While WWII rages across the ocean in Europe, young Tomie finds his life changing in many ways. He still helps out in the family grocery store, but he has to wear an extra sweater at school because the school is conserving heat, and blackout curtains cover the windows at home. The war seems more real when Cousin Blackie visits on his way overseas to fly missions as a bomber gunner. Then tragedy bring the war home to the dePaola family and all Tomie can do is ask "why?". Why? offers great comfort to young readers struggling with similar issues about the world today.