Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage. Ironweed Press, 1999.
First published in 1895, this small masterpiece set the pattern for the treatment of war in modern fiction. The novel is told through the eyes of Henry Fleming, a young soldier caught up in an unnamed Civil War battle who is motivated not by the unselfish heroism of conventional war stories, but by fear, cowardice, and finally, egotism. However, in his struggle to find reality amid the nightmarish chaos of war, the young soldier also discovers courage, humility, and perhaps, wisdom. Although Crane had never been in battle before writing The Red Badge of Courage, the book was widely praised by experienced soldiers for its uncanny re-creation of the sights, sounds, and sense of actual combat.
Filipovic, Zlata. Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo. Penguin Books Ltd., 1994.
When Zlata’s Diary was first published at the height of the Bosnian conflict, it became an international bestseller and was compared to The Diary of Anne Frank, both for the freshness of its voice and the grimness of the world it describes. It begins as the day-to-day record of the life of a typical eleven-year-old girl, preoccupied by piano lessons and birthday parties. But as war engulfs Sarajevo, Zlata Filipovic becomes a witness to food shortages and the deaths of friends and learns to wait out bombardments in a neighbor’s cellar. Yet throughout she remains courageous and observant. The result is a book that has the power to move and instruct readers a world away.
Gratz, Alan. Grenade. Scholastic Press, 2018.
It's 1945, and the world is in the grip of war. Hideki lives on Okinawa, an island near Japan. When he is drafted to fight for the Japanese army, he is handed a grenade and told: Don't come back until you've killed an American soldier. Ray, a young American Marine, has just landed on Okinawa. This is Ray's first-ever battle, and all he knows is that the enemy is everywhere. Hideki and Ray each fight their way across the island, surviving heart-pounding clashes and dangerous attacks. But when the two of them collide in the middle of the battle, the choices they make in that single instant will change everything.
Williams, Mary. Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Lee & Low Books, 2005.
Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek hundreds of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.