I just finished watching the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics. For my CC readers, I realized how much I learned our first 16 weeks. As Olympians from countries like Estonia and Latvia entered the arena, I smiled knowing that two months ago I would not have been able to locate these countries on a map. Also, I almost embarrassed myself as I screamed at our television when they showed the map of Greece, which was the first country to enter the Olympic Arena. “It’s the Balkan Peninsula! Look, boys! It’s the Balkan Peninsula. See it?!?!” (Yeah, I kinda love and freak out about maps and all-things-geography.)
As we gear up to look at World War II in Classical Conversations over the next couple of weeks, I wanted to highlight a couple of Olympic/WWII tie ins since the Winter Games will be running parallel with our WWII studies.
I am a HUGE fan of missionary/Christian hero biographies (particularly this series, Christian Heroes: Then and Now), and I love reading them with my boys. We read about Eric Liddell two years ago when we were gearing up for the Summer Olympics. Eric Liddell is well-known and remembered for refusing to run on Sunday for the 100m race in the 1924 Olympics. I knew that tidbit of information about him prior to reading the book. However, I learned that he became a missionary to China after his Olympic running shoes were retired. His life was directly impacted by the events of World War II while in China due to Japan’s actions on the Eastern front. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I am going to omit the details. Please, go read it.)
One of my favorite books in high school was The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. If you don’t know the story, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW and read this book! It’s a memorable, captivating story of courage and God’s protection. The first time I read it–I literally read it in 3 days; I could not put it down. It’s the story of Corrie’s family who lived in Holland and helped Jewish families escaping from Hitler’s Nazi Germany. There is a Corrie Ten Boom version in the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series that I mentioned above. Again, I am not going to go into elaborate detail of the events of Corrie Ten Boom’s life because I want you to read it!
Also, if you’ve not heard of the Imagination Station series, which is by the Focus on the Family and similar in concept to the Magic Tree House series, there is a book focused on Corrie Ten Boom, called Escape to the Hiding Place. Can you tell I love the story of Corrie Ten Boom?!?! So many different books that you can read about her! Any of them would be an excellent way to gently introduce World War II and the Holocaust to children.
This movie is another Olympic-themed resource. It has NOTHING to do with World War II but rather the Cold War. (You could tie this in with the respective Timeline Card, CC readers.) I watched this movie several years and did not previously know the story of the 1980 Winter Olympic gold medal hockey game which pitted the USSR against the United States. It gave me insight into the Cold War and the intense animosity between the two countries during that period of history. I’m sure the Hollywood glitz on the film is generous, yet the events actually happened. I was awestruck at how one game–USSR vs. USA–personified the political climate and events simultaneously transpiring between the two countries. A nail bitter this one was!
Do you have any great Olympic-themed and/or World War II reads? If so, please share them with us!