Sunday, July 15, 2018

~ MMGM HISTORICAL FICTION CODE WORD COURAGE ~

~ MIDDLE-GRADE HISTORICAL
FICTION FEATURE ~
--  'CODE WORD COURAGE: 
A DOGS OF WORLD WAR II BOOK'  --
AUTHOR KIRBY LARSON
~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight,
Author Bio & Book Review~


 
LEARN MORE ON GOODREADS 

ABOUT THE BOOK {FROM GOODREADS}:
Billie has lived with her great-aunt ever since her mom passed away and her dad left. Billie's big brother, Leo, is about to leave, too, for the warfront. But first, she gets one more weekend with him at the ranch.

Billie's surprised when Leo brings home a fellow Marine from boot camp, Denny. She has so much to ask Leo -- about losing her best friend and trying to find their father -- but Denny, who is Navajo, or Diné, comes with something special: a gorgeous, but injured, stray dog. As Billie cares for the dog, whom they name Bear, she and Bear grow deeply attached to each other.

 
Soon enough, it's time for Leo and Denny, a Navajo Code Talker, to ship out. Billie does her part for the war effort, but she worries whether Leo and Denny will make it home, whether she'll find a new friend, and if her father will ever come back. Can Bear help Billie -- and Denny -- find what's most important?

 
A powerful tale about unsung heroism on the WWII battlefield and the home front.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {FROM GOODREADS}:



Kirby Larson went from history-phobe to history fanatic while writing the 2007 Newbery Honor Book, HATTIE BIG SKY. Her passion for historical fiction is reflected in titles such as THE FENCES BETWEEN US, THE FRIENDSHIP DOLL, as well as the sequel to HATTIE BIG SKY, HATTIE EVER AFTER, and her two latest titles, DUKE--which was nominated for 5 state Young Reader Choice awards as well as being a finalist for the Washington State Book Award-- and DASH--which has garnered two starred reviews, a NAPPA Gold Award and a Capitol Choices nomination. She will have two new books out in 2016 -- watch for them!

In 2006, Kirby began a collaboration with her good friend Mary Nethery resulting in two award-winning nonfiction picture books: TWO BOBBIES: A TRUE STORY OF HURRICANE KATRINA, FRIENDSHIP AND SURVIVAL, and NUBS: THE TRUE STORY OF A MUTT, A MARINE AND A MIRACLE.


Kirby lives in Kenmore, Washington with her husband, Neil, and Winston the Wonder Dog. When she’s not reading or writing Kirby enjoys beach combing, bird watching, and traveling. She owns a tiara and is not afraid to use it.

MY REVIEW:
I was drawn to this book by a review I read recently. This book has three elements I always look for in middle-grade books before I begin reading them:  Historical fiction--this one is set during World War II. Animals as inspirational supporting characters--this one has a dog.  Diverse characters--this one features Navajo and Mexican characters portrayed positively and in important roles. 

The other component I look for as I am reading the book are the feelings of empathy and compassion and the maturing of a character through lessons learned. These elements can only be garnered by a skilled author. 

This book possesses all of these traits. 

What sets this story apart from others is Kirby Larson's awesome writing style. She seems to flawlessly place the right words on the page at just the right tempo and in just the right order. Her setting and characters are well-developed. Her novel is obviously well-researched from my reading of non-fiction about this time period.

I particularly liked the way the main character, Billie, reached beyond her lonely, mournful life to touch others through her kindness and friendship. In particular, she forges a friendship with a boy from Mexico whose father works on Billie's great-aunt's ranch. Tito is wise beyond his years, in my opinion, when it comes to his emotional intelligence regarding being bullied by the so-called popular kids in school.

Another exceptional aspect of this book is the World War II depiction of military life and the battle scenes the author so carefully researched.  Billie's close relationship with her older brother, Leo, is admirable. 

Finally, the inclusion of Denny, a Navajo friend of Leo's, and the abandoned dog he brought home to Billie's house enrich the plot ten-fold. The tribute to the 'Navajo Code Talker' program in WWII and the courageous men who participated in this ground-breaking mission was intriguing.

I believe this is a story that should not be missed by middle-grade readers. It would also make a worthwhile read-aloud in class or during a family's reading time. So many great life lessons are taught in its pages.

Highly recommended to middle-grade readers, fans of historical and military fiction, fans of animal-centered fiction, and fans of literature which includes diverse populations as strong characters.
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I borrowed this book from the 'New Book' shelf in the Children's Section of the local public library.

POST SCRIPT:  I did not realize until I read the Goodreads page for this book, there are three preceeding books in the 'Dogs of World War II' series by this author. Here's a link to the page listing all four installments with links to their book blurbs. I will definitely be reading the other three titles as soon as I can get my hands on them!

LINK TO 'DOGS OF WORLD WAR II' SERIES ON GOODREADS

                      ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~
COMING UP SOON ON 'READING, WRITING & STITCH-METIC':
-- Tuesday, July 17th: Blog Tour Stop for 'Building a Life'. Post includes a book spotlight, author bio, excerpt, and ten behind-the-scenes facts shared by the author. Tour organized by Singing Librarian Books.


-- Wednesday, July 18th: Blog Tour Stop for 'The Last Summer'. Post includes a book spotlight, author bio, excerpt, and ten behind-the-scenes facts shared by the author. Tour organized by Singing Librarian Books. 


--  Thursday, July 19th:  Tour Stop for Author April Smith's inspirational YA debut novel, 'Loving Grace'. Post includes a list of little-known facts about the book written especially for 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic' by the author and a giveaway. Tour organized by JustRead Publicity. 


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6 comments:

  1. Just from reading this review, I already feel invested in the characters! I'll have to try this. Thanks so much for the review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a wonderful comment to begin my week! :0} Thank you so much for sharing your enthusiasm about this review with us. You're welcome, and I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did. Sincerely, June

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  2. I've enjoyed Kirby Larson's stories and this one sounds like another winner. The main character, Billie, along with the time period are what pushes me to find a copy. Thanks for your review. I've added it to my list.

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  3. Love Kirby Larson. Wasn't aware of this story, but I want to read it! Great story with several themes! Thanks for the great review!

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  4. Ah, a new book by Kirby Larson. Sounds like a great one. Thanks for the review.

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  5. Hate to say it but I've never read anything by Kirby Larson. This sounds really good and I'll have to look for it.

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