WWII Books for Children

Crow Call

A hushed, contemplative picture book based on an episode from the author’s own childhood. What happens when a father returns from war, a stranger to his child? Gentle, honest, a tale that examines one of the difficult aspects of war with real tenderness.

Escape From Warsaw

A classic, long beloved tale of a family separated by war, and determined to find their way back to each other. With both of their parents arrested by Nazis, Ruth, Edek, and Bronia must fend for themselves until they meet a boy who tells them that their father is alive and waiting for them… in Switzerland. Thus begins a dangerous journey across war torn Europe as the children fight to survive and find their father.

I Am David

I read this book as an adult, and it startled me with its beauty. The story of a boy who has known nothing but a concentration camp, and how he learns what it means to be, not merely physically free, but liberated in heart as well, free to take on the bonds of love.

Irena's Jars of Secrets

A picture book telling of the true story of a young Polish woman who was a nurse during the Nazi Occupation and helped to save the lives of hundreds of Jewish children.

Number the Stars

The story of ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen who becomes caught up in the Danish Resistance during the Nazi Occupation when the life of her best friend is endangered.

Passage to Freedom

Based on the inspiring true-to-life story of a Japanese diplomat whose heroic resolve to write visas for the Jews in his jurisdiction saved hundreds of lives.

Snow Treasure

An adventure story involving four brave Norwegian children who smuggle gold right under the noses of the Nazis – by sledding.

The Butterfly

A true-to-life story by the marvelous Polacco, rich with her unique illustrations, this book recounts the tale of a young French girl who discovers a strange child and realizes that her mother is involved in the French Resistance.

The Diary of Anne Frank

The actual journals of a young Jewish girl forced into hiding in Amsterdam during WWII. Poignant in its rich portrait of a young girl hoping, dreaming, waiting like any other, even as her life hung in the balance. (Best for older children or teens for slightly mature content.)

The Endless Steppe

I read this book over and over, fascinated by the story (memoir that reads as compelling fiction) of a young Polish girl deported to Siberia during WWII. Fascinating for its historic detail and portrait of life in Siberia, the hardships and cold, its also intriguing for its portrayal of the way that life, especially for children, normalizes, even in times of war.