Veterans Day 2019

Today, Veterans Day, is a good day to share books about veterans, their experiences and sacrifices, and their supportive families and communities on the homefront. These titles, both fiction and nonfiction for a range of reader ages, were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide at the time of their publication; reviews are reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Online.

 

Primary

Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta  The United States v. Jackie Robinson
40 pp.    HarperCollins/B+B    2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-06-228784-7

Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. This well-told biography relates how Jackie Robinson stood up for what was right even before he was a baseball star, including a central incident when he refused to move to the back of an army post bus in 1944. It concludes as Robinson breaks baseball's "color line" in 1947. Dramatic, expressionistic gouache illustrations offer a visual narrative that extends the text of this American story. Timeline. Bib.

 

Bruchac, Joseph  Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker's Story
32 pp.    Whitman    2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-8075-0007

Illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes. Young Chester Nez was sent to a missionary boarding school that taught English, but he ignored his teachers by retaining his native Navajo language and culture. As a soldier in World War II, Chester became one of the original Navajo code talkers, helping to defeat the Japanese. Muted illustrations enhance the informative biography. A portion of the Navajo code is appended. Timeline.

 

Dennis, Elizabeth  Fearless Flyers, Dazzle Painters, and Code Talkers!: World War I
48 pp.    Simon Spotlight    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-5344-1052-7    Paper ISBN 978-1-5344-1051-0    Ebook ISBN 978-1-5344-1053-4

Ready-to-Read: Secrets of American History series. Illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti. This engaging easy reader pairs accessible, level-appropriate prose with full-color kid-friendly illustrations to introduce exciting, lesser-known facts about World War I. Choctaw Indian code talkers, razzle dazzle painting on ships for camouflage, and the story of pilot Eugene Bullard are covered. Back matter includes further explanations, craft ideas, a section on animal heroes, and a quiz.

 

Goldstyn, Jacques  The Eleventh Hour
64 pp.    Owlkids    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-77147-348-4

Translated by Anne Louise Mahoney. Jules was born two minutes after Jim and can't shake his role as tagalong for the duration of the friends' lives, during which they join the Canadian army in 1914 and fight Germany together. French Canadian author Goldstyn, whose art has the loose-lined, urbane look of New Yorker cartoons, ingeniously blends a friendship story with a devastating tale of World War I.

 

Hagar, Erin  Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman's Land Army of America
32 pp.     Charlesbridge     2016     Trade ISBN 978-1-58089-646-7    Ebook ISBN 978-1-60734-872-6

Illustrated by Jen Hill. In 1917, college girl Helen Stevens joins the Woman's Land Army of America to "do her bit" for the war effort at the Women's Agricultural Camp in Bedford, New York. Hagar's homespun narrative uses invented dialogue and details to spotlight an important moment in feminist history. Hill's gouache illustrations are full of Rosie the Riveter–esque images in pastoral landscapes. Bib.


Hendrix, John  Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914
40 pp.    Abrams     2014     Trade ISBN 978-1-4197-1175-6

Hendrix distills the now practically mythic story of the 1914 Christmas Truce into the fictional experience of one English soldier in France writing to his mother about an unlikely day of fellowship with his German adversaries. While not shying away from war's grim realities, Hendrix's pictures go a long way toward conveying hope. A brief introduction and author's note provide context. Bib., glos., ind.


Hopkinson, Deborah  Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story
32 pp.     Putnam     2013     Trade ISBN 978-0-399-25241-9

Illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia. His mother and sister are knitting for the troops; asked to join them, Mikey proclaims: "No way! Boys don't knit." Then Mikey's teacher encourages students to participate in the Central Park Knitting Bee, and Mikey enlists his fellow boys. Heavy on olive and khaki, the illustrations indicate the WWI setting but also capitalize on white space, giving readers room to consider the book's themes.

