Review of The Sky We Shared

The Sky We Shared The Sky We Shared
by Shirley Reva Vernick
Intermediate    Cinco Puntos/Lee & Low    256 pp.    g
6/22    978-1-947627-52-9    $22.95
e-book ed.  978-1-947627-54-3    $22.95

Vernick’s absorbing historical World War II novel alternates between the perspectives of two teenage girls: Nellie Doud in Oregon and Tamiko Nakaoka in Japan. Nellie misses her Pa, who’s in the service; has a crush on friend and neighbor Joey, whose brother was recently killed in action; and narrowly escapes being killed by the Japanese bomb that takes six lives in her small town. Orphan Tamiko worries about her older brother when he joins the Imperial Army; is initially excited when the girls at her school are enlisted to help the emperor; then survives terrible conditions while making paper for the balloons that will carry bombs to America. Both girls just want the war to be over, and both think deeply about the complexities of blame, guilt, forgiveness, and compassion while navigating their own country’s racist propaganda. Readers may want to follow up this engrossing novel with Tanya Lee Stone’s Peace Is a Chain Reaction (rev. 9/22); each book greatly enhances the other. (Marc Tyler Nobleman’s earlier picture book Thirty ­Minutes over Oregon, rev. 11/18, covers similar material for younger readers.) Appended are extensive notes on the true events behind the story, further information about World War II, research sources, and a glossary.

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jennifer M. Brabander

Jennifer M. Brabander is former senior editor of The Horn Book Magazine. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature from Simmons University.

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