World War II: Fiction

 Whether flying secret missions, trying to avoid capture by the Nazis, or tracking spies, fiction brings the people and events of World War II’s European front to life. These titles, published since 2010, have great appeal.
(Other recent titles about World War II in Fact and Fiction can be found in our 2012 Memorial Day and 2011 Veterans’ Day lists.)
Web links to additional information and activities about World War II follow these reviews.
Contributor: Peg Glisson

 
 
 

Reviews

The Auslander
Paul Dowswell

Piotr, a Polish orphan, is reclaimed by the Nazis due to his classically Nordic features. Back in Berlin, the Nazis give the newly christened Peter everything he could want: a new family and friends, exciting activities in the Hitler Youth, and continual praise. Initially grateful for his good fortune, his conscience and connection to a freethinking girl eventually force Peter to turn his back on his new homeland. The novel’s two part structure–Peter’s troubled indoctrination into the Hitler Youth followed by his experience in the resistance–roughly corresponds to a division in its quality. In the first half, Dowswell acutely portrays Peter’s psychological struggle, trying to balance his personal ethics with the attractions of the Hitler Youth. The nonfiction writer in Dowswell tends to lay on factual information in thick slabs, but rather than being obtrusive, the facts serve to reinforce the drama, and the sometimes crude texturing of these passages gives the narrative a strange immediacy. Once Peter resolves his interior struggle by joining the resistance, however, Dowswell seems to lose the thread. Not only is the story more familiar, but the psychological realism and prose both decline in quality. Nevertheless, the first half is strong enough to forgive the more mundane conclusion; it is rare for a writer to confront so forthrightly the very real attractions and humanity of the Nazis, and Dowswell’s treatment of this issue is tremendous. Despite its flaws, this novel may well find a place alongside the great World War II YA novels. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses). 2011, Bloomsbury, Ages 12 to 18, $17.99.

REVIEWER: Mark Flowers (VOYA).

ISBN: 9781599906331

A Bag of Marbles
Joseph Joffo

This graphic-novel adaptation of Joseph Joffo’s 1973 memoir recounts the experiences of the Joffos, a Jewish family that tried to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in occupied France. Mr. Joffo, a successful barber, at first placates the occupying soldiers who frequent his establishment, but this doesn’t last, and the pragmatic Joffo sends his two youngest sons, Jo and Maurice, off to join their older brothers in the free zone. His faith in the stamina and smarts of the two boys is justified; they’re careful with their money, wary of giving themselves away, and circumspect with their trust. After the boys begin going to school, working, and enjoying “precious freedom” in Menton, news arrives that their parents have been arrested by authorities, and now family life turns into a serious game of cat and mouse. Their older brother manages to free his parents, but a summons to “compulsory work service” puts them on the run again, and Mr. Joffo splits the family into three teams of two to evade the Nazis. The focus remains steadily on Jo and Maurice, whose cleverness and good luck pull them through close calls on trains, at work, in a boys’ camp, and even in jail until the family reunites at the end of the war in Paris all but the good-natured Mr. Joffo, who cheerfully rallied his family to safety but couldn’t save himself. Dense watercolor and scratchy line artwork is strongly reminiscent of Mordicai Gerstein, and careful attention to geographic detail lends immediacy to the boys’ odyssey. A map, glossary, and historical note (as well as footnoted translations) are included, but the brothers’ exploits alone make a thrilling story that needs little pedagogical support. Review Code: R — Recommended. Graphic Universe, Grades 6-10, $29.27.

REVIEWER: Elizabeth Bush (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books).

ISBN: 9781467707008

Caleb’s Wars
David L. Dudley

For Caleb, being a black teenager in 1940s Georgia means that he is in the midst of several wars: certainly, he is affected by the world war that his brother is off training to fight in, but more immediate to his experience are the wars between him and his overbearing father, who won’t treat him like an adult, and between him and the white boys in his town, who expect him to act like slavery never ended. At his mother’s urging and to his father’s great disappointment, he gets baptized, and when he emerges from the water, he hears a voice that he figures must belong to God. During this eventful summer, he defies his father and gets a job in town, only to find himself working with an enemy a German POW and he discovers a spiritual gift for healing that he tries to keep secret. The basics of the story suggest similarities to Greene’s classic Summer of My German Soldier, but, with its focus on spirituality and ironies of relative privilege, this is a very different book. It’s also more an open-ended episode in a young man’s life than a tightly plotted novel; many things happen, but few are resolved. Caleb’s character is deftly and realistically drawn; with his turbulent teenage emotions and his inability to conceptualize consequences, he does some pretty stupid things that are, in the end, validated as necessary resistance to the tyranny of racism that grips his town and time. His status as an imperfect vessel for such a powerful spiritual gift gives hope for readers struggling with their own faith in circumstances where anger at injustice outweighs patience and charity. Review Code: R — Recommended. 2011, Clarion, Grades 6-9, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Karen Coats (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books).

