We've just finished a fantastic book by Lucy Hannah that I can't wait to share with you!
Nancy Wake (Who was...?) is a true story in a child friendly format, our 8 year old and I took turns reading chapters. The story starts with the main character, Nancy Wake, making a parachute jump into France to help the Resistance and from there the reader is sucked into the world of Nancy Wake, who went on to become one of the Allies' most decorated servicewomen of the war. The author kept the book lighthearted enough so that young listeners can understand what was going on, without too much gore, especially when it came to the way in which the Gestapo treated captured spies and prisoners of war. A well thought out book, with plenty of lively activity to keep the reader hooked, our 8 year old couldn't wait for the next page, he wanted to keep reading more :) At the end of the book there is a fab glossary of terms used, and also a quiz for you to test your memory from the story.
This would be a fantastic way to encourage children to find out more about the Second World War. Topics such as the separation of France, the BBC radio transmissions which were also used to communicate secret messages, the Gestapo, the treatment of Jews at the time, prison of war camps and the D-Day landings (and more), are mentioned. It would be so easy to do unit studies with this book on World War II and the topics contained within.
I'm currently reading Nancy Wake's biography, by Russell Braddon, after being inspired by the children's version (incidently, a google search says Nancy Wake is still alive and living in Richmond as of 2009). In 1943 she was the Gestapo's most-wanted person.
I hope this has inspired you as much as I did us. Nancy Wake's story is one of courage, bravery and inspiration.
In this case, if buying new, the Book Depository is best as it's on offer there. The child's version, available with free p&p:
Title: Nancy Wake (Who was....?)
Author: Lucy Hannah
Author Website: Not found
Title: Nancy Wake SOE's Greatest Heroine
Author: Russell Braddon
Other links suitable for unit studies if you were to branch out from the above:
A map of the division of France during WWII including a key for it: (we used this as a base for role playing with plastic army soldiers placed on the map)
Suggested - Prisoner of War Camps info (along with puzzles to do, for older children)
Suggested - D-Day Landings Animated link via the BBC