WWII Books Set on America’s Home Front for Kids

On many book lists about WWII, most books were set in Europe. Here are books for kids that take place on America’s Home Front and England’s Home Front.

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WWII Books Set on America’s Home Front for Kids

Often, books set during World War II take place in Europe. There are still many great books set in America during the war. Here are a few of my favorites.

Who Was? Series

Lilly’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff

Growing up on the home front, ten-year-old Lily has a perfect life. Until her father is drafted. Sent away to live with her grandmother, Lily meets young refugee, Albert, and the two become friends. Conflict centers on Lily’s bad habit: lying. Patricia Reilly Giff is a very talented writer and how Lily’s story unfolds is both interesting and unique.

Willow Run by Patricia Reilly Giff

Willow Run was a real factory in Michigan during WWII that manufactured B-24 Liberator bombers. In this fictional story, it is the place 11-year-old Meggie has to live after her father gets a job there. Her brother is in the army and her uncle is German, making him a target for bullies. Meggie is a relatable, very real character with struggles, dreams, and fears – making this great for middle schoolers.

Nanea: An American Girl series by American Girl

Nanea is a nine-year-old girl living in Hawaii when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Nanea’s a newer American Girl and her story brings light to the war on the Pacific.

Molly: An American Girl Series by American Girl

Follow Molly through life on the Home Front in this series. She goes through the normal things that girls her age do but also deals with war-related disappointments and success. Along with her six main books, Molly has mysteries too.

Welcome to Molly’s World by American Girl

This is a book all about the American life during WWII for any Molly McIntire fan or any introduction to WWII! This book explores every aspect of life a 10-year-old would have had during the second world war.

Voices at Whisper Bend by Katherine Ayers

The war not only affects those fighting it, but also the families involved and bystanders watching. Charlotte and her friends put together a metal drive for her father’s mill delivery service, but some of the metal is stolen. Follow her as she investigates in this wartime mystery. 

I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by Lauren Tarshis

This book describes the severity of this historical moment from a unique perspective and in a way that kids can follow along. Follow eleven-year-old, Danny Crane as he navigates life through and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

A Boy At War by Harry Mazer

Adam understands that war is a part of his life, especially with his father being a part of it. Although, he doesn’t understand the severity of it until his father’s ship sinks during the Pearl Harbor attacks. This book gives an overview of life in Honolulu during this time and what the war looked like for the people there. 

Code Word Courage by Kirby Larson

Billie’s parents are absent and now her brother is headed off to the war front. Although, before he leaves, they have one more weekend to spend together. He brings Denny, a fellow Marine home with him and Billie is immediately attached to Denny’s dog, Bear. When the time comes for her brother and Denny to head out, Billie struggles, but she now has Bear. Read along as she takes in what this war really means, how she’s affected by it, and how she copes.

Early Sunday Morning by Barry Denenberg (Dear America)

Amber Billows is a young girl who experiences the attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath. I haven’t read this particular one, but based on other books in the Dear America series, I’d recommend it for ages 12+.

My Secret War by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)

Written by the author of the Magic Tree House series, this story tells thirteen-year-old Madeline’s story. Madeline’s father is stationed in the Pacific, and she and her mother try to make the best of it buy selling war bonds and aiding the war effort. After a series of mysterious events, Madeline alerts the FBI, which results in the arrest of four Nazi agents.

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

Learn about what it meant to be a part of the Navajo code talkers, an essential part of the second world war through sixteen-year-old Ned’s story. This part of the war was kept confidential for years and years afterward. This book allows readers to learn about the code talkers and their important role as well as understand the war itself. 

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ten-year-old Ada and her brother Jamie are taken from their abusive mother and sent to live in the country with a woman named Susan. This story is set in England, but still offers perspectives of life on the Home Front. Because of some content issues (including subtle hints of lesbianism and themes of child abuse and neglect), this one is only recommended for grades 6+. This was a Newbery Honor. Its sequel, The War I Finally Won, is equally as well-written without the content issues.

The Fences Between Us by Kirby Larson (Dear America)

Piper Davis journals life in America during WWII, from the horrific attacks on Pearl Harbor to Japanese incarceration. 

Foster’s War by Carolyn Reeder

Foster’s War tackles several different themes. Eleven-year-old Foster Simmons’ brother is sent off to war. On the Home Front, Foster must learn to deal with his abusive father.

Japanese Internment during WWII

Farewell to Manzanar by James Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki

Oftentimes, the Japanese internment camps are overshadowed by the Nazi concentration camps. In this memoir, we learn of one girl’s story before, during, and after the camps.

Dash by Kirby Larson

Mitsi Kashino’s life changed after the attack on Pearl Harbor, but when her family is incarcerated, she becomes separated from her beloved dog Dash. Will Mitsi and Dash be reunited?

Best Friends Forever: A WWII Scrapbook by Beverly Patt

Louise, a German-American 14-year-old is best friends with Dottie Masuoka, who is leaving for the Japanese internment camp. She decides to make a scrapbook for her and together they share their different war experiences in one book that inspires so many. 

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Ten-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family’s life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It’s 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea and join other Japanese Americans at a prison camp in the desert. Manami is sad to go, but even worse is that they are going to have to give her and her grandfather’s dog, Yujiin, to a neighbor to take care of. 

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

In a graphic novel form, this autobiographical memoir is written by Star Trek star George Takei. As a child, he spent several years in a Japanese internment camp. The illustrations are sharp and the text is powerful and purposeful. This story was excellent and a must-read for middle school and up.

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