ISBN: 9780547239972

City of Spies
Susan Kim
Illustrated by Pascal Dizin

This graphic novel takes the kid detective genre to the world of WWII espionage. In this case, the role of Nancy Drew is being played by Evelyn, a 10-year-old girl who’s recently come to live with her free-spirited aunt in New York City. Imaginative and bored, Evelyn and her friend Tony see spies everywhere, with decidedly mixed results. Unlike the Hardy Boys or Boxcar Children, they don’t always get it right, and their false alarm about a surly doorman makes for embarrassing headlines. Eventually, they do happen upon a real Nazi spy, and they’re off on an exciting adventure, hiding in bakery vans, sneaking into parties, and decoding secret messages with a little help from Evelyn’s Aunt Lia and a friendly policeman. The writers manage the difficult trick of writing real children into a terrific adventure story, and the book is completely age-appropriate without ever talking down to its readers. Dizin’s loopily expressive art has a period feel while still looking fresh and kid-friendly. His work on “Zirconium Man and Scooter,” Evelyn’s comic about herself and her absent father as superheroes, is particularly charming. City of Spies is a good old-fashioned adventure story and rip-roaring fun. Ages 12-up.

REVIEWER: Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly).

ISBN: 9781596432628

Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein

Tension builds from the first line that Julie Beaufort-Stuart (code name Verity) writes after she is taken prisoner by the Gestapo in France. A small gesture led to her capture and now she is writing to extend her life. Torture, and the mere threat of torture, plays a part in this tale, and Julie recounts that in her writings. She has promised to tell all she knows about the British War effort. What’s more, she knows the gruesome death that awaits secret agents. Her wartime friendship with Maddie Brodatt and how their plane was shot and crashed are recounted in the notes she makes. The second half of the story is told from Maddie’s perspective, and the two friends find themselves back together in a stunning conclusion. This World War II novel is rich in discussion material: the setting; the characters; and the themes of heroes and cowards, friendship and hatred, irony, truth, and more. Nothing is quite as simple as it seems, however. Wein deftly weaves their gritty, compelling, complex story, which lingers long after the last page is read. 2012, Hyperion/Disney, Ages 14 up. $16.99.

REVIEWER: Sharon Salluzzo (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781423152194

Hero on a Bicycle
Shirley Hughes

Many teen and middle-school readers will know Hughes, twice winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, as a prolific illustrator and author of picture books like Dogger and the “Alfie” series. As she explains in her introduction, this is Hughes’s first novel, inspired by a Florentine family she met on a visit shortly after World War II. For young readers who enjoy historical fiction or are curious about that war, thirteen-year-old hero Paolo and his family star in a tale both exciting and thoughtful. (It turns out that his indispensable bicycle and beloved dog Guido are heroes, too.) Under Nazi occupation in 1944, Florence is experiencing hunger, fear, and for Paolo, his English mother, and sister Constanza (who live outside the city), boredom and anxiety about their father–gone to fight with partisans. Riding out at night on his bicycle, seeking diversion in the streets and eventually in the hills, Paolo encounters ruthless partisans and their leader Il Volpe, the fox. The action quickly escalates as Hughes introduces well-realized and believable characters: Constanza’s Fascist friend Hilaria; Helmut, an attractive young German officer; British David and Canadian Joe, escaped prisoners the family is forced to hide till partisans can move them on. Especially wrenching are searches of their villa by the Gestapo, a tender and tentative romance between Constanza and Joe, and a scene in a nearby village, where a German firing squad plans to execute Il Volpe. Each character has complex motivations and emotions–readers will discover that few are completely good or evil, even in wartime. From a rather expository beginning, Hughes raises the tension, the stakes, and the horrors of war to a triumphant climax and an ending offering relief and hope for the future–creating as well a poignant coming-of-age story for both Paolo and Constanza. 2013 (orig. 2012), Candlewick, Ages 11 to 18, $15.99.

