Posted tagged ‘Nazi Germany’

Friday Night Fights – Joe Louis

November 21, 2019

When I was growing up, my brother, my grandfather, and I spent many Friday evenings watching boxing on television. We cheered for the boxers and sang along with the Gillette Razor Company’s commercial. Those times are long gone, but the warm memories of my grandfather and Friday Night Fights are still alive.

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A Fist for Joe Louis and Me written by Trinka Hakes Noble and beautifully illustrated in soft watercolors by Nicole Tadgell brought back good memories of my early childhood and my grandfather. The author sets the story in Detroit, Michigan during the Great Depression and the coming of World War II with Nazi Germany. Trinka Hakes Noble weaves the story together with the real-life event, the Fight of the Century, which features Joe Louis, an American boxer from Detroit, Michigan and Max Schmeling, a boxer from Germany. The year is 1938 and Gordy is a young African American whose father gives him boxing lessons on Friday after he gets home from work. When dinner is over, the two of them listen to Friday Night Fights on the radio. Like many people living in the Detroit area at that time, Gordy’s father loses his job at the automobile plant. Gordy’s mother begins to take in sewing from Mr. Rubinstein, a Jewish tailor whose family left Germany to escape the Nazis. When Mr. Rubinstein drops off the sewing at Gordy’s house, he brings along his son, Ira. The two boys find they have a lot in common. They both like boxing, Joe Louis is their favorite boxer, and they watch Friday Night Fights with their fathers. Their friendship grows, and when an older student bullies Ira at school, Gordy channels thoughts of what Joe Louis would do and does the right thing to help Ira. Meanwhile, Ira’s father starts talking to Gordy’s father about boxing and the rematch between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. A friendship grows between the two men as they realize they have many things in common, too. Trinka Hakes Noble has written a heartwarming story about unlikely friendships that blossom during a time of hardship and unrest in the world and a hometown boxing idol who gives hope to the American people in the Fight of the Century.

 

 

 

D-Day – Seventy-Five Years Ago

June 6, 2019

“The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.” — General Dwight D Eisenhower

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Seventy-five years ago, today, the Allied Forces of America, Britain, and Canada stormed five beaches in Normandy, France by air and by sea. American troops landed on the beaches with code names of Utah and Omaha. It was the “largest seaborne invasion in military history.” These men faced a fierce obstacle – the Nazi forces who occupied France. Boys became men that day as they summoned the extraordinary courage to fight the enemy in order to free others from Hitler’s tyranny. The results were many casualties for the Allied Forces, but it also marked the turning point of World War II.

“They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt

For more information about D-Day, you might want to visit the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy. 

Further reading for kids:

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What Was D-Day? written by Patricia Brennan Demuth and illustrated by David Grayson Kenyon, Penguin Workshop, 2015.

 

 

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D-Day Landings: The Story of the Allied Invasion written by Richard Platt, DK Children, 2004.

 

 

 

 

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Remember D-Day:  The Plan, the Invasion, Survivor Stories written by Ronald J. Drez, National Geographic Children’s Books, 2015.


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