Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pearl Harbor: the Homefront during WWII

On this day in 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, drawing the US into WWII. Today, we look at books about life on the homefront.


Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher. In the early days of WWII, Ruby gets a job as a taxi dancer, where lonely men pay ten cents to dance with the women. It's not a respectable job, and through Ruby's eyes, the reader sees a different side of Chicago.

Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury. Eddy lies about his age to the joint he army, but after Pearl Harbor, he and the other Japanese-American soldiers are taken to Mississippi to be bait to train attack dogs because Japanese people supposedly smell differently.

Homefront by Doris Gwaltney. Margaret Ann is excited for her sister to go to college so she can have her room. But the war in Europe means that her cousin and aunt have come to stay. Courtney gets the newly opened room. Courtney gets to sit next to Daddy at dinner. Bobby likes Courtney better. But after Pearl Harbor, Margaret Ann's brother enlists and the war is suddenly very real and close to home, allowing both girls to understand each other a little better.


Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. There are some who will give a black person a pilot's license. There are some who will give a woman a pilot's license, but none that will give one to a black woman. Ida can fly and it's all she wants to do, so when the Army wants female pilots fo fly at home, she passes as white so she can have a chance to serve. She loves to fly, but how long can she keep her true identity a secret?

Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis. Octavia and Tali are not happy about having to go on a road-trip with Mare, their grandmother who refuses to act her age. But they learn to see a different side to Mare as she tells them of how ran away from home and lied about her age to join an African American regiment in the WAC during WWII.

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene. Patty is Jewish and is conflicted when she befriends a Nazi who has escaped from the WWII POW camp in her small Arkansas town.


The Ultimate Weapon: The Race to Develop the Atomic Bomb by Edward T. Sullivan. Sullivan's history of the making of the bomb differs from others in that he remembers that Los Alamos wasn't the only lab and that nothing would have been possible without the work at Oak Ridge and Hanford-- both sites that Sullivan gives their due.

The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter. Beryl struggles with always being left behind as she sees one more friend, relative, or neighbor off at the train station nearly every night--some of whom she will never see again. She drops out of school to work in an airplane factory and tries to go on with life, despite rations, black-outs, and no boys left to date.

Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion by Samantha Seiple. On June 7, 1942, Japan invaded Alaska. On June 10, 1942, the U.S. Navy denied that it happened. This terrifying book looks at a little known story of when Japan invaded the Aleutian islands and took many local villagers as POWs. The American Army then took the remaining Native residents to an internment camp "for their protection."

For more books about WWII, look at our other lists about Europe in WWII, Asia in WWII, and the Bomb. What other homefront books would you add?

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