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)