 

Hughes, Shirley  Ruby in the Ruins
32 pp.    Candlewick    2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-9237-7

Ruby's soldier father returns home to war-ravaged London at the end of World War II. But Ruby hardly knows him and finds refuge playing with friends among the piles of rubble in her neighborhood. An injury brings Ruby and her father together, helping her realize he's still a part of her family. Large colorful pictures illustrate this family-bonding story and incorporate historical details into the visual narrative.


Kerley, Barbara  Brave like Me
48 pp.     National Geographic Books     2016     Trade ISBN 978-1-4263-2360-7    Library binding ISBN 978-1-4263-2361-4

Along with a comforting text, photos tell the stories of deployed parents and of the coping strategies of the children left behind. Men and women from many backgrounds remind readers of the variety of people who serve in this country's military. This book will open eyes to the challenges families face when parents serve far away. Back matter includes a world map. Websites.

 

Lakin, Patricia  Heroes Who Risked Everything for Freedom: Civil War
48 pp.    Simon Spotlight    2017    Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-9973-6    Paper ISBN 978-1-4814-9972-9    Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-9974-3

Ready-to-Read: Secrets of American History series. Illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti. This beginning reader introduces unconventional, heroic spies of the Civil War. Lakin's engaging, accessible prose and Fabbretti's cartoonlike illustrations tell the stories of several African American former slaves who played important roles, including Harriet Tubman, Mary Elizabeth Bowser, and Robert Smalls. Brief biographies of female soldiers, an overview of the American flag, information about ciphers, and a quiz are appended.


Lewis, J. Patrick  And the Soldiers Sang
32 pp.     Creative Editions     2011     Trade ISBN 978-1-56846-220-2

Illustrated by Gary Kelley. This picture book for middle-grade readers offers a fictionalized account of the 1914 Christmas Truce of World War I. A Welsh soldier relates how British and German troops facing each other in trenches of the Western Front ceased their fighting on Christmas Day to engage in songs and friendly games. Kelley's dark, somber pastel illustrations add intensity to this moving story.


Lewis, J. Patrick  Harlem Hellfighters
32 pp.     Creative Editions     2014     Trade ISBN 978-1-56846-246-2

Illustrated by Gary Kelley. The story of an all-black regiment is a revealing lens through which to view the Great War. Lewis brings a stark poetic sensibility to his topic; he references the irony of black men being shipped across the Atlantic, while in Kelley's atmospheric illustrations enslaved men in shackles appear out of the mist. A needed antidote to sentimental WWI books of the centennial year. Bib.


McCormick, Patricia  Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero
40 pp.     HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray     2017     Trade ISBN 978-0-06-229259-9

Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno. During the Korean War, a U.S. lieutenant purchased a scrawny, skittish racehorse to haul supplies. In straightforward text, McCormick describes the training, feeding (eggs, coffee, Coca-Cola, and whatever else could be found), and notable accomplishments of "Private (later Sergeant) Reckless." Illustrations in a palette of predominantly greens and browns employ replicas of historical artifacts to further set the scene for this engaging historical anecdote. Bib.


Messner, Kate  Rolling Thunder
32 pp.     Scholastic     2017     Trade ISBN 978-0-545-47012-4

Illustrated by Greg Ruth. In spare poetic verse, Messner pays tribute to U.S. military veterans. On his motorcycle, Vietnam veteran Grandpa meets his war buddies for the Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom demonstration. They ride into Washington, DC, where Grandpa is joined by his family at "The Wall" to honor those who lost their lives. Ruth's muted, somber illustrations capture the emotions of the experience.


Montalván, Luis Carlos  Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog
40 pp.     Roaring Brook     2014     Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-891-0

Photographs by Dan Dion. With Bret Witter. Tuesday, a golden retriever service dog, narrates this sometimes funny, sometimes hard-hitting picture book, describing how he helps take care of disabled veteran Luis. Through engaging color photographs and a clear, compelling text, the book portrays the difficulties of a vet suffering from PTSD; readers also learn fascinating facts about service dogs. An appended author's note explains more about Luis's condition and Tuesday's training.

