Sunday, November 13, 2016

Books about wars

This week I seem to have fallen into a patch of books about wars.    Here are some that I thought were good.

The first one is a memoir or possibly a biography about a girl named Krystyna who grew up in Poland in the 1930s.  Her dad was the chief justice of an appellate court and her mother had degrees in chemistry and philosophy.  At first, they were fearful of the Germans but things really went badly when the Russians invaded.  Her father was persecuted and ran away and Krysia and her mother and brother were deported to Kazakhstan where they lived for a while and then went to Persia (which is now Iran), eventually emigrating to Zambia.  It would be good to connect this one to Ruta Septys' books-either "Between Shades of Gray" or "Salt to the Sea" which are also about people who were unwillingly relocated during World War 2.

The second one I read is a picture book called "Flowers for Sarajevo" by John McCutcheon.  It's told from the viewpoint of a little boy who's dad sells flowers in the market.  His dad gives flowers to different people during the day, including the grumpy spice merchant, Goran.  The boy's father leaves for the war and the boy carries on selling flowers.  One day, something terrible happens.  A bomb falls on the bakery where people were waiting in line to buy bread.  Twenty two people are killed and going back to the market is hard.  But a cellist comes and plays beautiful music and it seems to help people.  The art work in this book is gorgeous-the pictures are modern and friendly, focusing on the people in the pictures.  Kristy Caldwell did a great job matching the art work to the text.  There are some historical notes at the end as well as a song.  I think this book would be a great addition to any library.  

The last one is a non fiction book called "See American History World War II" by James Robertson and  Mort Kunstler.  It gives a well-organized overview of World War 2 with lots of what appear to be period art works.  The art work gives this book a lot of life and I think that's actually what  I liked best about it.  Mort Kunstler is an historical artist and I really liked the retro feel of it. link to his website.   The text has short chapters about different parts of the war and does a good job of giving a thorough overview of key battles (and not just in Europe) as well as some of the keys to the ending of the war.  This would be a great book for an elementary library where kids are just starting to learn about world wide conflicts.