Book picks similar to
Romeo Blue by Phoebe Stone


historical-fiction
middle-grade
historical
young-adult

September 17


Amanda West Lewis - 2014
    The City of Benares was a luxury liner that was recruited in September 1940 to transport 90 of these children to Canada, along with the ship's regular passenger complement. A convoy of ships including The Benares set off from Liverpool in mid-September and approximately six hundred miles out, after the naval escorts had withdrawn, the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank in about half an hour. Only thirteen of the CORB children survived the sinking. As a result of this tragedy, the program was cancelled.September 17 is a novel that tells the story of three of the children that were on board the City of Benares, as they experience and survive the disaster and wait to be rescued. One lifeboat was not picked up by the destroyer sent to make the rescue, and was at sea with 46 passengers, children and adults for eight days until it was picked up near the Irish coast. Two teenaged girls held onto an overturned lifeboat for 18 hours before they were picked up, while another family, including two children not on the CORB program, floated on a tiny raft for hours before being rescued. The characters whose adventures are described are all real, though some conversations and encounters have been fictionalized by author Amanda Lewis.

A Medal for Leroy


Michael Morpurgo - 2012
    Michael doesn't remember his father, an RAF pilot lost in the war. And his French mother, heartbroken and passionate, doesn't like to talk about her husband. But then Auntie Snowdrop gives Michael a medal, followed by a photograph, which begin to reveal a hidden history. A story of love and loss. A story that will change everything – and reveal to Michael who he really is…

Yesterday's Dead


Pat Bourke - 2012
    To find the best paying job for a young girl of her class, she travels to the city to work as household help in a doctor’s home. From the start, her life is made difficult by the cantankerous and prickly butler, and confrontations with Maggie, the doctor’s spoiled thirteen-year-old daughter. As the deadly Spanish Flu sweeps across the city, members of the household fall ill one by one. With the doctor working night and day at the hospital, only Meredith, Maggie, and Jack, Maggie's handsome older brother, are left to care for them. Every day the newspapers’ lists of “Yesterday’s Dead” add to Meredith’s growing fears.When Jack becomes gravely ill, Meredith must stop fighting with Maggie so they can work together to save him. As Meredith wrestles with questions of duty and responsibility, she opens the door to a future that she thought had been closed forever.

Uncertain Soldier


Karen Bass - 2015
    Twelve-year-old Max goes to school -- reluctantly -- in the nearby town. The two would be unlikely friends, except that neither has anyone else to turn to. At the height of World War II, nobody wants to befriend a German.It doesn't matter that Erich was forced into the military by his father, or that Max was proudly born in Canada. They are both easy targets for the locals' grief and anger against the Nazis. The other prisoners are no more welcoming, distrustful of Erich's perfect English and his dislike for Nazism. Still, when a series of accidents shakes the logging camp, they pressure Erich to question the Canadians and find the saboteur -- even if his questions get him into trouble. Caught between angry prisoners and suspicious captors, Erich is afraid to take any action at all. It is only when Max's schoolyard tormentors cross a dangerous line that Erich realizes that his real loyalties lie not with a regime or a country, but with his friend.

Blue Skies


Anne Bustard - 2020
    After all, her grandmother—the best matchmaker in the whole county—is responsible for thirty-nine of them.Now, Glory Bea needs a miracle of her own.The war ended three years ago, but Glory Bea’s father never returned home from the front in France. Glory Bea understands what Mama and Grams and Grandpa say—that Daddy died a hero on Omaha Beach—yet deep down in her heart, she believes Daddy is still out there.When the Gladiola Gazette reports that one of the boxcars from the Merci Train (the “thank you” train)—a train filled with gifts of gratitude from the people of France—will be stopping in Gladiola, she just knows daddy will be its surprise cargo.But miracles, like people, are always changing, until at last they find their way home.

Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth


Patricia Clapp - 1975
    Constance longs for her beloved London, but she does her share to help the pilgrim settles fight disease, tame the landscape, and befriend the natives. The village of Plymouth grows as more settlers arrive. Many of the young men have eyes for Constance. Could there possibly be room for romance in this wild new place?

