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2 Books on World War II That I Finished Recently

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Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

The last two weeks, I finished two books and here are my reviews…

The Librarian of Auschwitz

This book has been recommended to me many times when people hear I read a lot of World War II books and novels. It is the true story of Dita Kraus — a girl who risked her life to protect the few books that had been smuggled into the concentration camp.

While Dita was the main character for much of this book, it also tells many other stories of others throughout. And it paints a very heart-wrenching picture of what it was like to be both a child and a parent in a concentration camp.

Overall, I though the book was a worthwhile read. However, it felt disjointed and a little bland at times. I also found that the passages of different books that were included seemed kind of hard to follow and I would have been fine without them (in fact, I found myself skipping over them).

Also note: There is some crass language and a few sections that delve into things that are more on the PG-13 level.

I would give this a 3.5 star rating. Because it was good, but not quite as good as a 4-star book.

Verdict: 3.5 stars

The Boy on the Wooden Box

We read this aloud as a family and it was a winner book — meaning, all of us enjoyed it and found it engaging. It is the true autobiographical story of Leon Leyson, a boy who survived the holocaust as a result of being on Schindler’s List.

While I’ve read a lot of books about World War II, this one brought insight and perspective on some things that I hadn’t heard before. I thought it was an especially good read for our current times as it reminds you of how much we still have, even though it can feel like there is a lot of unrest, unknowns, and upheaval in our lives.

It sparked a lot of great conversation and discussion around the dinner table. Do note that some of the material it covers might be scary or unsettling for kids who are especially sensitive. While it didn’t delve into the atrocities of war and concentration camps in really graphic terms, it did cover some of the hardships and brutality that the Jews suffered.

Verdict: 4 stars

What have you read recently? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

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30 Comments

  • Rachael says:

    You should read The Choice by Edith Eger. It’s the most inspirational book I’ve ever read. It’s a memoir of a survivor who went on to become a therapist

  • Amanda says:

    I 100% agree Rachael! The Choice was one of the best books I have ever read.

  • Sarah says:

    I love world war 2 books! I’ve been reading some biblical fiction by Lynn Austin. The Gods and Kings series is good and the Return to Me book so far are really good.

    • Kelly says:

      I love Lynn Austin, too! I read all of her books, except for the Gods & Kings series because someone had told me about the very descriptive child sacrifice sections and I just didn’t think I could handle it. Well, a few weeks ago I decided I just needed to read them and I am almost finished with the first one. Her Old Testament based books are so, so good and I always like to re-read those chapters in the Bible after I have finished her books. I just read the Harry Potter series during quarantine. I don’t usually like “magical” books, but my daughter loves the series and I was desperate for something to read since our library was closed! I ended up really enjoying the series.

      • Sarah says:

        I had never heard of her but my friend told me about her books. Iloved the first three books of God’s and Kings but I’m having a much harder time with book 4 and everyone dying lol!!! It’s still so good though and I couldn’t believe I never heard of her before now! It makes the Bible come so much more alive and I’ve found myself studying the Bible more in a “did that really happen?” mindset. They’re fiction obviously but so grounded in truth and she cleay did her research on SO many things I just love it and it’s super fascinating!!

        I read HP several years ago. I liked the series too and enjoyed it, but my kids are so sensitive that I’m waiting a long while to do those with them.

  • Christine says:

    Have you read the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah? It’s amazing.

  • Melie says:

    One of my favorite WW2 books is “We Were the Lucky Ones” by Georgia Hunter. It’s written as fiction but the overall plot follows what her family actually lived through. The next WW2 book I’m planning to read is the autobiographical “Behind Enemy Lines” by Marthe Cohn. She was a French Jew who worked as a nurse and then spied for the Allies in Germany during the later days of the war.

  • Teresa says:

    Thank you for sharing! I love book recommendations! I will check these out.
    If you like historical books, last summer I read The Professor and the Mad Man, Labyrinth of Ice, and In the Heart of the Sea and I recommend all three of them. For adults and teens, in my opinion.

  • Leigh-Ann says:

    I’m reading The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews right now. It was previously released under the title Island of Saints. It’s set in WWII and takes place on the Gulf Coast. So far, I’m enjoying it.

  • Tonya says:

    The Tatooist of Auschwitz, Gilka’s Journey (the sequel), The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Hiding Place.

  • Abbie says:

    Code Name Helene and
    Beneath a Scarlett Sky are both really good.

  • Emily says:

    Your review on The Boy on the Wooden Box really made me interested in reading it aloud with my family! My older kids are 12 and 8 – the 12 year old had gone through the general parts of WW2 history in our homeschool, but my 8 year old hasn’t. In your opinion what’s the ideal age range or developmental phase for reading this with kids? Or do you have other WW2 suggestions for these ages? Thank you! I love reading your book reviews 🙂

  • Archie Davis Jr says:

    I finally got done reading The Leaders Greatest Return by John C. Maxwell. I starting reading Dave Rasmey book on leadership.

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