Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #10: Top Ten Favorite WWII Books I Have Blogged About and Why They are my Favorites


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's topic for Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, so I have decided to answer a question I get asked often: What is my favorite WWII book of all that I have read so far?  Here, then, are my top favorites, in no particular order at all.

1- Blitzcat by Robert Westall

Aside from the fact that I am partial to black cats, I thought this novel was one of the most effective animal stories I have ever read.  Westall really captured the nature of cat and never, ever anthropomorphized Lord Gort, the main character in this book, as she traveled the coast of southern England looking for her true human during WWII. (Her true human thought she was a male cat and named her after the guy who was blamed for the debacle at Dunkirk.)





2- Once, Then and Now Trilogy by Morris Gleitzman

This is one of the most effective Holocaust stories I have read.  Once and Then are the stories Felix tells us about his life as a Jewish child on the run form the Nazis.  A natural-born storyteller, Felix reminds us of the importance of remembering through his narration.  Now completes Felix's story many years later and is narrated by a young girl named Zelda.





3- The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico

This is perhaps my favorite story about Dunkirk and still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.  It is a story of love, healing and redemption between a lonely hunchback artist, a young girl and an injured snow goose.  It is a short story and can be read online here, although it doesn't include any of the lovely illustrations in the picture book versions.





4- Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis

The novels offer the excitement of a nail-biting time-slip story and a vivid, well-researched picture of England in World War II.  The are, quite simply, science/historical fiction at its best.







5- A Brief History of Montmaray and The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michele Cooper

If you like I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, these are the books for you.  The pre-war story about a royal family on a tiny Channel island and what happens when the Nazis come is told in journal for by young Sophie FitzOsborne.  The third book in this trilogy is called The FitzOsbornes at War and will be out this coming fall.




6- Citizen 13550 by Miné Okubo

This is a story about Japanese internment in early graphic novel form, and is based on the author's own experiences.  It is done in 197 very simple pen and ink drawings with very little text, letting the illustrations tell the story for the most part.  It is an extraordinarily powerful book about a shameful event in this country's history during a period of when we were fighting against this kind of oppression.




7- Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang

The story of a young girl who hides and takes care of an ill Russian soldier, an escaped POW, and the friendship that develops between them, even though neither speaks the other's language.  Pausewang creates a mood of stark tension, fear but also kindness all at the same time, while never forgetting that if caught, the heroine would be executed for treason.





8- The Staircase Cat by Colin Thompson

A picture book that is now out of print and hard if not impossible to find outside a library, it is another wonderful cat story depicting how easily life changes for ordinary people (and cats) during and after a war.  The illustrations are exquisite and really enhance the cat's experiences from a kitten to an old cat.  Another animal story that brings tears to my eyes.





9- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Narrated by Death, it is the story of a girl determined to read even as books are being censored and even burned by the Nazis, and the power of language to influence people's thinking, sometimes for the good, sometimes not for the good.







10- The Oppermanns by Lion (pronounced Leon) Feuchtwanger 

This is the first published novel describing what life was life for a Jewish family living in Berlin in 1933, the same year it was published, and is based on stories Feuchtwanger heard from people fleeing Nazi Germany.  It has a very definite feeling of immediacy to it, even now.





And one to grow on:

11- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The story of a friendship between two young women, one a spy, the other a pilot, during WWII.  This has one of the most wonderful unreliable narrators to come along since Salman Rushdie's Saleem in Midnight's Children.

24 comments:

  1. What a great list! I'm going to forward it to my kids' school.

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    1. Thanks, I could have added more but that list would go on forever. I am working on a bibliography,which I hope to finish soon.

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  2. This is wonderful! I'm doing a study of WW2 with my 6th grader this year. Thank you so much!

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    1. I am glad I could be of help. I always hope people will find this to be a useful teaching resource.

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  3. Thanks for this great list. What about Stryped Pajamas?

    Here's my
    Top Ten Books on Happiness.
    Please stop by!

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    1. I loved you TT Books on Happiness. I actually have read The Boy in the Stiped Pajamas and have seen the film, but have written about it yet. I really need to reread it first, but will definitely do it soon.

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  4. This is a great list, especially because I was looking for good WW2 books and now I have them. Thanks :)

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    1. These are some of my favorites, but there are so many good WW2 books its hard to decide sometimes. Glad this list is useful for you.

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  5. The Book Thief and Code Name Verity are a few of my favorite books ever! I will have to check these other books listed out because I am partial to World War II setting books.

    My TTT

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    1. Loved your TT list. The Book Thief and Code Name Verity are really great books, but I hope you do check out the others. Traitor was really good, too if you like tension filled stories.

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  6. The Book Thief is one of my all-time favorites. Will have to read the others on your list at some point. I will be posting my review of Code Name Verity soon...that book blew me away, it was so good!

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    1. I think The Book Thief is one of my all-time favorite WW2 books, too. I can't wait to read your review of Code Name Verity - I was also blown away by it and now I want to reread it this summer.

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  7. This is a really awesome list! It feels like I'm saying that everywhere (maybe because everyone had great ideas?) but seriously.. I'll have to read all of those books! :O

    Patricia // My Post

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    1. Thanks, I liked your list as well. Everyone does have great idea for this freebie, don't they? It was grand reading them all.

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  8. Such a wonderful choice for Top Ten Picks for today! I am going to add stuff from here!

    Here is my Top Ten post!

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    1. Thanks, and I hope you do add stuff because there are some many good books to include. I like your post, too.

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  9. I haven't read to WW2 books, but quite a few of these are on my list to read in the future - especially Blackout & Code Name Verity.

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    1. Blackout and Code Name Verity are so wonderful. If you like time travel books, Blackout and All Clear are among the best ever. Now I want to take all of these books on vacation with me and read the again.

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  10. I love this list! I've got some catching up to do since I've only read THE BOOK THIEF. Read THEN but not ONCE. I intend to own that series one of these days.

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    1. Once was just heart breaking, but so it Then. Now isn't as strong a book but I liked it alot. It is a series worth owning and yet I only own Then. I am going to have to remedy that. I like this list, too. I always wondered what I would include on a lst like this. Now I know, but I wish it could have been a top twenty list (but then I would probably wish for a top thirty list, and so on.)

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  11. What a fantastic list! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  12. I treated myself to a box set of Robert Westall paperback books after reading your review of the Machine Gunners. Blitzcat is my second favourite (after the machine gunners). Lots on this list I’ve not read so I’m going to print it and keep it for future reference. Thank you.

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  13. I've only read a few of these! Yoiks. I don't have time.....

    And now I'm wondering what would be on mine...Goodnight Mr. Tom, Not A Swan, In Spite of All Terror, A Town Like Alice....

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  14. I'm glad to hear that The Book Thief is in your favorites. It's been in my tbr pile for a while, so I should definitely move it up!

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