REVIEWER: Barbara L. Talcroft (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780763660376

I Will Come Back for You: A Family in Hiding During World War II
Marisabina Russo

A little girl learns about the bracelet her Nonna never takes off: Each charm represents a piece of the story telling what happened to Nonna’s family, Jews living in Italy, during World War II. They left Rome to stay with friends in the county and be near Nonna’s father, who’d been detained nearby by the Nazis. When word came that Jews were going to be sent away, the family escaped with the help of friends. Nonna, her mother, and brother spent most of the war in hiding on a farm. Nonna’s father joined the resistance and was later killed. Nonna conveys the events to her granddaughter with honest sensitivity in Marisabina Russo’s tender story based on the experiences of her mother, who became a partisan like her husband the father in the story. Russo provides more details about her mother’s real story in an afterword that, along with the family photographs gracing the endpapers, heightens the poignancy of this picture book. CCBC Category: Historical People, Places, and Events. 2011, Schwartz & Wade, Ages 5-9, $17.99.

REVIEWERS: CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices).

ISBN: 9780375866951

Invasion

Walter Dean Myers

In this prequel to Fallen Angels (BCCB 4/88), Myers follows narrator Josiah “Woody” Wedgewood as his Army unit prepares to storm Omaha Beach in June of 1944. On hiatus from college to “do his duty,” Woody is an acquaintance of Marcus Perry from his hometown of Bedford, Virginia, but although their paths cross in Normandy, skin color dictates their disparate views of the action. Perry, whose son and nephew will figure in Myers’s later chronological novels, is black and relegated to transport services; Woody is white and is flung headlong into the crossfire, scrambling inland from the beach landing, fighting for position across dense hedgerows and open fields, and ultimately helping to take the coveted town of St. Lo, which has been effectively demolished by the time they stake their claim. Again, Myers undertakes the onerous challenge of putting “a face on war that reveals its horrors, but in a way that doesn’t repulse the reader,” as he states in his informative but heartfelt author’s note. He ably conveys Woody’s distorted sense of time and territory and how little land the Allied forces actually gain over weeks of brutal battle, and he balances the action scenes with quieter moments of equal power, such as when Woody takes part in prisoner interrogations that reveal an enemy as terrified and confused about the value of the mission as he is himself. Certainly established fans of Fallen Angels (BCCB 4/88) and Sunrise over Fallujah (BCCB 5/08) will scoop up this latest title, but a new generation of YA readers can now begin their six-decade march from Europe to the Middle East and ponder how little has changed. Review Code: R — Recommended. 2013, Scholastic, Grades 7-10, $17.99.

REVIEWER: Elizabeth Bush (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books).

ISBN: 9780545384285

The Lily Pond
Annika Thor

Translated from the Swedish by Linda Schenck
Stephie Steiner and her sister are Jewish refugees who have escaped from Nazi-occupied Vienna to Sweden. They are separated from their parents, who are trapped in Austria. Through the kindness of her foster parents and others, Stephie is allowed to make a temporary home for herself in Sweden and enroll in school. But nothing about her new life in Sweden is ordinary. Faced with prejudice, inside the schoolroom and out, she finds that friends and enemies are difficult to identify. And her love for Sven, an eighteen-year-old political activist, complicates her life in ways that she could never have imagined. This book tells the story of Stephie as she copes with guilt over the fate of her parents, fear for her own future, and confusion about the class struggles of people around her. It is a powerful story of a young teenager who, in addition to dealing with her own emotions, must also cope with the dangers of a world in the midst of war. This is the second book in a planned four-part series. While reading the first book, A Faraway Island, would enrich one’s reading experience, the second book can be read on its own without any problem. The story is told in third-person, and in the present tense. Although the use of the present tense can be jarring, it is clear that the author has chosen it to convey the urgency of her story. The characters are believable, and the setting is compelling. Because of the multiple themes (first love, separation, anti-Semitism, and class injustice), this book has a broad appeal to both young and older teens. It is safe to say that readers will not be able to put this book down, and will no doubt be anticipating the next installment. 2011, Delacorte Press/Random House, Ages 12 to 18., $16.99.