 

Nobleman, Marc Tyler  Thirty Minutes over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story
40 pp.    Clarion    2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-544-43076-1    Ebook ISBN 978-0-544-43035-8

Illustrated by Melissa Iwai. On September 9, 1942, the Japanese dropped two bombs near Brookings, Oregon--the first attack from the air on the continental U.S. That Nobleman can tell this story more lightheartedly than not is attributable to limited damage by the bombs and the remarkable reconciliation years later between the townspeople and the Japanese pilot, Nobuo Fujita. The naturalistic cartooning of Iwai's line and watercolor illustrations serves the story's many settings. Bib.


Polacco, Patricia  Tucky Jo and Little Heart
48 pp.     Simon/Wiseman     2015     Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-1584-2    Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-1587-3

A Kentucky soldier stationed in the Philippines during WWII befriends a little girl and plays a pivotal role in helping the girl and her fellow villagers survive. Years later, veteran "Tucky Jo" and "Little Heart" meet again, and a grown-up Little Heart returns the man's kindness. Polacco's signature pencil and marker illustrations, replete with detail and emotion, accompany this moving true story.

 

Intermediate

Alberti, Enigma  Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army  
96 pp.     Workman     2018     Trade ISBN 978-0-7611-9326-5

Illustrated by Scott Wegener. Spy on History series. This novel, with occasional comics-style illustrations, covers the fascinating history of the Ghost Army: the group of American sound engineers and artists, including Sergeant Victor Dowd, that deceived the Germans in WWII by setting up elaborate fake tanks and troops. An attached envelope contains spycraft materials, which add extra hands-on appeal as readers solve a hidden mystery; historical note appended. Bib.


Boyne, John  Stay Where You Are & Then Leave
247 pp.     Holt     2014     Trade ISBN 978-1-62779-031-4

Four years ago, nine-year-old Alfie Summerfield's dad, Georgie, went off to fight in WWI. For a while, letters from Georgie came regularly. Then they stopped altogether. Now Alfie (accidentally) learns that Georgie is in a nearby hospital, suffering from shell-shock. The third-person limited narration keeps readers experiencing events solely from Alfie's intelligent but childlike point of view.

 

Brouwer, Sigmund  Innocent Heroes: Stories of Animals in the First World War
198 pp.    Tundra    2017    Trade ISBN 978-1-10191-846-3    Ebook ISBN    978-1-10191-847-0

Brouwer cleverly mingles fact and fiction in this book of interconnected stories about a fictional Canadian platoon on France's Vimy Ridge during WWI. The soldiers' harrowing experiences are mitigated by assistance from various animal heroes: carrier pigeon, cavalry horse, rat-hunting cat, and others. Each vignette is followed by brief accounts (with small photos) of real-life animals whose contributions inspired the fictional narratives. Websites. Bib., ind.

 

Doeden, Matt  D-Day Invasion
32 pp.    Lerner    2018    Library ISBN 978-1-5124-8640-7    Ebook ISBN 978-1-5124-9815-8

Kallen, Stuart A.  Navajo Code Talkers
32 pp.    Lerner    2018    Library ISBN 978-1-5124-8644-5    Ebook ISBN 978-1-5124-9818-9

Owens, Lisa L.  Attack on Pearl Harbor
32 pp.    Lerner    2018    Library ISBN 978-1-5124-8639-1    Ebook ISBN 978-1-5124-9816-5

Alternator Books: Heroes of World War II series. This series provides readers with insights beyond the usual recounting of battles and politics commonly found in juvenile WWII resources, focusing instead on more personal aspects of the war and on anecdotes of heroism. Maps and archival images enrich the clear, informative texts; periodic "Hero Highlight" and "STEM Highlight" sidebars provide interesting context and detail. Reading list, timeline, websites. Glos., ind.

 

Grossi, Craig  Craig & Fred Young Readers' Edition: A Marine, a Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other
248 pp.    HarperCollins/Harper    2017    Trade ISBN 978-0-06-269335-8

While on duty in Afghanistan, the Marine intelligence specialist author spotted an emaciated dog scavenging through rubble. Though prohibited by Marine regulations, Grossi adopted "Fred" and smuggled him back to the U.S.; Fred continues to return the favor by nurturing his owner through PTSD and depression. Grossi's conversational tone makes this inspiring memoir, here adapted for young readers, flow easily. Black-and-white snapshots are included.


