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My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck, Long Island, New York 1941 (Dear America)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  2,971 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
In a diary that brings to life the dramatic happenings on the home front during World War II, Madeline Beck is living in a boardinghouse with her mother while her father is on an aircraft carrier guarding the Pacific Coast. After discovering that a German U-boat has landed near her home--a little-known, true incident on Long Island--she and her classmates form "Kids Fight ...more
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Scholastic Inc. (first published 2000)
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Popular Answered Questions

Alayna Potter Well there's the main character
Maddie Beck
Johnny Vecchio (her friend)
Bill Vecchio (Johnny's brother)
Her mother
Her father (at war)
Clara (Older…more
Well there's the main character
Maddie Beck
Johnny Vecchio (her friend)
Bill Vecchio (Johnny's brother)
Her mother
Her father (at war)
Clara (Older sister like persona, she's a part of her family unit.)
Theo( Older brother like persona, also in the family unit.)
Mrs. Hawkins
Miss Burke
Mrs. Rosenthal
Clara ( from the star points or popular group.)

That's basically all the "main" characters. :)(less)
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Dear America Series
6th out of 43 books — 207 voters
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Our favorite diary books
17th out of 186 books — 141 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ana Mardoll
Feb 24, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ana-reviewed
My Secret War (World War II) / 0-590-68715-8

"My Secret War" paints a wonderful portrait of America in 1941. Madeline cultivates a close friendship with her German-Jewish neighbors, and learns to tread respectfully around the fear and sadness they harbor. She is distraught when she learns of the Japanese-American citizens put in American camps for 'observation' and reminds her classmates to take seriously the meaning behind the president's wife's exhortation to not allow America to be divided by
Jenna Vargas
Mar 08, 2013 Jenna Vargas rated it liked it
Life without her hero at home, a little girls dad off at war fighting for their country's safety. This book is about a young girl and her struggles in everyday life worrying about her dad. She goes through her first crush with her neighbor friend Johnny. The young girl waits and waits everyday for her dad to send letters to her talking about how he is doing and how he will be fine and not worry. She works so hard to look out for her mom, and make sure she will be okay. She writes down in his dia ...more
Kelsey Hanson
Dec 12, 2015 Kelsey Hanson rated it it was ok
I'm not a huge fan of Mary Pope Osborne's Dear America books I'm afraid. I personally think that she goes through them too quickly, not giving her characters time to develop. I didn't care for Maddie. I thought she was a bit superficial with no real personality. As a kid who grew up being the victim of bullying due to the popular girls, I don't really enjoy stories where the girl tries so hard to be friend with the bratty popular girls who torment her. It's a small detail, but it ruined Maddie f ...more
Claire M.
My secret war is about a girl named Madeline and her living through world war 2 while her dad is fighting in war. Madeline goes through many obstacles with her friends Clara and Johnny and all the problems that come with having a dad in the war.

I did not enjoy this book. I felt like there was not much to it. The story line is weak and while I was reading I was waiting for something good to happen but it never came. There were no major problems that she had to over come. When one of the only s
Sarah Crawford
Feb 02, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it
This diary is about a young girl living on Long Island in New York just before and just after the start of World War II. Her father is in the military and, as such, their family moves around a lot.

She is staying with her mother at a house with two refugees from Germany. Her problems are typical problems, for a while; not fitting in with the other girls, wanting to wear different clothes, things like that, but this changes with the start of the U.S. involvement in the war.

The book does a good jo
Aug 19, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
Naomi and I read My Secret War aloud. Truly, one of my favorite titles in the "Dear America" series.
Alex Roth
Dec 09, 2014 Alex Roth rated it liked it
Shelves: tch-lrn-307
A diary written by a young girl during World War II and her experience with starting the “Kids Fight for Freedom” act that got kids involved in the war.

What really stuck out to me about this book is that it is written in a diary form. being written in diary form, it becomes more personable between the reader and the author. The reader is then able to put themselves in this persons shoes and feel as if they are hearing these tories from the past first handedly.

