Bring History Alive Through Graphic Novels: Normandy

Books Education Technology

Image: Zenith Press

If you’ve read a lot of my other posts here at GeekDad, you’ll know that I am passionate about history. There are some really interesting things out there for learning history now that aren’t the old standby of dry textbook reading. The Civil War Today app, which takes you back 150 years on a daily basis. The graphic novel that guides you through the United States Constitution. The app that recreates Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War.

So I am very pleased to have discovered a new history graphic novel series, beginning with Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day: The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe which is both written and illustrated by Wayne Vansant. Other books will follow, on subjects including Gettysburg, Civil War Generals Grant and Lee, and the Bombing of Nazi Germany. The series is aimed at teen readers, but I find it’s great for adults interested in experiencing history through the graphic novel medium. The books all do seem to be focused on war, but there is a lot of action in wartime, which lends itself to this medium. I hope the series eventually includes additional topics in the future, such as social history, women’s history, and other non-war-related topics.

Normandy starts with the planning of the invasion, moving into its execution, and even includes what came afterward, what was done to hold the ground gained. It culminates with the Allies arriving in Paris. Many key events are included in the book, such as the liberation of Paris, and many, many more events about which I previously was not aware, such as the British-Canadian effort for control of the city of Caen, fighting against the Hitler Youth Division.

The book is very factual, and doesn’t gloss over the violence. The pages aren’t plastered with bloody scenes, but death, danger, violence, and other images are depicted, so preview this before letting your kids read it. High schoolers should do fine with it, especially given the proper context. But younger kids may want to wait.

Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day retails for $19.99. It is 104 pages, and includes 470 color and two black and white pictures. The very detailed text surrounds the pictures, instead of being integrated into them with speech bubbles and the like. I recommend this book and the forthcoming books in the series to anyone who enjoys graphic novels and/or history, and for those older kids in your life who are having a hard time getting into history. We will definitely be using it for our homeschooling curriculum when my kids are a bit older.

Stay tuned for the next book in the series, Gettysburg, due out next month!

Note: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

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