Wartime Wednesday: Children’s War Stories
World War II impacted children and young adults at many levels, often because they had fathers, brothers, uncles, or cousins off in combat. But kids were also exposed to the war in the toys they played with (read my post about that here) or the books they read. Here are three of the era’s most prolific authors:
Wheaton College graduate and minister Roy Judson Snell wrote nearly one hundred children and YA books under his own name as well as several pseudonyms. Born in 1878, his first story was published in 1922. Most of his books were aimed at boys, however he did write a series about women in the uniformed services such as Norma Kent and the WACS, Sparky Ames of the Ferry Command, and Sally Scott of the WAVES.
Another author who wrote for young adults was Robert Sidney Bowen, Jr. A Boston native who served in WWI as an aviator, Bowen penned the fifteen volume Dave Dawson War Adventure series about a high school graduate who follows his father to Europe just before WWII begins. Dave befriends an English teen, and the two find themselves fighting beside the British troops. Bowen’s Red Randall series is about a young aviator who serves in the Pacific Theatre. In addition to his fiction career, he was a journalist for several newspapers and magazines.
Hilda Van Stockum was a Dutch native who lives for many years in the U.S. She published several children’s series about the war, some of which were based on her family’s experiences, such as The Mitchells: Five for Victory. Her best known book, The Winged Watchman tells how traditional windmills were used for signaling despite German occupation.
What books do you remember from your childhood?