II is raging in Europe, and young Tomie finds that everyday life has changed in many ways. Sure, there’s still New Year’s Eve to celebrate, and he still has to face penmanship and arithmetic in second grade— definitely not his strongest subjects. But now he has to wear an extra sweater to school because they’re trying to conserve coal for heating. And a shopping trip to Hartford for Easter outfits seems more urgent in the face of looming shortages.



dePaolo, Tomie.  These Will Never Be the Same (Puffin, 2004).

The latest installment in dePaola's ongoing, still-unique autobiography takes readers through 1941, dePaola's seventh year, when world events elbowed their way into his world for good. Frequently mixing in neatly lettered pages from his treasured diary, dePaola chronicles exhilarating rides on sleds and amusement-park attractions, Saturday morning trips to the movie house, Sunday morning routines, a dance recital, trials and tribulations in second grade, and more--until December seventh brings all the grown-ups together around the radio, and his mother utters the title's prophetic words: "Things will never be the same." Livening nearly every page with vignettes or larger drawings, the author again draws children into a vanished, but somehow universal, world with his youthful narration, convincingly childlike sensibility, and irrepressible spirit.  (John Peters for Booklist)