Core Curriculum - Sixth Grade

European Influence/Industrial Revolution/WWI and WWII

Let the Celebrations Begin!
by Margaret Wild and Julie Vivas
A wonderful, thought provoking book of a child's life during the Holocaust. The line that tells it all-"Tell us about your pink elephant...For in this place there are no toys." The pictures are full of meaning and each page tells a little more about life in a concentration camp.

The Devil's Arithmetic
by Jane Yolen, National Jewish Book Award.
Modern day Hannah dreads going to her family's Jewish Passover Seder. Her relatives always tell the same stories. This time, however, Hannah is transported to a Polish village in the year 1942. She becomes a young Jewish girl named Chaya and experiences the horrors of a Nazi internment camp. Because she comes from today she understands the unspeakable horrors that await her. All the while she is unraveling the mystery of whom she really is and the age that she really comes from.

Stones In Water
by Donna Jo Napoli, ISBN: 0439087333, Scholastic
This story is loosely based on the true experiences of Guido Fullin during World War II. It is a graphic depiction of the historical events during the war when Italian boys were kidnapped and taken into Russia to serve as slaves to the Russians. It chronicles the experiences of brothers Roberto and Sergio, and friends Memo, Enzo, and Samuele, their Jewish friend. The boys had to really protect the knowledge from the Russians that Samuele was Jewish. The details of how they were treated, as well as how the Jews were treated were unsettling as the reader experiences the horrors of war and prejudice.

Behind the Secret Wall - A Memoir of a Hidden Childhood
by Nelly S. Toll
This is an extraordinary story of a young girl's wartime survival during WWII. It reads like a novel, but is a diary of Nelly's experiences as she sees her friends and family slowly disappear under Hitler's regime. She was Jewish, living in Poland, when the invasion began. Frankly, honest of what she does and does not remember, as well as what she does and does not understand, the story chronicles the Holocaust from the perspective of a child. To enhance the book even more are the incredible watercolor pictures she painted while in hiding. Instead of drawing the horrific side of war, Nelly painted beautiful pictures found only in her imagination. This is a 4 star book that should be read aloud and discussed while studying this time in history.

Hostage to War
by Tatjana Wassiljewa, translated by Anna Trenter
This is another unforgettable story of survival during Hitler's reign of terror. What makes this book unique is that this is the story of survival of a ten-year-old Russian girl, who not only survived German bombings and near starvation, but was then taken captive by the Germans, to become one of seven million prisoners forced to work in German farms and factories. Your heart will ache as you read of her Mom shaving pieces of wood, so they would have something to eat, or how they existed on warmed water for days at a time. This is an incredible story of survival, courage, and continual faith in humanity, while telling about the little-known struggle of Russian civilians during World War II.

Note: A must for a 6th grade class library.

The Story of D-Day
by Bruce Bliven, Jr.
This is an actual account by a survivor of the invasion of the coast of Normandy. Though definitely a major factor in determining the outcome of WWII, this invasion was years in the planning, and costly both in loss of military equipment, but in the loss of lives of the British, Canadian and American troops as they fought their way onto the coast of Nazi-controlled France. Graphic in detail, this book would probably be best if read in segments and discussed.

Note: It certainly points out the ugliness of war in words and actual photographs of the event as it was happening.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
by Judith Kerr
Though written as a story about Anna, a Jewish girl living in Berlin, it is actually based on the experiences of the author, Judith Kerr. It chronicles the story of the Hitler invasion, and the treatment towards the Jews. Anna first realizes her life is changing when her father disappears. The story tells of how she and he brother are forced to sneak out of the country, to be united with her family in Switzerland. Ultimately, her family is forced to live in several countries avoiding the Nazi's and the price placed on Anna's father's head. Anna learns the value of life as she struggles to learn several different languages and adjust to different customs while living life as a refugee. Though her family ultimately lost everything they had, Anna recognizes that the most important thing survived, and that was her family.

Note: A good classroom library book.

