In honour of Remembrance Day, Huron County Library staff have put together a list of notable new and favourite books that focus on some of the forgotten stories from the men, women, children (and animals) who fought and served during the First and Second World Wars. The full reading list can be found on our online catalogue.
Non-Fiction/Biography – The Dressmakers of Auschwitz by Lucy Adlington
A powerful chronicle of the twenty-five Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp inmates who used their sewing skills to survive the Holocaust by stitching beautiful clothes at an extraordinary fashion workshop, the Upper Tailoring Studio. Established by Hedwig Höss, the camp commandant’s wife, these women were forced to produce fashionable garments for Nazi wives to wear to SS functions in the hopes it would save them from the gas chambers.
Fiction – The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
A vividly written historical fiction account based on the real life of Russian history student turned sniper, Mila Pavlichenko. Dubbed ‘Lady Death,’ Mila racked up 309 official kills before being sent to America as part of a Soviet delegation trying to garner American support on the Eastern front.
Fiction – Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson
An incredible debut historical fiction novel about the true story of the Six Triple Eight, the only all-Black battalion of the Women’s Army Corps, who made the dangerous voyage to Europe to ensure American servicemen received word from their loved ones during World War II.
Fiction – Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey by Kathleen Rooney
An extremely interesting look at the role homing pigeons played during World War I written from the perspective of one of the most famous of them all, Cher Ami, a real bird who was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with palm for his heroic service.
Young Adult Fiction – Great or Nothing by Joy McCullough, Caroline Tung Richmond, Tess Sharpe & Jessica Spotswood
A creative YA reimagining of the Little Women sisters told from their individual perspectives as America enters the War in 1942. A different author writes each sister in this heartwarming coming of age story told both in prose and verse.
Middle Grade Book – Louisa June and the Nazis in the Waves by Laura Elliott
A moving middle grade novel that highlights the efforts of an ordinary fishing family as they help to spot German U-boats off the East Coast after America joins the War in 1942. A great look at the way the War affected Americans on the home front and the ways they helped the cause.
Middle Grade Book – Hidden on the High Wiare by Kathy Kacer
As the Nazis come to power in Germany and her father is taken away, a young Jewish high wire performer and her mother are forced to hide in plain sight traveling around with a new circus during World War II.
Middle Grade Book – Just a Girl by Lia Levi
An award-winning memoir translated from Italian to English and adapted for young readers follows the life of Lia Levi, a Jewish Italian girl who grew up during a difficult time of racial discrimination and war, and discovered light in unexpected places during World War II.
Picture Book – Sergeant Billy by Mireille Messier
This charming true story follows Sergeant Billy from his small prairie town to the trenches of World War I and back, through harrowing moments, sad moments, moments of camaraderie and moments of celebration.
Picture Book – Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick
A picture book about real life Captain Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian who rescued a bear cub on his way to Europe and took her with him during World War I.