• Normandy [Homeschool Book Review]

    Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler's Fortress EuropeNormandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe by Wayne Vansant
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Once again we return to Vasant’s graphic novels to give a different element to studying history. So far we’ve also looked at his coverage of the Red Baron and The Bombing of Nazi Germany. Now, we bring you our review and guided reading questions for Normandy.

    Like Vansant’s other books this is a great format to break up the monotony of textbooks without sacrificing all of the education. It’s a graphic novel so it only scratches the surface of what’s available out there on the topics, but it is a narrative with lots of pictures, an easy read, and it’s fairly interesting.

    It is highly probable that if your kid loves reading comic books for their action, they will find this not what they expected for a comic book. It lacks the direct dialogue and action much of the time, which is generally what makes a comic book that much more engaging. Furthermore, this is not in-depth enough for a history book. As a retelling of Normandy, my heart broke for it didn’t even come close to describing the sheer magnitude of importance of that time.

    Graded under the umbrella of a good book to study history from, I’d have to give it 2.5 stars. It’s engaging, easy, and fun to read. The homeschoolers here read it and enjoyed it, even learnt a bit from it. This book alone might be enough to piqué someone’s interest, but there was absolutely no depth to the parts of the story. For example, Vansant mentions a random name, what they did, and you get that it’s supposed to be impressive… but unless you’ve studied Normandy or wars, you don’t know what or who it is. In the context of our homeschoolers that have read it, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference as they still enjoyed the story without the stress of a textbook.

    As I did with the other Vansant books, I took the time to check the info against a military historian, Travis Beiersdorfer, as well as someone who was there. The vet that I chatted with was sorely disappointed in the presentation. He thought it lacked a lot, but pointed out that it is probably really good that it does since it’s designed to be read by kids. Beiersdorfer noted that it’s a decent start and as accurate as could be within the scope of the project.

    Thus, I’d recommend it as a side reading to piqué interest, but not to really go the importance of Normandy. You’d probably get a lot more in-depth knowledge of Normandy from a documentary.

    All in all, I think this is a good book to add as a supplement to the homeschool curriculum. It is factual, easy to read in an afternoon, and the kids will probably like its fun format. It is especially recommended for students in 4th, 5th, or 6th grades, depending on when they get into history.

    Our guided reading questions walk the reader through the book while asking questions about the history of science and technology, the politics and culture surrounding the decisions, and points out causes and effects from both sides of the war. Grab the guided reading and more when you join our inner circle with the form below.

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