This book really shows children th
emma grace
October 2009 review:

Madeline Beck’s diary tells of her life with her mother living in a boarding house, and writing letters to her father, who is in Hawaii, “protecting” the South Pacific. She tells how know no one wants to be friends with her at school, and how she doesn’t like the boarding house. Life is looking pretty bleak for her until she meets Johnny Vecchio, a boy who, like herself is interested in all the news of the war. When Pearl Harbor is bombed, Madeline and her mother are fearful
Mar 24, 2014 Beverly rated it it was amazing
A little known fact regarding our entry into WWII, was the aura created by Elenore and FDR. Both were great orators and each appealed to the masses to be involved in the war effort. She challenged women and children to collect scrap metal and old tires, save bacon grease for explosive production, grow victory gardens, and be ever watchful. The masses rallied around him as he appealed to every man, woman, and child to take a part in the war action. This is why so many women worked in airplane pro ...more
Carissa Canto
Dec 17, 2014 Carissa Canto is currently reading it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 29, 2016 Bellezza rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, diary, ebook
When I first saw this book I thought it was a real diary from WWII, most people know about The Diary of a Young Girl, less people know about Normandy Diary of Marie-Louise Osmont:, The: 1940-1944. I 19ve read both books, I like reading diaries, a personal look at history.

After downloading, I realized it is historical, young adult fiction. It is based on the account of Nazi saboteurs that came ashore in Long Island, New York.

Ms. Osborne relies on news reports of the times and her own feelings as
Mar 15, 2015 Audrey rated it really liked it
Maddie's story was really sweet/cute! I wasn't particularly invested in any of the characters, but they were all super adorable. :) Not exactly something I'd read again, and not one of those books where I'm like, "WHY DIDN'T I READ THIS BEFORE?!" It was really fluffy, and I finished it in a day - a super easy read.

This is probably the extent of this review, but you should read it! I thought the most interesting part of Maddie's story was that it was WWII in America. Usually, you only get to read
Feb 03, 2009 Pam rated it it was amazing
This was a fun book to read...bit bit of a tear jerker, too. Mary and I enjoyed making the "war" cake at the end of the book.
Apr 15, 2014 Alliecockerill rated it really liked it
Maddie beck moves with her mom to long island new york. They move to a house on the sea side with another two families and Theo. she meets new people pne of them named johnny, they become really close. While Maddie and her mom are in new york her father is on a navy boat on the coast of san fransico. They all learn new things about each other and go through a lot together.

My opinion of this really good, it is kind of boring since its a diary but otherwise its really good.

I would reco
Jan 15, 2016 Holly rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because it has to do with history durring WW2. The main character lives with her mother in a large home beloning to another woman with several other occupants renting it out as well. They asll become like one big family while the main character's dad is fighting in the war. The book gives insight to what it would be like living durring this time period becasue it is written in diary format. One of the girls who lives with the main character is and immigrant from Germany. The ...more
Sierra Smith
Sep 26, 2014 Sierra Smith rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book! It had me hooked from start to finish! I love that it is about World War 2, one of my favorite time periods. I also love that there is a bit of young love in the story. Maddie is just so awesome and I LOVE this book! She writes about things that are important to her and the little things that Johnny does. I love their relationship! I just LOVE THIS BOOK! There was one thing that I didn't like about it and that is that it was historical fiction! I thought that it was real! But I ...more
Sidney Leigh
Apr 24, 2015 Sidney Leigh rated it really liked it
When Maddie Beck stays at Long Island, New York, she has the coolest adventures EVER! She saves the country, helps the war efforts, supports her dad that was involved with the bombing of pearl harbor, and get to be best friends with the cutest boy in school! I enjoyed this book because it talks in a tone that is first person, it is relating to world war 2, and is written as a young girl's diary. It lets me feel like I am living in that time frame which is really cool! I suggest this to anyone th ...more
this book is about a girl named madiline beck. her dad is in the amry on a military shit. in hawaii. madiline is walking on the beach one day and she heres people talking in he bushes. two seconds later they jump out and ask her where she is headed. she explains home. then they took a flash light and blinded her with it and told her that she didnt see anything and they where not there. they where two japaneese men looking for her father. she finds out the next day that her father is now at war. ...more
This is another diary in the Dear America series this time focusing on the home-front effort during World War II. I haven’t read very much set during WWII, but what I have has primarily been set abroad. Not only was it new and interesting to see how the home-front reacted to the war, but also to see it from a child/teenager perspective was novel. We see many of the typical things such as book, blood, scrap and can drives, but I really liked how Madeline founded the “Kids Fight for Freedom” club. ...more
When I first saw this book I thought it was a real diary from WWII, most people know about The Diary of a Young Girl, less people know about Normandy Diary of Marie-Louise Osmont:, The: 1940-1944. I've read both books, I like reading diaries, a personal look at history.

