Review of D-Day: The World War II Invasion That Changed History

D-Day: The World War II Invasion That Changed History
by Deborah Hopkinson
Intermediate, Middle School
Scholastic Focus/Scholastic    376 pp.    g
8/18    978-0-545-68248-0 $16.99
e-book ed.    978-0-545-68249-7 $16.99

D-Day marked the beginning of the end for Hitler’s stranglehold on Europe. A massive, coordinated attack that was months in the planning, Operation Overlord saw Allied forces land on five Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. Hopkinson focuses on the American efforts, and thus on the Utah and Omaha beach landings. The chaos, terror, and carnage of the latter have justifiably cemented themselves in the American consciousness. How does an author sequentially chronicle multiple, rapidly developing, and simultaneous events and maintain not just coherence, but suspense? Hopkinson (Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, rev. 3/12; Dive!: WWII Stories of Sailors and Submarines in the Pacific, rev. 9/16) employs her signature kaleidoscopic style effectively here: synthesizing complex events into a compelling narrative arc, and sampling myriad voices to add texture and color to the story, while never losing sight of the bigger picture. The compact trim size caters to the aesthetics that readers expect when reading for narrative, but doesn’t inhibit standard informational features such as the widespread use of black-and-white photographs or sidebars, reconceptualized here as short chapters loosely organized into a series of briefings (exposition of information) and dispatches (first-person accounts). A timeline, glossary, cast of characters, online and print bibliographies, source notes, and an index are also appended.

From the September/October 2018 Horn Book Magazine.

Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

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