WWII for 6th Graders

As I have mentioned in a couple of recent posts, I am giving booktalks in January to 6th graders on World War II in Europe.  I have lists of books used in the past by my predecessors and I am planning on including many of them, but I am interested in some different titles to shake things up a bit.  Also, I am horrible, absolutely horrible with knowing reading levels and appropriateness for ages/grades.  I consider this one of my biggest failings as a librarian.  I really wish they had offered some sort of development course in library school that would have addressed this.  Anyway, the point is I could use any help anyone has to offer.  I am going to list the ones I am currently looking into using.  Weigh in on them — yay or nay on whether I should use them.  Any good ones I’m missing — specifically non-fiction titles, that’s my current weak point.  Anything else you may find important.  Help me narrow my list down to a manageable amount of reading and booktalk writing for the next month.

Here are the titles I’m looking at so far (I’m certainly not going to use them all, only probably 8 or so):

  • The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson (almost finished reading this one)
  • Marika by Andrea Cheng (local author)
  • Throw your feet over your shoulders : beyond the Kindertransport by Frieda Stolzberg Korobkin
  • Hana’s Suitcase: a True Story by Karen Levine
  • On Rough Seas by Nancy Hull (new but horrible cover — has anyone else seen this one?)
  • Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli
  • Someone Named Eva by Joan Wolf
  • In defiance of Hitler : the secret mission of Varian Fry by Carla Killough McClafferty
  • Hitler Youth : growing up in Hitler’s shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
  • Lost in America by Marilyn Sachs (probably too American focused for this project…not sure)
  • Elephant Run by Roland Smith (Burma, not Europe, and may too old?)
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • Emil and Karl by Jacob Glatstein (way American/Englishized version of the author’s name)
  • The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo
  • Yellow Star by Jennifer Rozines Roy

Wow, that’s a lot more than I realize.  Thank you in advance for any help you may give!


About Casey

I am a librarian who loves all things reading, especially teen literature.
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6 Responses to WWII for 6th Graders

  1. Doret says:

    You should check out London Calling by Edward Bloor its very good. It deals with WWII prior to the U.S entering the war. Its reluctant reader friendly.

  2. Ashley says:

    Number the stars is a great one for 6th grade.
    Also there is this book called we remember… the holocaust
    ohhhhh and the upstairs room.

    I was practically obsessed with the holocaust in 5th and 6th grade. These are some lucky 6th graders cause we never got to learn a think about it back then.

  3. Taren says:

    The Diary of Anne Frank for non fiction and Summer of My German Soldier for fiction most def.

  4. Stuart says:

    “Throw Your Feet Over Your Shoulders” has been getting great reviews. Also, I think the letters from the author when she is a little girl make the story very real & will allow young readers to relate.

    Full disclosure: I am a publicist working on this title.

    Stuart Schnee

  5. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

  6. bookworm4life says:

    I just wanted to say a belated THANK YOU to everyone who commented with suggestions. Book talks went great and I will be calling upon you to help with my next topic…Vietnam! Oh boy!

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