Mr. Curiosity has been going through a war phase, so when I asked him what he wanted to study this next month, he came up with World War II. We haven’t done much history this year, so I supported his choice. While I typically use a variety of nonfiction and fiction books, Mr. Curiosity was all about the nonfiction this time. In fact, I couldn’t even get him to read a biography. He wanted to learn about battles, so that was what we did.
We also did a version of artist study for World War II, but we chose to look at propaganda posters. I started with some of the most recognizable posters, namely Rosie the Riveter and Uncle Sam. We also looked at Nazi propaganda posters, and discussed some of the differences between U.S. and Nazi propaganda. Mr. Curiosity was interested enough to make his own propaganda poster using some of the elements we had discussed.
Some of our favorite books included:
The Split History of World War II: A Perspectives Flip Book by Simon Rose. This is a new series of books that provides information from both sides of a war. The flip book means you read one perspective, and then physically flip the book over and start from the new front to read the other perspective. In the case of the WWII book, the book discussed what happened in specific time periods for the Allies and the Axis powers. You can read one side, and then flip the book over and read the other perspective, or you could read one chapter at a time from each perspective. Mr. Curiosity enjoyed seeing both sides at the same time period.
My grandfather fought on the U.S.S. Guam during World War II, so he sent a couple of his books to Mr. Curiosity to look at. World War II: A Complete Photographic History edited by Hall Buell was by far Mr. Curiosity’s favorite WWII book. This book starts at the beginning of the war and gives a short description of what happened on each day, from 1939 until 1945, in each theater of the war. Mr. Curiosity spent days flipping through the book, often doing a “Today in WWII” history lesson for me. He decided he wanted to read the book straight through, which is amazing, considering the size (over 700 pages) and weight of the book.
Finally, there’s Unexplained Mysteries of World War II by William Breuer. This book has short (usually about a page long) snippets of interesting stories. The book is broken into sections, including Puzzling Events, Odd Coincidences, Curious Happenings, Uncanny Riddles, People Who Vanished, Peculiar Premonitions, and Strange Encounters. The book is filled with tidbits of information that will let you say “Did you know…” to any gathering of friends.
For the past couple of weeks, Mr. Curiosity has been so interested in World War II information that he’s hardly touched a novel. In fact, other than the Flip Perspectives book, all of the nonfiction has been written for adults, and Mr. Curiosity has devoured it. I had to bite my tongue several times before I said something like, “Why don’t you stop reading that highly informative nonfiction book about a turning point in American history and read a fluffy little novel instead?” Just like Lori Pickert keeps saying on Project Based Homeschooling, children will push themselves when they are internally motivated to learn about a subject. It’s been fun to watch!