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War and peace

anderson_symphony for the city of the deadAnderson, M. T.  Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
Middle school, high school
     424 pp.     Candlewick

This ambitious work encompasses the life of composer Shostakovich, the early political history of the U.S.S.R., and the nation’s suffering during WWII. Initially inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution, Shostakovich’s music changed during Stalin’s Reign of Terror. The centerpiece is his Leningrad Symphony, which offered both catharsis and hope. Extensive black-and-white photographs help define the wide (and somewhat unwieldy) range of subjects and settings. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Modern History; Composers; Shostakovich, Dmitri; Russia; History, Modern—World War II; Music; Stalin, Joseph; Soviet Union; Biographies

war_bodden_9-11 terror attacksBodden, Valerie  The 9/11 Terror Attacks
Middle school, high school
     80 pp.     Creative Education

Bodden, Valerie  The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Middle school, high school
     80 pp.     Creative Education

Bodden, Valerie  The Holocaust
Middle school, high school
     80 pp.     Creative Education

Odysseys in History series. This competent series examines major events in world history with a focus on context and aftermath. Bodden deftly zooms in and out on the relevant historical and cultural details surrounding each event, creating a clear and extremely accessible account of complex topics. Well-chosen photographs, sidebars, and pull quotes complement the even-handed prose. Glossy, attractive page design adds further appeal. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Modern History; September 11 terrorist attacks, 2001; Terrorism; History, American; Atomic bomb; Bombings; History, Modern—World War II; Hiroshima (Japan); Nagasaki (Japan); History, Modern—Holocaust; Nazism

war_humphreys_child soldierHumphreys, Jessica Dee and Michel Chikwanine  Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War
Gr. 4–6, middle school
     48 pp.     Kids Can

Illustrated by Claudia Dávila. This sophisticated graphic memoir is an important and accessible testimony by Chikwanine, who at age five was kidnapped by rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo and forced to be a child solider. The panels ably contrast Michel’s happy early years, his horrific captivity, his escape, and the future time when his family members become political refugees. Excellent back matter includes action ideas. Websites.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Child soldiers; Graphic novels; Cartoons and comics; Autobiographies; Soldiers; Congo (Democratic Republic); War; Kidnapping; Canada; Refugees

war_kerley_brave like meKerley, Barbara  Brave like Me
Gr. K–3
     48 pp.     National Geographic

This expansively designed book tells the stories of parents deployed in the armed forces — and of the worries and coping strategies of the children left behind. Told in a child’s voice, the text is comforting; photographs of children Skyping with their absent parent, sending pictures and letters, and doing their part around the house reinforce that life goes on. The final reunion scenes are uplifting.
Subjects: War; Soldiers; Family—Parent and child; Modern History

war_skrypuch_last airliftSkrypuch, Marsha Forchuk  Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War
Gr. 4–6     110 pp.     Pajama Press

In 1975 Saigon, missionaries evacuated vulnerable disabled orphans who would be killed; Tuyet, eight, lame from polio, helps get over fifty tiny orphans flown to Canada, where she shows new caregivers how to comfort them. Skrypuch’s third-person re-creation of these transitional months makes vivid the uncertainties of confronting a new language, climate, and family. Illustrated with photos. Reading list, websites. Ind.
Subjects: Modern History; Disabilities, Physical; Vehicles—Airplanes; Canada; Orphans; History, Modern—Vietnam War; Vietnam; Diseases—Polio; Immigration; Missionaries

From the May 2016 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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