All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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War Stories

This list includes books in a range of genres — memoir, biography, graphic novel, historical fiction, even science fiction — that explore the Civil War, the Iraq War, and World War II. From Japanese Americans in internment camps, to soldiers on the frontlines, to families on the homefront, to civilians in the line of fire, a range of perspectives is represented.

Private Peaceful

Private Peaceful

Age Level: 14-16

When Thomas Peaceful lies about his age to join the service, he could meet his demise, but not in the way that you think.

Safe Area Gorazde : War in Eastern Bosnia, 1992-1995

Safe Area Gorazde : War in Eastern Bosnia, 1992-1995

Age Level: 16-18

This graphic novel beautifully captures both the horrors of war and the traces of normalcy that can endure amongst the carnage.

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down

Age Level: 16-18

The story of the invasion and chaotic pullout of troops from Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 will appeal to those who like military stories. Bowden provides plenty of action and raises difficult questions about U.S. foreign and military policy.

The Totally Made-Up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish

The Totally Made-Up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish

Age Level: 9-12

As 5th grade Amanda is going through the stress of her parents' separation, she's given an interesting school assignment: to write a diary as if she were a Civil War character. Amanda's personal story intertwines with the historical journal of "Polly," providing an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast.

Flygirl

Flygirl

Age Level: 12-14

During World War II, an African-American woman named Ida decides to pass as white in order to become a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot). The book focuses on the lives and adventures of these pilots, making it a fast-paced, lively read. Though there is no official record of an African-American in the WASPS, the other historical details are accurate and informative.

Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-year old GI

Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-year old GI

Age Level: 14-16

Ryan Smithson was in high school on September 11, 2001, but the events of that day made him determined to join the military. Here, in his own, sometimes unpolished but always authentic words, he tells of the joys, fears, even boredom of being stationed in Iraq as an army engineer.

Heart of a Shepherd

Heart of a Shepherd

Age Level: 9-12

Though war is not the focus of this story, it does drive the plot. When young Brother's father is shipped off to Iraq, he must assume more responsibility on the family farm. This is a unique, spiritual book that will appeal to those looking for gentle reads.

Sunrise Over Fallujah

Sunrise Over Fallujah

Age Level: 16-18

Robin believes in his country and volunteers to fight in Iraq, but when he arrives in the war zone he realizes that fighting for freedom is not always black and white.

Eyes of the Emperor

Eyes of the Emperor

Age Level: 14-16

Japanese Americans in Hawaii during World War II identified themselves as Americans, but their fellow enlisted soldiers didn't necessarily see them that way. In this historical novel, Eddy and his friends join the Army to defend their country, only to be the victims of vicious discrimination by their commanders.

How I Live Now

How I Live Now

Age Level: 14-16

Daisy is a spoiled American teen with plans to spend the summer in England with her aunt and cousins at their farmhouse. While her aunt is away, an unnamed country invades England, and soldiers take over the farmhouse. Lacking adult guidance, Daisy must stop thinking of herself and take responsibility for her young cousins. This novel won both the Printz Award (U.S.) and the Guardian Children's Fiction Award (U.K.).