Hopkinson, Deborah  Dive!: World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific
366 pp.     Scholastic    2016    Trade ISBN 978-0-5454-2558-2

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.


Levy, Debbie  Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War
80 pp.     Disney/Hyperion     2017     Trade ISBN 978-1-4847-2598-6

Illustrated by Gilbert Ford. In December 1862, Union and Confederate forces made camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Excerpts of letters home, alternating between Confederate and Union soldiers, reveal parallel hopes and fears. And the beloved song "Home Sweet Home," sung by soldiers on both sides, epitomizes that connection. Mixed-media collages layered on each page visually reinforce the theme: there can be overlapping commonalities even among enemies in war. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib.


Lewis, J. Patrick  The Navajo Code Talkers
32 pp.     Creative Editions     2016     Trade ISBN 978-1-56846-295-0

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.

 

McDonough, Yona Zeldis  Courageous: A Novel of Dunkirk
177 pp.    Scholastic    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-338-22685-0

British twelve-year-olds Aidan and Sally take Aidan's father's fishing boat and join the brigade of small civilian boats traversing the English Channel to save Allied soldiers trapped in Dunkirk. One of Aidan's brothers has been killed in the war, and another is among the troops he is trying to save. McDonough understatedly yet effectively relates the courage and resilience of the two young protagonists. Timeline. Bib., glos.


Micklos, John, Jr.  SEAL Team Six: Battling Terrorism Worldwide
32 pp.     Capstone     2017     Library ISBN 978-1-5157-3347-8    Ebook ISBN 978-1-5157-3349-2

Fact Finders: Military Heroes series. Aimed at third and fourth graders, this brief history of the elite group of Navy personnel covers the selection, training, and endurance of the few who are chosen; historic missions, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, are also touched on. Photographs and sidebars provide additional insight. "Did You Know?" comments and Common Core–linked questions extend the informative text. Reading list, timeline. Glos., ind.

 

Morpurgo, Michael  An Eagle in the Snow
135 pp.    Feiwel    2017    Trade ISBN 978-1-250-10515-8    Ebook ISBN 978-1-250-10516-5

In 1940, a young boy and his mother meet a WWI veteran who tells the haunting story of a meeting between a British and a German soldier, the latter of whom was probably the young Adolf Hitler. Morpurgo returns with another moral dilemma reflected through a compelling story based on some truth, as explained in an afterword.


Nobleman, Marc Tyler  Brave like My Brother
106 pp.     Scholastic     2016     Trade ISBN 978-0-545-88035-0

This epistolary novel explores both the challenges of war for soldier Joe and the uncertainty for his ten-year-old brother Charlie of being on the home front during WWII. Joe's letters describe life as a soldier stationed in Europe without sounding like a history book. The large font and Charlie's clear, breezy letters make this accessible to young independent readers.

 

Tubb, Kristin O'Donnell  A Dog like Daisy
186 pp.    HarperCollins/Tegen    2017    Trade ISBN 978-0-06-246324-1

With drama and humor, pit bull Daisy relates her moving journey from the pound to life as a service dog for Colonel Victor, a war veteran suffering from PTSD. This unorthodox, surprisingly believable, and sensitive fictional narrative told from Daisy's perspective follows her as she is trained to help the colonel and his family, and also deals with traumatic events in her own life (revealed via flashbacks).

 

Walker, Sally M.  Sinking the Sultana: A Civil War Story of Imprisonment, Greed, and a Doomed Journey Home
196 pp.    Candlewick    2017    Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-7755-8

On April 27, 1865, the steamboat Sultana--overcrowded with Union soldiers being transported home from POW camps--sank. The events were overshadowed by news of Lincoln's assassination. Walker digresses to discuss steamboats, POW camps, and the Civil War; it can be somewhat challenging to keep track of the various characters introduced. Numerous photographs, maps, portraits, and lithographs are interspersed. Extensive source notes are appended. Bib., ind.


