The following four picture books provide a gentle World War II introduction for preK to third grade children.
Anna's Goat describes how a family makes due with less during the war.
The Butterfly addresses the issue of discrimination against the Jewish people when a young girl finds another young girl her family is hiding in the basement.
Lisette's Angel - On D-Day one paratrooper landed in Lisette's yard and became her hero.
Boxes for Katje - Once the war was over, people of Europe still lacked many basic items available to people in America. Katje was overjoyed to receive chocolate and soap.
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot - After the war the country of Germany was split into east and west. When the Russians attempted to take the entire country, a humanitarian mission to feed the people of west Berlin began. It lasted 15 months and involved non-stop flights into the city of Berlin. Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot tells the story of the Berlin Airlift.
Normandie and D-Day
D-Day was the day the allies arrived in mainland Europe in an enormous coordinated effort to take the region back. Five large groups of soldiers crossed the English Channel from England and landed at five separate locations on the coast of Normandie; Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold, Juno and Sword.
The day was chosen based on the condition of the tides. In order for the troops to get their landing gear as close as possible to shore an extremely high tide during the early morning hours was desired. The weather needed to cooperate as well. President Eisenhower made the decision to proceed as the next possible landing date was about one month away. Landing vehicles which could go on land and water were used to bring the troops to shore and the weather did prove to be a problem. The heavy rains caused navigation and communication issues as well as delays which gave the enemy time to prepare for the attack.
Between the major landing sites were locations captured by small groups of soldiers and special forces. Point-Du-Hoc is located between Utah and Omaha Beach and within firing range of both.
While solders were invading the beaches, paratroopers and other special forces were being dropped in to launch attacks from the rear.
After the beaches were taken, construction of two harbors necessary to bring tanks and other military equipment ashore was begun. Unfortunately, one harbor was destroyed by a storm shortly after construction. However, the other, at Arromanches, survived, and parts of it are visible today.
The harbors contained a semicircle of concrete blocks. The remains of three can be seen in the background of this photo. The spaces between the visible blocks would also have contained blocks.
The French are still grateful for the allies who changed their destiny on D-Day - June 6, 1944. American, British and Canadian flags fly in great quantities throughout the region. Local families adopt some of the grave sites and have been known to treat visiting relatives like the heros their ancestors were.
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