REVIEWER: Leona Illig (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780385740395

My Family for the War
Anne C. Voorhoeve
Translated by Tammi Reichel

Raised Protestant, ten-year-old Ziskla is a hereditary Jew living in Germany in 1938. With Nazi persecution intensifying, her family is able get her on a Kindertransport to Britain. Ziskla can’t believe her mother has sent her away, and feels guilty that her best friend, Bekka, did not get chosen to go as well. In London, she moves in with the Shepards, an Orthodox Jewish family. Parents Amanda and Matthew and teenage Gary are wonderful to Ziskla, now Frances, but this proves a challenge, too: She feels conflicted about religion as she learns more about Judaism, and guilty about loving Amanda, who is so warm, unlike her own mother. The tension of feeling torn between two families one of whose fate is unknown for much of the story is beautifully developed in Anne C. Voorhoeve’s arresting novel that spans the years of the war. The story is grounded in characters and relationships, but also in details of time, place, and feeling. Sometimes funny, often deeply moving, one memorable scene after another describes Frances’s life as a refugee on the home front in Britain as she wrestles with questions of family, religion, and identity, and the capacity of humans to be so cruel, and also love so deeply. CCBC Category: Fiction for Young Adults. 2012, Dial, Age 13 and older., $17.99.

REVIEWER: CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices).

ISBN: 9780803733602

The Midnight Zoo
Sonya Hartnett
Illustrated by Andrea Offermann

In exquisitely poetic prose, Australian author Hartnett, winner of the 2008 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for the body of her work in children’s literature, weaves one of the saddest and bleakest stories yet offered to young readers. Two brothers, twelve-year-old Andrej and nine-year-old Tomas, wander alone through a war-devastated landscape after German soldiers brutally attack their Romany (Gypsy) encampment. With them they tote a forlorn bundle: their infant baby sister. Traveling only by night, the three children come upon an abandoned zoo of caged creatures: wolf, eagle, monkey, bear, lioness, seal, kangaroo, llama, chamois, and boar. These animals are able to speak–the children’s slain Uncle Marin once told them that “Animals know things you can’t imagine. And they know how to keep a secret.” These animals know unimaginable sorrow and loss, and they share their stories with the children who also know grief beyond bearing. Page after page shimmers with hauntingly beautiful descriptions of the moonlit night: “Darkness was thrown over the village like a sorcerer’s cloak;” “Broken glass glittered on every surface, like fireflies caught in an appalling web;” moonlight “draped the grass like a frayed sheet of linen;” the moon “now seemed made of the dullest cloth.” But the pain of the stories told here–tales of senseless slaughter, tales of vengeful slaughter, and tales of endless slaughter–remains without any but imaginary, and impossible, redemption. 2011 (orig. 2010), Candlewick, Ages 9 to 12, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Claudia Mills, Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780763653392

Once
Morris Gleitzman

After three years and eight months in an orphanage in the mountains, Felix finds a whole carrot in his soup–an extreme rarity. Believing the carrot is a message from his parents, he embarks on a journey through Nazi-occupied Poland to his former home. Unfortunately Felix has not been educated about the Nazi sentiment toward people of Jewish descent, and when he sees the Nazis burning books, he assumes their hatred is directed at booksellers. When he finally arrives in his hometown, he learns that everything has changed and a new family is living in his house. A courageous man named Barney appears to rescue Felix and brings him to a cellar to hide with other children. Barney is willing to sacrifice his safety, yet he cannot save the children from the trains that will carry them to the camps. It is not until the middle of the book that Felix begins to realize the Nazis do not hate Jewish books but Jewish people. Felix’s naivete will likely remind readers of the narrator of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by Boyne (David Fickling Books/Random House, 2006/VOYA December 2006); despite the similarities, the first-person narrative is distinct, and Felix’s journey will be a uniquely moving one for readers. The son of booksellers, Felix reveals his joy for storytelling in the way he crafts a beautiful narrative despite the gruesomeness of his surroundings. Even in the end, he maintains that he has been lucky for all the moments of delight he has felt, if only once. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing). 2010, Henry Holt, Ages 11 to 15, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Amy Wyckoff (VOYA).

