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Grave of the Fireflies

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Mike Hagiwara
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Grave of the Fireflies

Although the film is out of the scope of the 7th & 8th grade history curriculums, I like to show this movie at the end of the year if there is time to deviate from our regular lessons. The animated film, though old, is still a relevant one. It follows a brother and sister who are forced to fend for themselves during World War II. They have to endure US firebombs, hunger, and homelessness. Although the story centers around the survival of the siblings there is definitely a reference to Japanese nationalism which was widespread during the time period. The vast majority of the students who I've shown this to enjoy the movie, though it can be a bit slow-paced at times, and they like to ask questions related to the war-another reason I like showing this film since it gets them thinking!