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September 21, 2011

World War II Comics: A Book List

Here is a list of graphic novels having to do with World War II.  I am not altogether sure how this list happened, except that World War II was a terrible kind of thing that made an impact on a lot of peoples' lives: therefore, books!

Alans War_rgb

Alan's War is probably the most gentle book you'll ever read about World War II: its protagonist, Alan Cope, kind of fell into war accidentally and never had much to do with it on the way, spending most of his wartime experience falling off things and traveling from one place to another.  This is an honest, quiet account of World War II that's not full of guns and bombs, but that's instead about one man's intellectual journey and the way the war influenced it. 


City of Spies is a fun adventure that's set in World War II-era New York.  When Evelyn discovers that there are Nazi spies in New York City, it's up to her to stop them -- with the help of codes, water balloons, and occasionally even cake! 


Maus is the seminal graphic novel about World War II.  I probably don't have to say any more about it, do I?  Spiegelman is doing a companion volume, Metamaus, that comes out this fall. 


Moving Pictures is about Nazi art theft during World War II, which is an especially cool thing to do a comic about (as comics have pictures in them themselves).  As usual, Stuart and Kathryn Immonen do a great job telling this story about art and identity. 


Resistance won a Sydney Taylor Honor for its portrayal of kids helping the French Resistance during World War II.  This story follows an entire family, and the difficulties -- and dimensions -- of being part of an occupied population during wartime. 

The Search

A Family Secret

The Search and A Family Secret are two books published by the Anne Frank House (and FSG) specifically with a teaching mission.  The books were created to bring an immediacy to the history of World War II for kids today, who don't have the I-know-someone-in-WWII that everyone last generation had.  It's a fascinating endeavor!

We Are On Our Own

We Are On Our Own is an autobiographical story of WWII written by Miriam Katin, whose career as an animator brings life and depth to this narrative about her escape (with her mother) from the Nazi invasion of Budapest.  She was only a toddler at the time, and her black and white palette with flashes of red conveys a portrait of what the emotional intensity of the time must have been like for a very young child. 

Next book list: fewer wars.


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I highly recommend TWO GENERALS by Scott Chantler. It relates the WWll experience of the author's grandfather, based on letters he wrote home to family. And I'd second the rec for BAREFOOT GEN, although I have not read all of the volumes yet.

Uh, there was a war in the Pacific, you know? Barefoot Gen?

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