This year is the 77th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, and this historical fiction book is perfect for reading with your 7th/8th grade Social Studies classes.
It follows the story of several D-Day participants, starting with private "Dee," Dietrich Zimmermann, a German who joins the US Army but is hiding his German roots from his friends and fellow soldiers as they fight for their lives in the slaughter on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Of course, his German-ness -- and his reluctance to tell his best friend Syd about it -- comes out over the course of the story and over the course of Operation Neptune. Syd has to come to grips with it, while keeping each other safe -- as they can.
Another POV is Samira Zidane, a young girl who is tasked with getting the message to the French Maquis, or resistance fighters, that the Americans have landed. Nazis capture and take her mother away to a prison camp, and she alone must convince the Maquis to blow up a bridge to help stop the Nazi reinforcements from arriving.
Yet another perspective is told from the sky, via Canadian paratrooper James McKay, who lands in a field far from where he and his fellow paratroopers are supposed to be, making them virtually useless in the fight -- at first. But they hook up with another Canadian unit and end up taking a fortified German chateau, with only a handful of men.
Another view of the battle is from the driver of an American-made Sherman tank, Bill, and African American medic, Corporal Henry Allen. They all come together, although all don't make it out alive.
This is an excellent piece of historical fiction to use with this year's D-Day anniversary.