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Resources for Parents and Kids: World War II

Illustration of soldiers using parachutes and veterans waving a British flag


Issue 20 From the Battlefront

You asked for it, and we delivered! Issue 20 | From the Battlefront is our newest issue, all about World War II. While researching this topic, we found so many helpful resources and wanted to share some of our favorites. As always, we hope these resources will help educators and encourage young historians to continue learning. 



Researchers and Aspiring Academics


When it comes to World War II, there is no shortage of research. Here are some books to get you started as you dive deeper into Issue 20.


World War II: A New History by Evan Mawdsley: This book offers a history of the Second World War with a fresh perspective. Instead of focusing primarily on Europe, the author highlights Asia and the Middle East to give a truly global history. The text includes illustrated maps, photographs, and short sections on key figures and battles. 


Manhattan Project: The Story of the Century by Bruce Cameron Reed: Sometimes scientific topics can get a bit technical. This book is the first full-length study of the Manhattan Project written for those of us without a scientific background. Using accessible language and graphics, this text helps readers understand the history behind the atomic bomb.  


The Road to Victory: The Untold Story of World War II’s Red Ball Express by David P. Colley: While creating Issue 20, we loved researching the daring Red Ball Express. This text dives into the full history of the famous truck delivery system and the heroic soldiers behind the wheel. It is the first book dedicated to the topic and is based on interviews with Red Ball veterans. 


Red Ball Express
Soldiers loading a Red Ball Express truck in 1944. Image credit: Wikimedia.



Parents and Educators

Thankfully, there are so many free WWII resources to choose from! Here are our top picks to pair with Issue 20


The National WWII Museum: You can spend hours browsing this museum's website to find articles, podcasts, and educator resources for your curriculum. Based in New Orleans, the National WWII Museum is truly a wealth of information for adults and kids curious to learn and connect with history.  


The Ghost Army Legacy Project: Did your young historians enjoy our story about the Ghost Army? This visual web resource is a great tool to further explore its fascinating history and the people behind its secret missions. Adults and kids can view primary sources in the project’s archive, including veterans’ letters and diaries. 


Ghost Army

Images of the Ghost Army including audio recorders used to record sound, the Ghost Army patch, a mobile weather station on an Army jeep, a tank with sonic projection equipment, and a portrait. Image credit: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.


The American Battle Monuments Commission
: The ABMC provides a range of educational resources on its website about World War II. Check out some of the interactive narratives, including a visual history of World War II. There is also a lesson plan about Pearl Harbor, made in partnership with National History Day


The Japanese American National Museum: In Issue 20, we addressed the dark truth of internment camps. This museum provides helpful information about the Japanese American experience during World War II. You can explore its visual web resources, like this one about the concentration camps, as well as printable curriculum with primary source activities

School children, Manzanar Relocation Center
School children at Manzanar Relocation Center, California,  photograph by Ansel Adams.
Image credit: Library of Congress LC-DIG-pprs-00357.



Young Historians

War can be a challenging topic to discuss with your little ones. These three books explore some of the harder truths by offering messages of hope and courage. 


My Secret War Diary By Flossie Albright by Marcia Williams: This fictionalized diary explores life during World War II, seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl. Flossie's handwritten diary is packed with drawings, photos, postcards, and other memorabilia to capture the imagination of young readers. The handwritten font can be a bit hard to read, so we recommend parents and kids explore the diary together. The book is a beautiful blend of humor, hardship, loss, and hope. 


Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family's Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp by Katie Yamasaki: Based on the author’s own family, this picturebook explores the impact of World War II internment camps on Japanese American families. The story follows two brothers, Taro and Jimmy, who are forced to leave home for an internment camp. Every night, Taro catches a fish for his younger brother. It holds a hopeful message that can open a discussion about this difficult chapter in American history. 



The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs: Perfect for ages 9+, this picturebook is a moving biography about the Jewish historian Dr. Yaffa Eliach. It tells the story of her mission to recover lost photographs of her Polish town after surviving the Holocaust. This book allows readers to thoughtfully learn about the Holocaust and understand the Jewish experience. 


Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki: In Issue 20, we only scratched the surface of Chiune Sugihara’s heroic story. While working in Lithuania, he issued hundreds of visas that saved the lives of Jewish refugees. This illustrated children’s book retells Sugihara’s act of bravery from the perspective of his five-year old son. It is an important story about courage and family. 


Sugihara Chiune

Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara.
Image credit: Wikimedia.


If you're looking for a kids magazine about World War II, we hope you'll check out Issue 20 | From the BattlefrontStay tuned as we continue to share resource tips for future issues!