Wiechman, Kathy Cannon  Like a River: A Civil War Novel
336 pp.     Boyds/Calkins     2015     Trade ISBN 978-1-62979-209-5

Fifteen-year-old soldiers Leander and Polly (disguised as "Paul") meet in a makeshift hospital in Rome, Georgia, during the Civil War and become fast friends. Individually, the characters journey through training, long marches, a stint in the Andersonville POW camp, and the explosion of the steamship Sultana. Rich historical details make this novel stand out. An author's note (with archival photos) provides background information. Bib.

 

Wilson, John  A Soldier's Sketchbook: The Illustrated First World War Diary of R.H. Rabjohn
112 pp.    Tundra    2017    Trade ISBN 978-1-77049-854-9    Ebook ISBN 978-1-77049-856-3

Wilson compiles writings and sketches done by Canadian soldier R.H. Rabjohn, a trained artist tasked with mapping trenches during the Great War. Rabjohn's realistic, in-the-moment renditions of action reveal the horrors of war; the brief diary excerpts are expanded on by Wilson to complete the poignant portrait of a young soldier in conflict. A valuable addition to the WWI record. Reading list, timeline. Ind.


Wolk, Lauren  Wolf Hollow
294 pp.     Dutton     2016     Trade ISBN 978-1-101-99482-5

In 1940s Pennsylvania, vagabond WWI vet Toby is falsely accused of attacks carried out by new-girl Betty. As the crimes become more serious, tension builds. The storytelling is dignified; the tone is memoir-ish, as narrator Annabelle (another of Betty's victims) remembers the story in the past. The portrait of sociopath Betty pulls no punches; unlikely hero Toby is a nuanced, poignant character.

 

Older

Atwood, Kathryn J.  Women Heroes of World War II: The Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival
235 pp.     Chicago     2016     Trade ISBN 978-1-61373-168-0    Ebook ISBN 978-1-61373-171-0
Cordell, M. R.  Courageous Women of the Civil War: Soldiers, Spies, Medics, and More
230 pp.     Chicago     2016    Trade ISBN 978-1-61373-200-7    Ebook ISBN 978-1-61373-203-8

Women of Action series. These are interesting collective biographies of women on the WWII Pacific front and from both sides of the American Civil War, who challenged gender stereotypes of their time. Clear narrative texts provide ample historical context along with supplemental sections and high-quality black-and-white photographs. The informative accounts include plenty of primary sources and suggested further reading for each chapter. Bib., ind.

 

Bascomb, Neal  The Grand Escape: The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century
276 pp.    Scholastic/Levine    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-338-14034-7    Ebook ISBN 978-1-338-14035-4

This gripping work of narrative nonfiction focuses on a small group of WWI prisoners of war and their astounding efforts in 1918 to tunnel out of Germany's Holzminden prison camp, a place "established to hold the most troublesome Allied officers in Germany." Plentiful black-and-white archival photos, maps, and clear diagrams of the prison camp support the meticulously researched, detailed text. Bib, ind.


Berkhout, Nina  The Mosaic
269 pp.     Groundwood     2017     Trade ISBN 978-1-55498-985-0    Ebook ISBN 978-1-55498-986-7

In small-town Montana, recently returned young veteran Gabriel is the subject of (pacifist) Twyla's senior-year community service assignment. She begins assisting him with a secret project: using ammunition to build a massive mosaic symbolizing the destruction and loss of war. When Twyla enters the mosaic in a contest, it becomes a lightning rod for war-related hatred. Berkhout's YA debut is a timely, heartfelt coming-of-age story.

 

Berry, Julie  Lovely War
500 pp.    Viking    2019    Trade ISBN 978-0-451-46993-9

After the Greek god Hephaestus catches his wife Aphrodite, goddess of love, in a passionate affair during WWII, Aphrodite defends her actions by relating--with pathos and wit--two intertwined love stories involving four mortals swept up in WWI. Masterful storyteller Berry's tight, short, descriptive chapters span years, continents, and multiple perspectives. This poignant saga will make readers by turns laugh, cry, and swoon. Extensive historical notes on WWI appended. Bib.


