We focused our World War II reading this week on D-Day. For Tapestry of Grace Year 4 Week 15, the focus is more on the Holocaust. We did read some books related to this subject and listened to Focus on the Family Radio Theater's production of The Hiding Place . This was a great approach for our family. The kids love to listen to audio books and without the visual images the impact of the horror is softened a bit for young and sensitive hearts.
One thing we enjoy about using Tapestry of Grace to guide our history studies is going to the library and checking out a pile of books on whatever topic we are studying. We use the TOG reading list, but it is always nice to have other books around that are on the same subject. We did this for World War II and found two books that we never would have otherwise (since they are out of print).
First, when we learned about the Battle of Britain, we enjoyed reading aloud from Quentin Reynolds' The Battle of Britain. Written mid-century by a former war correspondent, the book is aimed at boys who were probably reading about the war their fathers fought in. There is nothing like a first-hand narrative and Reynolds delivers with his description of riding along in a merchant convoy meant to lure German Stuka bombers into the Channel. The Stukas arrived as expected, but just as they dove down to drop their bombs, Spitfires dropped down out of the sky and came to the rescue. Lane was hanging on every word. He loved that the ship convoy was called "Bacon" because bacon is a common fishing bait for Channel fisherman.
"Mom, I get it! The ships are the bait, the Stukas are the fish, and the Spitfires are the fishing lines!"
This week I pulled D-Day: The Invasion of Europe out of the library cart. This book is part of the American Heritage Junior Library series and the D-Day book was published in 1962. I read the book aloud to the kids this week at lunchtime and at first wondered if they would stick with it. The opening chapter was a challenge for them (it sets the strategic stage and describes the invasion planning process), but the chapter on the paratroopers had them pretty interested. We also began watching The Longest Day, and found that the movie depicted many of the same anecdotes that we read about in the book. It was a perfect pairing. (See sidebar.) Near the beginning of The Longest Day the soldiers are standing in line to get their dinner at an England base. When the GIs hold out their mess kit to receive a serving of mashed potatoes, Edwards Academy kids yelled out, "Mom! It's the mess kit! Just like George had!"
***Lane has a coloring book called, "Airplanes of the Second World War." This afternoon we spent some time looking up on Wikipedia the planes in the coloring book so Lane could see the proper paint schemes. He's lately interested in the PBY, the C-47 (which carried paratroopers over Normandy), and the P-38 Lightning. In our research, we saw these images: The P-38 Lightning flying in the Normandy Invasion (notice the black and white stripes) and the interior of this C-47.