I constantly use children’s books to teach important social studies content, and World War Two is no exception. Here are my top WW2 picture books that are engaging, and full of important vocabulary and discussion points for students. This post contains affiliate links. Not yet teaching World War Two? Click here for my list of World War One picture books!
1. The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren
The Whispering Town brings to light some of the events of the Holocaust for children, and how it affected different families in Europe. I found that many WW2 picture books focused only on the war itself, and not on the effects of events like The Holocaust, so this picture book is perfect for that. This children’s book tells the story of a family sheltering another Jewish family during the Holocaust. The illustrations are awesome! Click here to check it out.
2. The Spy Who Played Baseball by Carrie Jones
I absolutely LOVE this one. First, it’s about a spy and baseball so students will automatically be interested. This children’s book is based on a true story about a Jewish boy that plays baseball but then enlists as a spy during World War Two. He eventually gathers information that helps defeat the Nazis. The plot of this one is fantastic, and it’s a story that your students won’t forget! Click here to snag a copy.
3. Benno and the Night of Broken Glass by Meg Wiviott
Benno and the Night of Broken Glass is another children’s book that I love to use for The Holocaust. It depicts a neighborhood cat witnessing The Night of Broken Glass. It’s super kid-appropriate but gives an amazing perspective and insight into what families went through that night. The point of view in this one is so cool, and it brings up some great discussion points for children. Click here to see it!
4. Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story by Joseph Bruchac
This one is great because it brings to light an aspect of World War Two that many students aren’t familiar with. It tells the story of a Navajo boy who is recruited by the U.S. Marines to help with code creation and code-breaking during WW2. My students love this one, and it always has them asking questions about codes during the war and code-breaking! Click here to check it out.
5. You Wouldn’t Want to Be a World War II Pilot! by Ian Graham
This is more of a fun one, but the pictures are fantastic and it has tons of fun facts for kids! It allows the reader to become the main character and examines the dangers and excitement of being a fighter jet pilot during WW2. Click here to snag a copy.