ISBN: 9780805090260

Resistance
Carla Jablonski
Illustrated by Leland Purvis

While World War II is a popular topic for many American historical fiction novels, most books focus on Jewish experience during the Holocaust or big events such as the attack on Pearl Harbor or the Battle of the Bulge. Many other battles have escaped popular literature, however, and it is one of these battles that writer Carla Jablonski and artist Leland Purvis choose to focus on in Resistance Book 1, a fictional account of one French family’s experiences in the French Resistance. Although his small village in the south of France is technically in “free” territory, young Paul can see things changing by 1942. More German soldiers are patrolling their area, and he can hear his family whisper about terrible things happening outside the country. When the parents of Paul’s Jewish friend Henri are taken by the Germans, Henri and his sister Marie decide to hide Henri in their wine caves, only to be discovered by a French Resistance fighter. Realizing that children may be able to acquire information without raising suspicion, the Resistance recruits the siblings by asking them to pass secret messages and make sketches of the German’s movements. As the danger of the Germans discovering Henri increases, however, Paul asks the Resistance to help Henri reunite with his parents in Paris, causing all the kids to take a dangerous journey through Nazi-occupied France. An absorbing fictional account of an aspect of World War II that has not received much attention in the U.S., Resistance Book 1 also uses creative graphic-novel techniques to enhance the story by splicing the regular art with Paul’s sketches of the fearful and angry faces of the people in his village to showcase his impression of the war and its effects. Jablonski ends the graphic novel with an insightful essay that examines many of the realities of the French Resistance and the tough decisions that came with living in an occupied country–decisions that will undoubtedly be explored in the next book in the “Resistance” series. 2010, First Second/Roaring Brook Press, Ages 8 to 12, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Michael Jung, Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9781596432918

Rose Under Fire
Elizabeth Wein

In this companion novel to the best-selling Code Name Verity (Hyperion, 2012/Voya April 2012), Wein returns to the World War II setting, but this time focuses primarily on a single character–Rose Justice–who is captured by the Nazis. Rose Under Fire is the harrowing story of her fight to survive in Ravensbruck–a women’s concentration camp. This novel picks up eight months after the end of Code Name Verity. Rose is an American pilot and friends with Maddie, who is still struggling with the death of her best friend, Queenie. Although Rose Under Fire could be read on its own, readers who are already connected to the beloved characters by having read the first book will have an immediate connection to Rose, and will be more quickly drawn into the story. Rose details most of her experiences in journal format, as did Queenie, but also frames much of her tale around snippets of poetry, some of which she writes herself. Descriptions of camp life, in particular the horrific treatment of the “rabbits”–prisoners that were tortured under the guise of medical experimentation–are vividly and brutally detailed. Supporting characters, including the villains, are fully drawn and multidimensional; Wein never reduces them to simple stereotypes. Rose Under Fire is possibly more straight-forward and faster-paced than Code Name Verity, but it also packs an even greater emotional punch. At once heartbreaking and hopeful, Rose Under Fire will stay with readers long after they have finished the last page. VOYA CODES: 5Q 5P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday). 2013, Hyperion, Ages 12 to 18, $17.99.

REVIEWER: Sara Martin (VOYA).

ISBN: 9781423183099

Saving Zasha
Randi G. Barrow

Set in Russia at the end of World War II, brothers Mikhail and Nikolai stumble upon an injured man in the forest near their farm one day. With the man is the most beautiful German Shepherd Mikhail has ever seen. The boys know they must help this man, but they also understand that all things German, even dogs, are considered dangerous and unwanted. The boys are determined to protect this dog. When the dog’s owner dies of his wounds, Mikhail’s mother decides they must take the man into town, but they decide not tell the police about his dog, Zasha. Hiding Zasha proves to be difficult. Mikhail and his family do not anticipate thieves roaming about, or the appearance of Mikhail’s classmate, Katia, who seems to be lurking about their farm, asking questions. It is only when Mikhail meets Dimitri, a former soldier, who has been assigned the task of raising and breeding dogs for a Russian “superdog” that Mikhail begins to believe that perhaps Zasha will be safe from harm. Told without any graphic images of violence, this book tells a wonderful story of a family, their love of a dog and their desire to keep the dog safe. The authors’ notes at the end of the novel share some history of the breeding of the “superdog,” the Black Russian Terrier. Dog lovers will thoroughly enjoy this novel and certainly be interested in learning more about the Russian “superdog” on their own. 2011, Scholastic Press, $16.99. Ages 9 to 13.

REVIEWER: Jody Little (Children’s Literature).

