The best books of children persevering through WWII

Why am I passionate about this?

My life has been blessed by having British grandparents who lived very long lives. Grandad was in the RAF and Nanny sewed for the War Effort during WWII. They rarely spoke of their experiences until they reached their early 90s. Their memories, other family members, and friends inspired me to research the children who persevered through Operation Pied Piper. I also visited related locations in England gathering more information. The Greatest Generation had a huge impact on who I am as a person and how I treat others. My recommendation list is a sampling of some of my favorite books about perseverance. 


I wrote...

Keep Calm and Carry On, Children

By Sharon K. Mayhew,

Book cover of Keep Calm and Carry On, Children

What is my book about?

Everyone faces challenges in life. Some when we are young and some when we are older. Keep Calm and Carry On, Children is a story about how British children, during WWII, persevered and overcame their situations.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Black Radishes

Sharon K. Mayhew Why did I love this book?

After reading Susan Lynn Meyer’s book I sought her out. I didn’t expect a response, I needed to tell her how much I appreciated her book and how I adored the bond she had with her characters. It felt like she was sharing a family story. She validated my theory. Her book is based on her family’s history. Gustave is a French Jewish boy living in Paris at the beginning of the book. He watches and documents the Nazi party taking over Europe. She shares precise small details…you feel connected to what’s going on in Gustave’s life. You understand his fears as they move to a “safer” part of France. 

By Susan Lynn Meyer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Black Radishes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner Black Radishes is a suspenseful WWII/Holocaust story, in which one boy learns what it means to be Jewish and French at a time when everything is changing.

   Gustave doesn't want to move from the exciting city to the boring countryside, far from his cousin Jean-Paul and his best friend, the mischievous Marcel. But he has no choice. It is March of 1940, and Paris is not a safe place for Jews.
   When Paris is captured by the Nazis, Gustave knows that Marcel, Jean-Paul, and their families must make it out of the occupied zone. And…


Book cover of Good Night, Mr. Tom

Sharon K. Mayhew Why did I love this book?

This is an exceptionally good middle grade book! It tells what really happened to British children who were evacuated from the cities to the countryside during WWII. It caused me to question my English grandparents about their experiences during WWII. Imagine how people would react today if the government ordered them to put their children on a train to go live with strangers in some other part of the country.

By Michelle Magorian,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Good Night, Mr. Tom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

Tom tucked a blanket round him, drew up a chair by the fire and watched Willie fall asleep. The tales he had heard about evacuees didn't seem to fit Willie. 'Ungrateful' and 'wild' were the adjectives he had heard used, or just plain 'homesick'. He was quite unprepared for this timid, sickly little specimen.

Britain, 1940. With World War Two raging all around, young children are being sent from their homes in the city to the countryside for safety. When eight-year-old Willie Beech first arrives on Tom Oakley's doorstep,…


Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Sharon K. Mayhew Why did I love this book?

The Diary Of A Young Girl is an amazing story of perseverance through terrible hardships during WWII. You feel like you are in the attic with the Frank family trying to live in complete silence and relying on the goodwill of others to protect and provide for your needs. This book began a journey for me...I had to find out what happened to children of all different nationalities and religions during WWII. The Greatest Generation is called that because they pushed forward at every challenge life presented them with.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Anne Frank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


Book cover of Yellow Star

Sharon K. Mayhew Why did I love this book?

The author does an outstanding job telling her Aunt Sylvia’s story. Sylvia was one of the twelve children to survive the Lodz Ghetto during the Holocaust. This book will capture you from page one through the end. Parts of the book literally took my breath away. By the end, I was in tears. There are no words to describe the heroes who survived the Holocaust.

By Jennifer Roy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yellow Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"In 1945 the war ended. The Germans surrendered, and the ghetto was liberated. Out of over a quarter of a million people, about 800 walked out of the ghetto. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve." For more than fifty years after the war, Syvia, like many Holocaust survivors, did not talk about her experiences in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. She buried her past in order to move forward. But finally she decided it was time to share her story, and so she told it to her niece, who has re-told it…


Book cover of An Evacuee's Journey

Sharon K. Mayhew Why did I love this book?

This is an excellently organized non-fiction, kid-friendly (or adult) book about WWII. It explains everything from an evacuee’s journey, to ration books, how everyone helped in the War Effort, various battles, a super timeline, and a glossary. It even offers titles of other books to find more information.

By Peter Hepplewhite,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Evacuee's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This series is about transport and travel during different eras in history. Set in 1939, this title follows the journey of evacuee Joe Thompson from Sunderland to the countryside of East Yorkshire. The reader witnesses Joe's experiences of wartime Britain along the way, with the text providing the background to the social conditions of that time. Topics covered include preparation for war, how evacuees were chosen by foster families, health and welfare in Britain, homesickness, farmwork, schooling, rationing, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Complete with timeline and glossary.


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Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children

By Felice Picano,

Book cover of Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children

Felice Picano Author Of Six Strange Stories and an Essay on H.P. Lovecraft

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author

Felice's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Bold, funny, and shockingly honest, Ambidextrous is like no other memoir of 1950s urban childhood.

Picano appears to his parents and siblings to be a happy, cheerful eleven-year-old possessed of the remarkable talent of being able to draw beautifully and write fluently with either hand. But then he runs into the mindless bigotry of a middle school teacher who insists that left-handedness is "wrong," and his idyllic world falls apart.

He uncovers the insatiable appetites of a trio of neighboring sisters, falls for another boy with a glue-sniffing habit, and discovers the hidden world of adult desire and hypocrisy. Picano…

Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children

By Felice Picano,

What is this book about?

Bold, funny, and shockingly honest, Ambidextrous is like no other memoir of 1950s urban childhood. Picano appears to his parents and siblings to be a happy, cheerful eleven-year-old, possessed of the remarkable talent of being able to draw beautifully and write fluently with either hand. But then he runs into the mindless bigotry of a middle school teacher who insists that left-handedness is "wrong," and his idyllic world falls apart. He uncovers the insatiable appetites of a trio of neighboring sisters, falls for another boy with a glue-sniffing habit, and discovers the hidden world of adult desire and hypocrisy. Picano…


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