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Books about World War II

Hitler's Canary

War can be a difficult subject for children to understand properly, especially the conflict of the Second World War.

From classic favourites to more recent titles, these books for children and teenagers take a variety of different approaches to representing the events of World War II.

Read our list of children's books about the Holocaust

See our list of books on World War I

  • Hitler's Canary

    Author: Sandi Toksvig

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Hitler's Canary

    Author: Sandi Toksvig

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    Hitler's Canary, ultimately, is about the courage and heroism of ordinary citizens in a time of danger and strife.

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  • Once

    Author: Morris Gleitzman

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Once

    Author: Morris Gleitzman

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 9+

    Morris Gleitzman brings heart and humour to the difficult subject of the Holocaust in this ground-breaking children's book.

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  • The Silver Sword

    Author:

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • The Silver Sword

    Author:

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    In the chaos of World War II, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are separated from their parents, and left alone to fend for themselves, hidin…

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  • A Berlin Love Song

    Author:

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

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  • A Berlin Love Song

    Author:

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

    Lili Petalo is a trapeze artist in her family's circus. Max Hartmann is a member of the Hitler Youth, about to be recruited into t…

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  • Anne Frank

    Author: Josephine Poole Illustrator: Angela Barrett

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Anne Frank

    Author: Josephine Poole Illustrator: Angela Barrett

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 8+

    This account of the Nazi persecution of the Jews and Anne Frank's family's hiding in a secret annexe to escape them, is sensitivel…

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  • Tail-end Charlie

    Author: Mick Manning & Brita Granstrom

    Interest level: 7+

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Tail-end Charlie

    Author: Mick Manning & Brita Granstrom

    Interest level: 7+

    Reading age: 7+

    Mick Manning has carefully recreated the hair-raising tales his father told him about life as an RAF tail-gunner during the Second…

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  • Dead End Kids

    Author: Bernard Ashley

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Dead End Kids

    Author: Bernard Ashley

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

    Closely based on historical fact, Bernard Ashley has created another gripping account of wartime London.

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  • Ausländer

    Author: Paul Dowswell

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • Ausländer

    Author: Paul Dowswell

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

    Ausländer gives a fascinating insight into life in Berlin during WorldWar II – a perspective not frequently portrayed i…

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  • Goodnight Mister Tom

    Author: Michelle Magorian

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Goodnight Mister Tom

    Author: Michelle Magorian

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 10+

    Willie Beech, a lonely and deprived child, is evacuated to a tiny English village just before the  Second World War, and find…

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  • Skyward

    Author: Sally Deng

    Interest level: 7-11

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Skyward

    Author: Sally Deng

    Interest level: 7-11

    Reading age: 7+

    This slightly fictionalised version of the experiences of female pilots in World War Two is a fascinating read in terms of untold …

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  • Code Name Verity

    Author: Elizabeth Wein

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

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  • Code Name Verity

    Author: Elizabeth Wein

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 14+

    Two young women become unlikely best friends during WWII, until one is captured by the Gestapo...

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  • Duty Calls: Dunkirk

    Author: James Holland

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Duty Calls: Dunkirk

    Author: James Holland

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9+

    The exciting story of a teenage recruit who finds himself caught up in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in 1940.

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  • The Messenger Bird

    Author: Ruth Eastham

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • The Messenger Bird

    Author: Ruth Eastham

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 9+

    The Messenger Bird is an exciting adventure story with a twist, and will be particularly enjoyed by anyone who is interested in hi…

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  • Hero on a Bicycle

    Author: Shirley Hughes

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • Hero on a Bicycle

    Author: Shirley Hughes

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 11+

    The first novel from much-loved author and illustrator Shirley Hughes is a thrilling and moving story about a boy and his bicycle,…

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  • That Burning Summer

    Author: Lydia Syson

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • That Burning Summer

    Author: Lydia Syson

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    In the long hot summer of 1940, planes are doing battle over the channel, and the south coast of England is braced for a German in…

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  • Hitler's Angel

    Author: William Osborne

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Hitler's Angel

    Author: William Osborne

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 10+

    In the summer of 1941, two displaced teenagers, one German, one Austrian, are recruited by the British government for a secret mis…

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  • Death Match

    Author: Andy Croft Illustrator: Bob Moulder

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Death Match

    Author: Andy Croft Illustrator: Bob Moulder

    Interest level: 11+

    Reading age: 8+

    During the occupation of Ukraine in World War II, players from what had been the Dynamo Kiev football team set themselves up as St…

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  • My Brother's Keeper

    Author: Tom and Tony Bradman

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • My Brother's Keeper

    Author: Tom and Tony Bradman

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    Alfie's story has obvious subject appeal for boys and the length is enticing for reluctant readers, but this neat little story man…

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