ISBN: 9780545206327

Shadow on the Mountain
Margi Preus

Newbery Honor winner Preus (Heart of a Samurai) delivers a riveting story about teenage freedom fighters in WWII Norway. Espen and the other members of his soccer team hope to continue to enjoy the game they love following the Nazi invasion, but both Espen’s teammates and rivals are soon pulled into the resistance movement as rations are cut and their families assaulted. Espen is drafted to be a courier for the resistance, while his younger sister, Ingrid, starts sneaking ration cards to starving Norwegians. Preus ably develops a large cast of characters, rendering them with persuasive vulnerabilities and showing how each is transformed by the war. Espen’s skiing missions for the resistance combine the thrilling aspects of an outdoor adventure story with political peril and the threat of violence. An author’s note with photographs of the real-life inspiration for Espen, Erling Storrusten (as well as appendices on code breaking and invisible ink), bring the truth behind the powerful story into startling focus. 2012, Amulet/Abrams, Ages 10 to14, $16.95.

REVIEWER: Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly).

ISBN: 9781419704246

Soldier Bear
Bibi Dumon Tak
Illustrated by Philip Hopman
Translated by Laura Watkinson

During World War II, a Polish supply unit serving in Iran encountered a young boy who asked if they would trade food and money for what he was carrying in a squirming burlap bag. They opened the bag to reveal a bear cub, and the soldiers readily agreed to the trade. They named the little bear Voytek and took him into their unit as a mascot. Voytek traveled with them everywhere they went, quickly winning over even the most hardened officers with his amusing antics. He was even officially sworn into the Polish Army as a private. As he grew, the bear not only entertained the soldiers by getting into mischief, he also lifted their spirits and raised morale in the midst of war’s harsh realities. With a pitch-perfect storytelling voice, this short, poignant novel remarkably recreates a time and a place, and is all the more unusual because it’s based on something that actually happened. Black-and-white photographs accompany an author’s note at the end, showing us the real Voytek and some of the men with whom he served. CCBC Category: Fiction for Children. 2011, Eerdmans, Ages 7-10, $13.00.

REVIEWER: CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices).

ISBN: 9780802853752

Then
Morris Gleitzman

In a continuation of the story the author began with Once (U.S. edition: Henry Holt, 2010), Felix, a ten-year-old Jewish boy, and six-year-old Zelda, the orphaned daughter of Nazis killed by the Polish resistance, have just escaped a train bound for the death camps. Having seen the atrocities committed by the Nazis, Zelda is so ashamed of her parents that she feels contempt for them, and recognizes Felix as her only true family now. The two are taken in by a Polish farm woman who passes them off as relatives, but they all live in constant fear that Felix’s true identity will be revealed. As the narrator, Felix’s voice, is both old and innocent. He and Zelda are children, but children who have seen and experienced too many horrible things. The author does not shy away from revealing the horrors experienced by both children and adults during the Holocaust, but along with this is the characters’ strong will to survive. This gripping short novel is hard to put down, and hard to forget. CCBC Category: Fiction for Young Adults. 2011, Henry Holt, Ages 11-14, $16.99.

REVIEWER: CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices).

ISBN: 9780805090277

A Time for War
M. Zachary Sherman
Illustrated by Fritz Casas
Colored by Marlon Ilagan

Each volume in the series Bloodlines follows a member of the Donovan family during their military career in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or Afghanistan War. In A Time for War, the first volume in the series, Private First Class Mike Donovan is part of a group of paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines on a mission to disrupt Hitler’s army and German supply lines one month before D-Day. There are problems with his landing, and he becomes separated from his unit. While hiding in an abandoned German farmhouse, PFC Donovan is spotted and shot at by German soldiers. Luckily, members of his unit and his sergeant rescue him just in time. Donovan rejoins his unit, and they continue the mission. As the fighting intensifies, Donovan becomes apprehensive about his role in the war, his sergeant reassures him, and PFC Donovan finds the courage to fulfill his role on the team. Authored by Zachary Sherman, a Navy Seal and the great-grandson of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, the books in this series are fast paced and full of action. The short chapters are illustrated with full-color, cartoon-type panels. Interspersed throughout the book are nonfiction “debriefings” that offer illuminating information on various aspects of the war and war machinery. This series will work well with middle school boys, as well as older reluctant readers. (Bloodlines) VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written). 2011, Stone Arch, Ages 11 to 18, $23.32.

REVIEWER: Charla Hollingsworth (VOYA).

ISBN: 9781434225580

Updated 05/01/14

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