Collier, Peter  Choosing Courage: Inspiring Stories of What It Means to Be a Hero
226 pp.     Artisan     2015     Trade ISBN 978-1-57965-596-9

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.


Cornell, Kari  Mathew Brady Records the Civil War
112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library     2017     Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-1016-0    Ebook ISBN 978-1-6807-8801-3

Defining Images series. Cornell explores Mathew Brady's Civil War photographs and their role in the development of photojournalism. In addition to the war itself, this series installment focuses on Brady's life and career — with sections on technical and practical aspects of photography at the time — resulting in a compelling interplay of history, photography, and biography. Additional information on key photographs appended. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.


Duffy, Chris  Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics
144 pp.     Roaring Brook/First Second     2014     Trade ISBN 978-1-62672-065-7

The work of "Trench Poets" from WWI is brought vividly to life by accomplished cartoonists. This stunningly effective presentation does much to inform readers of the emotional and physical horrors of war. The volume's small format renders some of the detail difficult to decipher, but anything larger might be overwhelming. There's very mature content, especially in lyrics of soldiers' songs. Reading list.

 

Edsel, Robert M.  The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History: The Story of the Monuments Men
336 pp.    Scholastic/Focus    2019    Trade ISBN 978-1-338-25119-7    Ebook ISBN 978-1-338-25131-9

This scholarly book (based primarily on Edsel's adult volume The Monuments Men) tells of the men (and one woman) who risked their lives on the front lines of WWII to preserve priceless art and buildings from destruction and looting. Despite being packed with photos and reproductions, the complex and specific subject matter, along with the dense prose, make this young-readers volume feel very adult. Bib., glos., ind.

 

Flores-Scott, Patrick  American Road Trip
330 pp.    Holt/Ottaviano    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-62779-741-2
Mexican American teen Teodoro's older brother, Manny, returns from war in Iraq shattered by PTSD. Though this family crisis disrupts T's otherwise on-track life, he goes along with his older sister's plan for a sibling road trip in search of healing for Manny. The narrative contains dark subject matter, but T's first-person narration helps keep the mood optimistic and even funny at times. Websites.

 

Goldsmith, Connie  Dogs at War: Military Canine Heroes
104 pp.    Twenty-First Century    2017    Library ISBN 978-1-5124-1012-9    Ebook ISBN 978-1-5124-2852-0

Goldsmith chronicles the use of dogs in military operations throughout history, the rigorous training of military working dogs (MWD), and the attributes soldiers must adopt to become handlers. The accounts of devotion and loyalty between dogs and their handlers are especially engaging. Small photographs and sidebars help break up the densely packed, tiny-type text. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.

 

Grant, Michael  Purple Hearts: A Front Lines Novel
558 pp.  HarperCollins/Tegen    2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-06-234221-8

Frangie (medic), Rio (infantry), and Rainy (intelligence) face the ultimate battle at Omaha Beach on D-Day in this finale to Grant's powerful alternate-history series that places women in WWII combat. Through the desperate final days of the war, all three heroines must tap their reserves of strength and bravery. Well-written characters and meticulous attention to detail make for a harrowing but satisfying conclusion. Bib., glos.

 

Gratz, Alan  Grenade
270 pp.    Scholastic    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-338-24569-1    Ebook ISBN 978-1-338-24571-4

Alternating chapters relate the 1945 invasion of Okinawa from the perspectives of Hideki Kaneshiro, a fourteen-year-old conscript in the Japanese army, and young American Marine Ray Majors--until a climactic confrontation leaves Ray dead. Horrified, Hideki embarks on a perilous trek to find his sister and get them both to safety. The plot is suspenseful and the characters sympathetic; the unique Okinawan lens makes this WWII novel especially notable. Glos.

