Yep - yours truly!

Yep - yours truly!


From the back of the book - "1915. WWI rages in Europe... but it is a war of wizards, dragons, vampires and magic as much as a war of bullets and barbed wire."
Teacher Thoughts -
This is not a true history book - it is set in an alternate reality with monsters, wizards, flying soldiers, etc. That being said - there are plenty of allusions and connections to be had --
The United States of Columbia (NE USA) is not yet involved in the European war. Some Americans volunteer for the escadrille to fight against the Prussians. Trench warfare. Lufbery is a character. A magical bombing raid destroys a city -- could be compared to WWII and Dresden. The magic mist that turns soldiers against each other looks and acts a lot like mustard gas. This is not a book that I would use to teach WWI, but I will certainly add to my classroom library to be read as extra credit. It certianly raises some interesting questions about alternate universes, etc. I had fun reading it.


Excellent - offers sources, further reading, etc. as well.
Teacher Thoughts
The book begins with the origins of planes in warfare and the development of tactics - not too detailed - just enough to give some background and to help lead for more research - well done. Funny - description of unarmed pilots throwing wrenches at each other before guns were mounted on the planes. Maps and land battles are also included - very well explained. Tanks, Russian Revolution, American entry into the war - are all covered in this book.
There are so many aspects of WWI included in this book - major battles, individual airmen from both sides, technology, tactics, funny anectodes, etc.

The movie Flyboys is an easy connection - great movie and widely available on Netflix and Amazon Instant. Page 10 has a direct connection to the movie.
I also have my AP Euro students read To the Last Man by Jeff Shaara and we use it as a literature circle.

Lesson Ideas
Students could be split into small groups and assigned one part of the book. They could then complete more research on the men, tactics, battles, etc included in the section. Assign roles - cartographer, tactician, biographer, artist, etc.


Reading Level - HIgh School - violence and sexual innuendo
Length -
Basic Premise -
All African-American fighting unti in WWI.
"The Harlem Hellfighters is based on the Army's 369th infantry division, an African American unit fighting in Europe during World War I. Breaking down racial barriers, the unit spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and went on to win countless decorations.
Though they returned to the U.S. as heroes, the unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The story chronicles their journey from the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France."
Although a ficitonal account, it is based on real events. The bibliography is fascinating and extensive.
Teacher Thoughts
OK - I hate to admit this - but I had no idea that this highly decorate unit existed in WWI. This is a fascinating story - yes, it gets into some uncomfortable terrain with racial issues - but the story is not just about the black troops being treated unfairly, but also about their bravery and being brave men - regardless of color. This would ignite all kinds of fascinating discussions in the classroom - I am looking forward to having students read it. The best part is that, regardless of the racial issues, it is still a great book about WWI in general and teaches about gas attacks, machine guns, trenches - rats, lice, etc.
Potential Issues
Sexual innuendo, some violent images (nothing over the top), racial issues


All of WWI - minus the air war.
Teacher Thoughts
There is a whole lot of info in this little book - perhaps too much. The different countries were represented by animals (sort of like Maus) - the Russian Bear, British Bulldog, etc. This seemed to be more confusing than helpful when reading through the book. However, once you get used to it, the information really is quite comprehensive - but I think students would struggle to make sense of all that is thrown out at once.
Lesson Ideas
Have students research the national animals of each country and create caricatures to represent strengths/weaknesses.


Reading Level - 8th and up
Length -
Basic Premise
The two main characters are a WW1 ace (Hans von Hammer - a Richthofen-type personality) and a Vietnam Vet (Mannock) who compare their war experiences. The author really makes one think when looking at the two conflicts - personal VS impersonal, chivalry VS slaughter, survivor's guilt VS making the most out of life, etc.

Teacher Thoughts
I am not an artist, but the illustrations blew me away - there are so many water color type drawings that I would hang up on my wall. The dark and blurred depictions add much depth to the storyline and I found myself getting lost in them. As for the story itself, I enjoyed the prose from writers in WWI that were included throughout - deep thoughts, as the saying goes. This would be a neat book to have students compare Vietnam and WWI - or modern conflicts VS WW1 in general.
My Lai Massacre, Flyboys movie
Lesson Ideas
Mini - Research project - students could be assigned roles and create a presentation based in comparing weapons, tactics, etc of the two conflicts. Were the two wars really that different? Did chivalry really exist during WW1 air battles? Did it really even exist during the Middle Ages? Connect to the Geneva Convention - do rules in warfare work? What rules would you put into place? My Lai Massacre - were there incidents like this during WW1? Would rules of war prevent these type of incidents from happening? What should happen to those who break these rules? COMpare to the Nazis and Japanese during WW2.
Language Arts - Mannock comes to some conclusions about his life and war experiences - does your view of him match his own? Is he guilty?


Achi Baba Gallipoli 1915. Magic Torch Comics. FREE to read on line -


This stretches out across the entire back wall of my classroom!
Lesson Ideas
Have students walk the length of the comic - then assign small groups to write down what is going on in different sections - then compare to the author's notes. When streteched out, the panels just about cover the width of the classroom - amazing! The comic comes with a detailed guide explaining what is going on in each panel. I photopcopied these explanations and placed them in front of the respective panels and had teh students complete a gallery walk. An alternative would be to number each section and have the students create their own definition/explanation of what is going on - then explain to the class.
Use this as an example to have students create their own long mural about a topic.