The Orphan Band of Springdale


Anne Nesbet - 2018
    Eleven-year-old Gusta’s life, like the world around her, is about to change. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. Nearsighted, snaggletoothed Gusta arrives in Springdale, Maine, lugging her one precious possession: a beloved old French horn, her sole memento of her father. But in a family that’s long on troubles and short on money, how can a girl hang on to something so valuable and yet so useless when Gusta’s mill-worker uncle needs surgery to fix his mangled hand, with no union to help him pay? Inspired by her mother’s fanciful stories, Gusta secretly hopes to find the coin-like “Wish” that her sea-captain grandfather supposedly left hidden somewhere. Meanwhile, even as Gusta gets to know the rambunctious orphans at the home, she feels like an outsider at her new school — and finds herself facing patriotism turned to prejudice, alien registration drives, and a family secret likely to turn the small town upside down.

A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor


Harry Mazer - 2001
     For Adam, living near Honolulu, this Sunday morning is one he has been looking forward to -- fishing with friends, away from the ever-watchful eyes of his father, a navy lieutenant. Then, right before his eyes, Adam watches Japanese planes fly overhead and attack the U.S. Navy. All he can think is that it's just like in the movies. But as he sees his father's ship, the Arizona, sink beneath the water, he realizes this isn't make-believe. It's real. Over the next few days, Adam searches for answers -- about his friends, the war, and especially, his father. But Adam soon learns sometimes there are no answers.

Shattered Glass


Teresa Toten - 2015
    So when fire destroys the orphanage she has grown up in, she is ready to make her way to Toronto, where she hopes to discover the truth about the mother she believes hurt and then abandoned her. Toronto proves to be both daunting and exciting for Toni, whose charm and innocence attract attention—not always positive—wherever she goes. Buoyed by the music she hears at the folk club where she finds a job, and encouraged by her glamorous landlady, Toni unearths shocking information that contradicts everything she believes and makes her re-evaluate what she feels for all the new people in her life.

Night Fires


George E. Stanley - 2009
    Perhaps here he will find the closeness to his father that eluded him when his father was alive. Instead, in his new neighbor, Senator Crawford, Woodrow finds something that offers even more comfort—a father figure who understands him in a way his father never did. But there are ugly secrets beneath the surface in Lawton, and Woodrow’s desperate need for the senator’s approval may force him to make difficult decisions he will live to regret.

Brave Like My Brother


Marc Tyler Nobleman - 2016
    The story of an American soldier in WWII England who shares his war experiences (including a historic, dangerous secret mission) with his 10-year-old brother via letters

Whistling in the Dark


Shirley Hughes - 2015
    Everyone is on edge, faced with strict food rationing, curfews, and blackouts. It's not an easy time to be a teenager. Joan's one solace is going to the movies with her best friend, the unflappable Doreen, but when the bombings intensify, even that becomes too dangerous. There's also the matter of a strange man who Joan sees lurking near their home. Who is he, and why does he think Joan can help him? Even more unsettling, as the Blitz worsens, Joan and her friends make a discovery down by the old mill that will tear the whole community apart. In the hardship of war, everything seems to be rationed -- except true friendship.

A Spy on the Home Front: A Molly Mystery


Alison Hart - 2005
    When Aunt Eleanor, now a WASP pilot, stops for a visit while ferrying a warplane from one airbase to another, a security check uncovers anti-American propaganda stashed aboard her plane. The FBI interrogates Eleanor but quickly zeroes in on another suspect--Anna's 17-year-old brother Max, who works at the local airfield. Though Anna knows her brother is loyal to America, she fears he'll be sent away to an interment camp as an enemy alien, as other German-American friends have been. Molly and Anna decide that the only way to clear Max is to find the person who is smuggling propaganda. With lots of daring and a little luck, the girls manage to finger the real culprit but they discover that that may not be enough to save Max. In a poignant ending, Molly realizes that wartime, even on the home front, changes friends and family forever."

The War Outside


Monica Hesse - 2018
    The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day, and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother's health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone--even each other?

Shooting the Moon


Frances O'Roark Dowell - 2008
    She can't wait to get letters from the front lines describing the excitement of real-life combat: the sound of helicopters, the smell of gunpowder, the exhilaration of being right in the thick of it. After all, they've both dreamed of following in the footsteps of their father, the Colonel.But TJ's first letter isn't a letter at all. It's a roll of undeveloped film, the first of many. What Jamie sees when she develops TJ's photographs reveals a whole new side of the war. Slowly the shine begins to fade off of Army life - and the Colonel. How can someone she's worshiped her entire life be just as helpless to save her brother as she is?From the author of the Edgar Award-winning Dovey Coe comes a novel,both timely and timeless, about the sacrifices we make for what we believe and the people we love.