Posts Tagged 'World War II'

Elephant Run by Roland Smith


Genre:  Historical fiction

# of pages:  318 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award 2010

Nick Freestone is living with his mother in London during 1941.  When the blitz begins she sends him to live with his dad in Burma, only life isn’t much better there as the Japanese invade his father’s plantation.  Nick is held captive and forced to work as a slave and his father is sent to a prison camp.  Mya, a native girl whose family has always worked the plantation, is trapped as a slave with Nick because her brother has been sent to a prison camp as well.  When life begins to get worse for them on the plantation they decide to make a clever, but risky escape attempt in order to save Nick’s father and Mya’s brother.

Roland Smith always does a nice job of telling unique stories from different cultural places and times.  Elephant Run is no exception as Smith delves into WWII from an angle many adults and students do not usually hear about.  The invasion of Burma by the Japanese will be interesting to young readers studying this time or who just like adventure books.  The cultural aspects of life in Burma are described well and the characters are well developed.  A very unique adventure story that will keep Roland Smith fans coming back to find out what he will write about next.   

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy

Genre:  Historical fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  227

RAC Book:  yes

This story, told in poetry form, follows one of the twelve children rescued from the Lodz Jewish ghetto during WWII.  The author is related to this woman who became one of the few children who managed to survive during a time when children were considered a nuisance and expendable.  It is important for students to hear these true stories of life in the ghetto and how she managed to survive such brutal attacks on her family and neighbors. 

One main reason why she survived the war was her father.  Her father was very astute, observant, and not afraid to try risky tactics.  His bravery saved his family and many others from a certain death and once the war was over he never spoke of it again.  Instead, he went on to live a normal life as if he had never done these heroic things to save his family. 

This story tells not only of what the ghettos were like during this time, but also of family, friendship, and being willing to stick up for yourself and what’s right even if it is difficult.  Any student who reads this will be able to get something out of it sheerly because they will respond to the fact that it is a true story.  Recommended.