Saturday, March 7, 2015

World War II Picture Books for Young Kids

World War II was a terrible time in history. Many people died and countries were destroyed. Without going into too much detail, young children can begin to learn about the war through picture books. We are lucky enough to live a few hours drive from Normandie, and visiting D-Day sights is another good way for children to learn about this terrible war.

Picture Books

The following four picture books provide a gentle World War II introduction for preK to third grade children.

Anna's Goat describes how a family makes due with less during the war. 
The Butterfly addresses the issue of discrimination against the Jewish people when a young girl finds another young girl her family is hiding in the basement.

Lisette's Angel - On D-Day one paratrooper landed in Lisette's yard and became her hero.

Boxes for Katje - Once the war was over, people of Europe still lacked many basic items available to people in America. Katje was overjoyed to receive chocolate and soap.

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot - After the war the country of Germany was split into east and west. When the Russians attempted to take the entire country, a humanitarian mission to feed the people of west Berlin began. It lasted 15 months and involved non-stop flights into the city of Berlin. Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot tells the story of the Berlin Airlift.

Normandie and D-Day

D-Day was the day the allies arrived in mainland Europe in an enormous coordinated effort to take the region back. Five large groups of soldiers crossed the English Channel from England and landed at five separate locations on the coast of Normandie; Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold, Juno and Sword.

Omaha Beach

The day was chosen based on the condition of the tides. In order for the troops to get their landing gear as close as possible to shore an extremely high tide during the early morning hours was desired. The weather needed to cooperate as well. President Eisenhower made the decision to proceed as the next possible landing date was about one month away. Landing vehicles which could go on land and water were used to bring the troops to shore and the weather did prove to be a problem. The heavy rains caused navigation and communication issues as well as delays which gave the enemy time to prepare for the attack.

Today a large American cemetery stands at Omaha Beach which contains over 9000 men and women who died during the D-Day invasions and battles which occurred in the weeks following.


Point-Du-Hoc

Between the major landing sites were locations captured by small groups of soldiers and special forces. Point-Du-Hoc is located between Utah and Omaha Beach and within firing range of both.

The opposition had several concrete firing platform/bunkers at Point-Du-Hoc, and at the main landing sites, and all along the coast of France. The weapons were housed on the top floor and fired through small windows. Underneath many bunkers contained two or three master bedroom sized chambers for housing men and ammunition.

Since Point-Du-Hoc was well fortified and within firing range of two of the main landing beaches, a special unit was sent to capture it. Of the 225 men given the mission, only 90 survived. Before and during the mission the site was heavily bombed. The path in the photo above curves around an ammunition crater hole.

This photo shows the landscape riddled with crater holes and the remains of bunkers in various states of construction.

Capturing Point-Du-Hoc was an especially difficult task due to the geography of the land. Special ladders which could hook into the cliff tops were fired and while the men climbed, ships continued to fire at the opposition.

Paratroopers

While solders were invading the beaches, paratroopers and other special forces were being dropped in to launch attacks from the rear.

One especially famous paratrooper got hung up on a church steeple. Unfortunately his arrival was quickly noticed due to a nearby fire in the town. He was captured, but later escaped and continued fighting for the allies.

One window in the church was dedicated to the paratrooper.

In conjunction with the soldiers landing on the beaches and the paratroopers dropping in from the air, gliders were sent in loaded with men ready to fight. They were towed behind W-7 airplanes with a stout rope which can be seen coiled under the front of this glider. Once over France, the ropes were released and the wood and vinyl gliders sometimes crashed into trees and hedgerows, and sometimes landed safely.

Arromanches Dock

After the beaches were taken, construction of two harbors necessary to bring tanks and other military equipment ashore was begun. Unfortunately, one harbor was destroyed by a storm shortly after construction. However, the other, at Arromanches, survived, and parts of it are visible today.

The harbors contained a semicircle of concrete blocks. The remains of three can be seen in the background of this photo. The spaces between the visible blocks would also have contained blocks.

One main dock complete with rails, and a second were constructed to offload supplies and personnel. The sunken remains of one is visible above.


This is a refurbished portion of a linking dock section.

The French are still grateful for the allies who changed their destiny on D-Day - June 6, 1944. American, British and Canadian flags fly in great quantities throughout the region. Local families adopt some of the grave sites and have been known to treat visiting relatives like the heros their ancestors were.




* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the book recommendations. My oldest is getting interested in the war, so I am trying to find chapter books that are appropriate for his emotional level while also not being too childish.

    I am rather jealous of your access to the Normandy Beaches.....they are on my "someday" list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The book recommendations are excellent. My children and I had the opportunity to read a few of them the last time through modern history, and they were perfect for young readers.

    One day I'd love to visit the Normandy Beaches in France. What a wonderful field trip for your family! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is great! Pinning to my WWII board,thanks for sharing at FTF!!

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...