After downloading, I realized it is historical, young adult fiction. It is based on the account of Nazi saboteurs that came ashore in Long Island, New York.

Ms. Osborne relies on news reports of the times and her own feelings as
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caitlin Schwatka
Apr 23, 2012 Caitlin Schwatka rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eced-221
I read this book cover-to-cover as a young girl. I absolutely loved it! I have always found WWII books fascinating, but I love the way Dear America books are written as journal enteries, because it feels as if you are a part of the experience. This was a great introduction for me as to what was going on in our country when the U.S. first became involded in World War II.
While Madelin Beck is a fictional character, the book is accurate because she lived the way many Americans lived during that tim
Dec 08, 2008 Woojae rated it really liked it
This book is very girly, it talks about the love between a guy and this girl - well not all, but anyways quite a lot. This book is set during the World War 2 when USA just declared war against the Axis. Madeline isn't really interested in the war until she meets the boy she likes (I forgot the name :P). The boy is very interested in the war making Madeline interested in the war too. Madeline makes a club to support the US Army by sending them foods, clothes, etc. After Madeline became a very clo ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book brings a little written of perspective of all the things done on the home front to support the war. It is a stark contrast to today where so little is done by the home front to support our service men and women or the war effort. It definitely inspires adults as well as children to support those who keep us safe. Well written, it also brings the little known incident of Nazis saboteurs who actually landed in two places on mainland America. Intriguing!!
Nov 28, 2015 Avery rated it it was ok
I checked this book out, knowing it would probably not be good, so I can't complain much. But the characters are very immature and quite undeveloped. The story plot is what every other WWII book for kids would be. A struggling girl during the war who does something amazing and gets tons of recognition for it, then has a sixth grade love by the popular boy. That's the whole book. It is well written for a diary, so that's my second star.
The main issue is that Madeline's Dad is at war during world war two. She has to help him when he gets hurt over seas. Also when she gets caught by the German soilders she has to tell the FBI without them knowing about it. The setting is 1941 in New York. Where she is right next to the ocean. I like the book that shows how a girl from 1941 shows how she feels about life then in 1941 also that she tells about how it is with her Dad out at sea. The main girl Madeline is in 8th grade. She has black ...more
Mar 27, 2015 Tracy rated it liked it
Maddie tells her story about her life during World War II. Her father is in the Navy. She is living with her mother at a boarding home. This book is about her struggles to fit in at a new school, how she makes friends, helps the war cause and struggles with fear for her father's life and even for her own. I really like the author's use of primary sources- headlines from newspapers, magazine covers, etc. from the era.
Sep 04, 2015 Caleb rated it it was amazing
This story is about Madeline (Maddy) Beck and what she did for the WWII effort. It tells how her father is in the war, and Maddy and her mother move to an ocean-side boardinghouse and they do what they can for the soldiers overseas. While the mother does things like knitting clothes with the other women at the church, Maddy and all the other kids at the school collect scrap metal for the military to make planes with.

She becomes really good friends with Johnny Vecchio, and they want to be a part
Mar 26, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
After her father goes to fight on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific in the fall of 1941, thirteen-year-old Madeline Beck and her mother move to a boardinghouse in Long Island. At first Madeline is lonely because the popular kids snub her. But Johnny, a boy in her class, befriends her - and eventually becomes more than just a friend. The two of them start a club for kids who want to help the war effort, but Madeline quits when she learns her father was wounded in battle - she's just to depressed ...more
Oct 13, 2014 Aaijsha rated it it was amazing
I liked this book,because i learned about who it would be to be a child of someone in the war. My great grandpa was in the war so know after reading this book i know how it must have felt to be my grandma, not being about to see that parent in till the war was over. The saddest part of this book for me was when she found out that her dad got hurt.
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Mary Pope Osborne has channeled a lifelong love of exploration and travel into one of the most popular children’s book series of the past two decades. With her fantastic Magic Tree House series, Mary Pope Osborne keeps the good times rolling for kids all over the world.
More about Mary Pope Osborne...

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“I have to keep facing the darkness. If I stand tall and face the thing I fear, I have a chance to conquer it. If I just keep dodging and hiding it will conquer me.” 15 likes
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