Daniel's Story
ISBN: 0590465880, Scholastic
Daniel barely remembers leading a normal life before the Nazis came to power in 1933. He can still picture once being happy and safe, but memories of those days are fading as he and his family face the dangers threatening Jews in Hitler's Germany in the late 1930's. No longer able to practice their religion, vote, own property, or even work, Daniel's family is forced from their home in Frankfurt and sent on a long and dangerous journey, first to the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and then to Auschwitz. Though many around him lose hope in the face of such terror, Daniel, supported by his courageous family, struggles for survival. He finds hope, life, and even love in the midst of despair.

Snow Treasure
by Marie McSwigan, ISBN 059003, Scholastic
Nazi troops have parachuted into Norway and the Norwegian's in the small town of Riswyk need to get the nine million dollars worth of gold out of town before the German's take control of it. The children of the town follow a dangerous plan by sledding the gold to Uncle Victor's ship where he will take it to the United States for safekeeping. Under the sharp eyes and bristling guns of Nazi sentries, they begin the daring rescue of the hidden gold. This is a thrilling tale of wartime courage that really happened.

Jacob's Rescue
by Malka Crucker and Michael Halperin, ISBN: 0440901065, Yearling
Jacob, an eight-year-old Jewish boy from Warsaw, Poland, slips through a hole in the ghetto wall and goes with Alex Roslan, a kind Christian man who agreed to be his new "uncle". The Roslan family, at the risk of their own lives, kept Jacob's identity as a Jew hidden. Every day of hiding meant a new danger and a threat of discovery. Jacob worried about his real family and longed to go to school and play outside like the Roslan children. The fear, the hunger, and the hardships brought Jacob closer to the Roslan Family-until at last they were able to begin a new chapter in their lives.

The Final Journey
by Gudrun Pausewang, ISBN: 0439056438, Scholastic
The slidingdoor of the railway truck closed and began Alice's journey. But where is she going? The men who come to her house to take Alice and her grandparents away in the middle of the night will only say that they are being taken to the east. At first Alice is excited-at last she will be allowed to play outside after being confined to the basement for so long, and maybe she will be reunited with her parents. But the train ride isn't at all what Alice expects. There are no seats or lavatories-only a dark, airless cattle car crammed with people. And as she gets to know her fellow passengers, Alice's eyes are opened to the facts of life, the horrors of death, and the terrifying truth about her final destination.

Note: Very graphic pictures are drawn of the atrocities of Nazi death camps. This is not a book for everyone.

Last Road to Safety: A True Story
by Peggy Mann, ISBN: 0021477981, McGraw-Hill
At the end of the 1930's Jews were trying to get out of Europe. One of the ways for Polish Jews to leave the country was through Romania. Where could they go? The only country that really wanted as many Jews as they could find was Israel. This is the story of Ruth and how she talked the King of Romania to allow their ship out of the dock in Romania and into Palestine. This is a true story. ˆ Number the Stars by Lois Lowry The bravery of the Danes in World War II to help the Jews and keep national pride is explored in this book. Ten-year old Annmarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen encounter Nazi soldiers as they go to and from school in Copenhagen in 1943. The Jews of Denmark are being "relocated" so Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be part of the family as the Danish underground comes to the rescue and removes the family to the safety of Sweden.

One More Border, The True Story of One Family's Escape from War-town Europe
by William Kaplan with Shelley Tanaka illustrations by Stephen Taylor
During World War II, as Nazi troops took over Europe, hundreds of thousands of Jews tried to flee Hitler's advance. The Kaplans, Igor, his little sister, Nomi, and their parents traveled three-quarters of the way around the world by train and ship, across Russia to Japan and finally to Canada. A gripping narrative is accompanied by sidebars, archival photographs and maps that help readers understand the story's historical and geographical context.