 

Hopkinson, Deborah  D-Day: The World War II Invasion That Changed History
375 pp.    Scholastic/Focus    2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-545-68248-0    Ebook ISBN 978-0-545-68249-7

Focusing on the Utah and Omaha beach landings, Hopkinson employs her signature kaleidoscopic style--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. Short chapters are loosely organized into a series of briefings (exposition of information) and dispatches (first-person accounts), and black-and-white photographs appear throughout. Timeline. Bib., glos., ind.

 

Hopkinson, Deborah  How I Became a Spy: A Mystery of WWII London
264 pp.    Knopf    2019    Trade ISBN 978-0-399-55706-4    Library ISBN 978-0-399-55707-1    Ebook ISBN 978-0-399-55708-8

In 1944 London, thirteen-year-old Bertie Bradshaw finds himself in the middle of espionage and intrigue, racing against the clock to unmask a Nazi double agent before WWII's top-secret D-Day operation commences. With red herrings, ciphers to decode, a subplot about a Jewish refugee, and cameos by real-life historical figures, there's never a dull moment. Back matter includes a "roster of terms, events, and historical figures" and solutions to the ciphers.

 

Hughes, Dean  Four-Four-Two
268 pp.     Atheneum     2016     Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-6252-5    Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-6254-9

In 1942, Yuki and his siblings, all American citizens, are deported with their mother to the Topaz internment camp. Yet Yuki joins the army because he believes it's the only way he'll "ever be respected in this country." Events, characters, and dialogue create an indelible sense of time and place. Yuki emerges as a true hero during a dark period of American history.


Johnson, Brian David and Egleson, Jan  MWD: Hell Is Coming Home
160 pp.     Candlewick     2017     Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-5706-2

Illustrated by Laila Milevski and Karl Stevens. A military dog handler is sent home to New Hampshire after being injured in an insurgent attack in which dog Ender saved her life. This graphic novel offers a poignant — and very adult — look at contemporary veterans' issues as Liz tries to cope with physical and emotional scars while readjusting to civilian society. The grayscale art seems to shift stylistically with Liz's mood.


Katz, Gwen C.  Among the Red Stars
376 pp.     HarperTeen     2017     Trade ISBN 978-0-06-264274-5    Ebook ISBN 978-0-06-264276-9

This highly readable novel illuminates the story of the Soviet Union's famed WWII squadrons of airwomen, the "Night Witches." For bomber pilot Valka, Nazi fire, terrible weather, darkness, the loss of comrades, and worry for her sweetheart in the infantry all exercise her aeronautical and emotional resources. Katz is skillfully informative, interweaving historical figures and facts without losing emotional propulsion and suspense.

 

Lynch, Chris  Unconventional Warfare
166 pp.    Scholastic    2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-545-86162-5

Special Forces series. After stealing a motorcycle, pugnacious high-schooler Daniel is given the option of enlisting in the army as a Special Forces agent fighting a secret mission in Laos during the Vietnam War. Lynch squeezes too many conveniences (e.g., Daniel's supportive high-school wrestling coach is his commanding officer) into this otherwise moving story about family dynamics, war heroics, and maturation under fire.

 

Martin, Iain  In Harm's Way: JFK, World War II, and the Heroic Rescue of PT 109
256 pp.    Scholastic    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-338-18567-6    Ebook ISBN 978-1-338-18569-0

Martin provides a fast-paced account of JFK's heroic actions as commander of a patrol torpedo boat attacked by a Japanese destroyer in 1943. Exceptionally well-researched and -written, the book dramatically portrays Kennedy's courageous efforts to protect his badly injured crew. Captioned archival photos of the Kennedy family and of JFK as a naval skipper are included, in addition to fascinating WWII "Facts and Trivia" sidebars. Reading list. Bib., glos., ind.

 

Mitchell, Don  The Lady Is a Spy: Virginia Hall, World War II Hero of the French Resistance
267 pp.    Scholastic/Focus    2019    Trade ISBN 978-0-545-93612-5

The incredible life and achievements of American-born spy Virginia Hall is relayed in exciting detail in this volume. During WWII Hall worked as an undercover agent for both Britain and the U.S. and worked closely with the French Resistance. Her daring exploits will thrill young history buffs and those interested in real-life spy stories. Extensive notes are appended, and photographs are frequent throughout. Bib., ind.

