Weekly Wednesday Book Review: The Orphans of Normandy, a true story of World War II

I chose this book in honor of Oster’s great-grandfather who landed on Omaha Beach after the Allies secured the area in 1944.  As part of the 83rd Infantry Division, Oster’s great-grandfather was a battalion surgeon working the front lines.  When France was finally liberated, his division celebrated in Paris with the other troops from USA and France.

A number of World War II picture books tells a sad story.  Although this book briefly documents over 40 days of hardship, it has a happy ending.  I felt this children’s book was appropriate based upon the story, images, and ending.

When the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy, 100-orphaned girls were forced to escape their school in Caen, France.  They left to travel south by foot.  Many days passed, they hid in many places, and the girls even had white flags (used for protection) to carry with them throughout their journey.

The illustrations in this book are original drawings created by those orphans.  French language is written on the drawing (right side of book) and an English translation is on the left side.

One of my favorite pictures is of the army trucks driving through the liberated French town the girls were in and them waving to the soldiers.  It reminds me of the story Oster’s great-grandfather has told us many times…when the trucks drove through Paris, the children followed and waved to him and his fellow soldiers.  It’s empowering to see a similar experience captured in the eyes of an innocent child.

A very real story of survival.

Oster (at 3 months) with his Great-Grandfather.