The Girl With the White Flag
by Tomiko Higa
Separated from her family in the confusion and horror of World War II, Tomiko Higa tells her own story of survival on the battlefields of Okinawa, Japan. Tomiko Higa was seven years old when she became separated from her family. This story is about how she desperately searched to find her lost sisters wondering throughout Okinawa during wartime. It is a gripping story of how a child could endure the horrible effects of war. She would open the knapsacks of dead soldiers for scraps of food, wander from cave to cave looking for her sisters, and take care of wounded people. Tomiko experiences death at every turn. Her descriptions are not bloody and gory, but she paints vivid pictures of the atrocities of war. Much discussion should follow this book. This is a powerful document as well as a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit.

G.I. Joe at D-Day
by James Kelley, ISBN: 0590149768, Scholastic
The Germans have taken over France. So now G.I. Joe is part of a top-secret mission. He and the army are going to free France on D-Day. It's a dangerous job. Many lives will be lost. But G.I. Joe and the troops are determined to win...whatever the cost.

G.I. Joe at Iwo Jima
ISBN: 0590149792, Scholastic
G.I. Joe and the Marines have a risky new assignment. They need to capture Iwo Jima and make the island safe for American planes to land. But Japanese troops are hiding everywhere-even inside a volcano. Can G.I. Joe and the marines raise the flag over Iwo Jima? Yes, but only through fierce fighting.

Anastasia's Album
by Hugh Brewster
This book is really a picture book with Anastasia's own words providing the captions for the pictures. Excellent research has gone into this book, giving the reader a private look into Anastasia's life as the youngest Tsar's daughter. The author carries the story along with a narrative of the history accompanying the pictures. Even knowing the history, it was difficult to read of the luxury of her early life to the tragic ending of her family and the reign of Tsar Nicholas II. Though this would be a good read aloud book, it should be read individually simply to enjoy the captivating photographs and accompanying photographs.

Europe Today

Kiss the Dust
by Elizabeth Laird, ISBN: 0140368558, Puffin
Tara Hawrami and her family, Kurds from Iraq, are forced to leave their homeland before Father is taken away. They flee to their mountain summer home only to be moved again. For months they are forced to live in a brutal refugee camp in Iran as father fights to get them passage on a plane bound for England. This book weaves compelling facts about the conflict between the Arabs and the Kurds and how hard it is to immigrant to a European country.

Vendela in Venice
by Christina Bjork Inga-Karin Eriksson, ISBN: 912964559X, R & S Books
Vendela has long been fascinated by Venice, the city where the streets are canals, the cars are boats, and the houses are palaces. Finally, her father takes her on a special spring trip to Venice. It turns out to be every bit as fairy-tale-like as promised. While there she discovers history, art, architecture, and stories of a fantastic city.


Turn of the Century
by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis, ISBN: 0439133742, Scholastic
A new millennium stretches before us. But the change of the millennium is also a time to look back over the last one thousand years to see how far we have come. This book shines a spotlight on eleven children living in England or America, each from a different century. It shows how the lives of children in the past were both similar to and different from those of children today.

Titanic Crossing
by Barbar Williams, ISBN: 0590944649, Scholastic
It was a ship bigger and better than anything the world had ever seen. Albert had been reading about the ocean liner shile he was staying in England. And now he had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to sail aboard the Titanic. It was the ship that would take him back home to America. However, the trip is not a safe one and Albert has to make a decision. A decision that might actually save his life.

City Through the Ages
by Philip Steele
This is the story of a city and of the people who built it. You will not find the city on any map, but there are many like it in the world today. Between modern building of glass and steel you may discover narrow streets built in the 1800s, or ruined town walls dating back to the Middle Ages. This timeline story is set in Western Europe.

The Vicious Vikings
by Terry Deary
The Vicious Vikings is packed with frightening facts about these vile invaders-and their savage Saxon enemies-from cruel kings and vengeful Viking warriors to the suffering slaves, the thralls. This book is a fun way to learn history.

Collecting World Stamps
ISBN: 1880592312, Pace Products, Inc.
This collection is put together in two parts. Part one explains what each part of a stamp means, how to acquire stamps, and how to determine their condition. Part two is an album where you can mount your stamps, and match their countries with the world flag sticker stamps in the kit.