 

Mundy, Liza  Code Girls: Young Readers Edition: The True Story of the American Women Who Secretly Broke Codees in World War II
321 pp.    Little    2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-316-35373    Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-35374-8

Adapted by Laurie Calkhoven. This teen adaptation of Mundy's adult book reveals the largely untold story of thousands of talented young women recruited to work as code breakers during WWII. While it's difficult to follow the large cast of characters--and the highly technical explanations of the code-breaking process--the women's unique opportunity and subsequent achievements are fascinating, inspiring examples of unsung heroism. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., glos., ind.

 

Myers, Walter Dean  Invasion  
218 pp.     Scholastic     2013     Trade ISBN 978-0-545-38428-5

When Josiah "Woody" Wedgwood enlists in the army, he harbors only vague ideas about the nature of war. But when he lands on the beach during the invasion of Normandy, the reality of battle hits him. Myers delivers both brutal battle scenes and wartime musings vividly through Woody's matter-of-fact observations as his ragged battalion fights its way through France.


Partridge, Elizabeth  Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam
214 pp.     Viking     2018    Trade ISBN 978-0-670-78506-3    Ebook ISBN 978-0-425-29178-8

Partridge's indispensable volume about the Vietnam War employs a powerfully moving structure that sends readers back and forth between America and Vietnam over a twenty-year period. Each chapter centers on an individual affected: Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon; Martin Luther King Jr.; Maya Lin; etc., alternating with eight people (seven veterans, one Vietnamese refugee) Partridge interviewed. Ample direct quotes and carefully researched details, along with spectacular photographs, bring the war close. Bib., ind.

 

Perritano, John  John McCain: An American Hero
188 pp.    Sterling    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-4549-3135-5

Perritano's account of U.S. Senator John McCain's life until his brain cancer diagnosis focuses most thoroughly on his pre-politician years and draws liberally from McCain's own writings. The author extolls McCain's commitment to integrity, courage, and love of country throughout his naval career; Vietnam imprisonment; U.S. Congress tenure; and bid for the presidency. The readable text is enhanced with numerous photographs. Timeline. Bib., ind.


Shepard, Ray Anthony  Now or Never!: 54th Massachusetts Infantry's War to End Slavery
144 pp.     Boyds/Calkins     2017     Trade ISBN 978-1-62979-340-5    Ebook ISBN 978-1-62979-916-2

This dual biography follows Civil War soldiers George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding, who enlisted in the Union's first all-black regiment. The men were also war correspondents, carefully documenting racial bias, unfair laws, and unequal pay for African American soldiers. Shepard's narrative, accompanied by archival photographs, provides insight into the enduring struggles for racial equality following the Emancipation Proclamation. Reading list, timeline. Bib., ind.

 

Strasser, Todd  Price of Duty
179 pp.    Simon    2018    Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-9709-1    Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-9711-4

Wounded in action--and in line for a prestigious Silver Star--Jake Liddell is home recovering before finishing his tour. Gradually revealed in flashback chapters, the horrors of war have left Jake disillusioned about military life, especially now that an intrepid high-school journalist wants his participation in a critical documentary. A timely, relevant critique of the American war machine and its dependence on idealistic and vulnerable young people.

 

Wein, Elizabeth  A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
388 pp.    HarperCollins/B+B    2019    Trade ISBN 978-0-06-245301-3    Ebook ISBN 978-0-06-245304-4

Consummate historical-fiction writer Wein here exercises her considerable skill as researcher, historian, and storyteller in a capacious history of the USSR’s three regiments of airwomen during WWII. Wein takes us deep into the training, daily lives, combat, and intense personal commitment these women experienced throughout the war. An easy, friendly writing style invites readers into the company of a formidable sisterhood. Illustrated throughout with maps and period photographs. Bib., ind.

Horn Book
Horn Book

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