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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Listed: War, According to YA and Children’s Books

I had originally meant to post something on this topic closer to Remembrance Day (Nov 11th for those non-Canadians), but alas – time got away from me. So, it is a little late, but I still love this topic.

Here’s the thing about books that take place during the war: they teach us so much about things we’ll (hopefully) never experience ourselves. Yes, there are still wars going on, but nothing to the scale of the World Wars were. Nothing like the Holocaust. And it’s so important for us to learn about these events in our past; it’s important for us to know where we’ve been and how it’s made us who we are.

And so, here are ten children’s and young adults books that take place during a war:

  1. Megiddo’s Shadow by Arthur Slade. Originally Published: 2006. During WWI, young Edward joins the Canadian army after his older brother is killed in battle.
  2. The Guests of War Trilogy by Kit Pearson. First book in the trilogy (The Sky is Falling) originally published: 1989. A trilogy about two siblings who are evacuees to Canada during WWII.
  3. Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman. Originally Published: 2008. WWII-era India, where Vidya’s family must learn to adjust to life after her father is gravely injured during a protest.
  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Originally Published: 2005. Set in Germany in WWII, foster-child Liesel likes to steal books. I haven’t read this book yet, but really want to.
  5. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Originally Published: 1950. The four Pevensie siblings are evacuated to the countryside during WWII, where they discover a magic wardrobe that brings them to another world.
  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. First Part Originally Published: 1868. This book follows four young-ish sisters while their father is away fighting the American Civil War.
  7. The Youngest Templar Trilogy by Michael Spradlin. First book in the series (Keeper of the Grail) originally published: 2008. When young Tristan agrees to become the squire of a member of the Knights Templar, he gets thrown into the middle of the Crusades.
  8. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Originally Published: 1947. While not fiction, this journal written by a young jewish girl in hiding during WWII is a must-read for everyone.
  9. Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. Originally Published: 2009. Ida Mae’s story is about a young African American girl passing as a caucasian American in order to join the army to pilot non-combat missions during WWII.
  10. Rilla of Ingelside by L.M. Montgomery. Originally Published: 1921. Young Rilla’s life is changed when it is declared that Canada will join the fight in the Great War. This book tells of life on the Canadian home front during WWI. (I’m going to get some complaints about how this isn’t a children’s or YA book. But I’m including it here because Rilla is very much the best teen main character ever.)

What are your favourite YA/children’s war books?

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 9:44 am November 30, 2009.
Category: Listed

  • Shannon

    I would argue that Rilla of Ingleside is a YA book… I read it when I was still in elementary school.

  • Angel

    My favorite war book as a young adolescent was Zlata’s Diary. Takes place during the Bosnia war, if I remember correctly. I think it struck a chord within me because it was during my time and the young girl was close to my age. Great read for a young adult.

  • Aarti

    Really? Rilla isn’t YA? I think it definitely is! And I LOVE the Book Thief- so so so good :-)

  • Erin

    I loved those Kit Pearson books! I also loved war books by an author… I think Carol Mathas?