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Memorial Day 2017

Collier, Peter  Choosing Courage: Inspiring Stories of What It Means to Be a Hero
Middle school, high school     226 pp.     Artisan

Ranging from World War II through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, this book offers compelling stories of selected Medal of Honor recipients who performed heroic acts in battle; vignettes of civilians awarded the Medal are also included. Photographs, including personal snapshots and ceremony photos with U.S. presidents, enhance the succinctly told accounts. Sections with relevant historical context are inserted throughout the volume. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Government, Economics, and Education; War; Soldiers; Armed forces; Heroes

deRubertis, Barbara  Let’s Celebrate Memorial Day
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Kane Press

Holidays & Heroes series. The Holidays & Heroes series delves into the purpose and historical background of our national holidays. This entry traces Memorial Day’s beginning as Decoration Day in 1868 through the many changes to it since. Photographs and period illustrations accompany the somewhat lackluster but useful text.
Subjects: Customs and Holidays; Holidays—Memorial Day; Armed forces; Soldiers


Furstinger, Nancy  Paws of Courage: True Tales of Heroic Dogs That Protect and Serve
Gr. K–3, 4–6     159 pp.     National Geographic

Twenty-two inspiring true stories show how agile, loyal, and eager-to-please dogs can be trained to use their natural abilities to protect and defend their human handlers in military, police, and rescue work. Interspersed in the narratives are color photos and sidebars with breed information, “Ask an Expert” questions, and explanations of the dogs’ specialized training. Reading list, websites.
Subjects: Domestic Animals; Animals—Service dogs; Animals—Dogs; Community helpers

Hopkinson, Deborah  Dive!: World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific
Gr. 4–6, Middle school, high school     366 pp.     Scholastic

Voices of sailors who served on submarines in the Pacific theater during WWII are highlighted and, along with numerous photographs, provide a vivid sense of immediacy. Various secondary sources, maps, and sidebars place the sailors’ experiences in the larger context of the war. An appealing, engrossing package for readers fascinated by heroism and military strategy. Timeline, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Modern History; History, Modern—World War II; Pacific; Vehicles—Submarines; United States Navy; Sailors; Armed forces

Lewis, J. Patrick  The Navajo Code Talkers
Gr. 4–6, middle school     32 pp.     Creative Editions

Illustrated by Gary Kelley. Lewis and Kelley (And the Soldiers Sang; Harlem Hellfighters) respectfully relate the story of roughly 420 Navajo code talkers who helped the U.S. win World War II by using their native language for secret military communications. Lewis emphasizes the extraordinary nature of their achievement after a century of unjust treatment by the government. Kelley’s illustrations evoke classic (and violent) wartime images and Native American iconography. Bib.
Subjects: Modern History; History, American—Navajo Long Walk; History, Modern—World War II; Foreign languages—Navajo language; Codes; Native Americans—North America—Navajo; Armed forces

For more on this topic, see the May 2016 Nonfiction Notes article “War and peace.”

From the May 2017 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.


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