We tend to think of wars on a big-picture level: the battles won and lost, the generals who commanded armies, the leaders whose decisions shaped the world and the people whose actions changed the course of history.

But what about the smallest of players? What about those who did not shape history, but were shaped by it? What about the children who grew up during war?

This is the perspective of war explored by Sieglinde Martin in her book, "Small Feet on the Run: Childhood during World War II Remembered and Arguments Against War."

The book tells incredible true stories of ordinary children who lived in Europe during World War II.

Martin, a retired pediatric physical therapist who has lived in Columbus more than 50 years, will discuss her book at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Grove City Library.

Among the stories in the book are one about a 3-year-old girl watching as her home burned, a 4-year-old bringing a live chicken to her mother and a young boy trying to provide food for his family.

These children were among the youngest facing a turbulent time, but the war forced them to grow up quickly, and "Small Feet on the Run" captures the terror, confusion, heartbreak and suffering that children who experience war endure. Twenty-nine million civilians died in Europe during the war, with these young civilians living in a world that seemed brutal and senseless.

Martin was born in 1940 in Langenfeld, Rheinland, and completed her primary and secondary education in post-war Germany before coming to the United States in 1964 for a post-graduate traineeship in physical therapy. She later received a master's degree from Ohio State University.

She is also the author of "Teaching Motor Skills to Children with Cerebral Palsy and Similar Movement Disorders: A Guide for Parents and Professionals." She is a member of Central Ohioans for Peace.

Martin's visit is not the only World War II-themed program Grove City Library will host in October.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 18, local author Jeffrey Owens will discuss Operation Overlord.

Many people are familiar with the beach landings at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944, but not as much attention is given to the subsequent military operations.

Once the beachhead was secured, the Allies still had work to do. Owens will discuss Operation Overlord and the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied western Europe.

Mark Dubovec is communications manager for Southwest Public Libraries. Contact him at mdubovec@swpl.org.