Wednesday, January 25, 2012

World War II in elementary school

On 1/19/12, I spoke at Stonehouse Elementary in Williamsburg, VA, a town home to events significant to the American Revolution. After, as I was leaving, a fourth grade boy asked my host, the school librarian, for a book on another war, World War II. (Actually, he asked for “another” WWII book.)

Because of my (still-in-progress) efforts to get my WWII nonfiction picture book manuscript Thirty Minutes Over Oregon published, this lifted my spirit and reconfirmed what I’ve been saying: WWII is a topic both appropriate for and of interest to students in upper elementary. (Mine is not the first picture book written about a WWII incident, though given the resistance from some editors, sometimes it feels like it is.)

Even better, the librarian told me it’s not just this boy; the subject is wildly popular with many of her students—and it’s not yet a topic in the classroom. In other words, just because a subject is not on the curriculum (how you doin’, Boys of Steel) doesn’t mean kids don’t and can’t learn about it in school.


John said...

I remember Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo being hugely popular with the boys at my grade school. I wonder if you'd find that in an elementary school library these days?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

John, do you mean the film, or was there also a book? What state and what time period was this (meaning your elementary school experience, not the events of TSOT!)?

John said...

The book on which the film was based. This was in Wheaton, Illinois, in the mid- to late-70s. I suppose it was Mrs. Baker's go-to book when kids said they were interested in books about World War II.

Chris W said...

I'm certain I read several dozen books about WWII in my elementary school days. Many of them, including Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, were from the Landmark series of history books, which were plentiful in libraries in the 80s at least.

I figure many kids have been exposed to WWII through recent video games like Call Of Duty, so I'm sure there's still some interest in the topic.