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A Medal for Leroy
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A Medal for Leroy

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  317 ratings  ·  78 reviews
When Michael’s aunt passes away, she leaves behind a letter that will change everything.

It starts with Michael’s grandfather Leroy, a black officer in World War I who charged into a battle zone not once but three times to save wounded men. His fellow soldiers insisted he deserved special commendations for his bravery but because of the racial barriers, he would go unackno
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Hardcover, 144 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 532)
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Alex Baugh
It is a few years after the war has ended and young Michael (not the author) is growing up in London, living with his French mother Christine. All he knows about his father is that his name was Roy, he was in the RAF during the war, flying a Spitfire and he had been shot down over the English Channel.

His mother had one of his medals and let Michael keep it in his room. She told him that his Auntie Snowdrop (really Martha) had the other medals and would be happy to show them to him when they vis
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Pauline Evans
A great children's book that tackles tricky themes in a careful way. It was inspired by the true story of Walter Tull (who I know a lot about), a black soldier in WWI who although was very brave was not awarded a medal for his outstanding courage due to the colour of his skin. I admire the way Michael Morpurgo tackles important issues and doesn't sugarcoat his books. My son bought me this book for Christmas as he knows I love this author. A great choice!
Suzanne
A grey cover with black soldier and a small black boy holding a dog did not interest me. The novel A Medal for Leroy begins in Belgium in March 2012. I was introduced, sort of, to Christine, Maman, pa, Auntie Snowdrop, Auntie Pish, and Grandfather Leroy and a dog named Jasper. I am not sure who the first-person narrator is. After reading this, I wondered, "What is happening here?"
Next, the story flashes back to London in the 1940's where the narrator, Poodle (AKA Michael, a young French/Englis
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Hilary
Those readers expecting an animal story involving the courage and faithfulness of an animal in a war setting will be disappointed, as Jasper, the black and white terrier depicted on the book jacket, is peripheral to Morpurgo's latest tale. Instead, the novel focuses on
the story of a black officer serving the British forces during World War I, a rarity in that era, so those stories went largely untold. It is also a story of stigmatism resulting from racism and illegitimacy. Illegitimate offsprin
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Natalie Ahern
This is the second of Morpurgo's books I have read (The other being War Horse) and I am already seeing a re-occurring theme, that is how ordinary people have to suffer the harsh realities of War most prominently the loss of loved ones. It is also a book about heroic soldiers and how prejudice both in government institutions and society prevented them from being recognised as so.
The story revolves around a young boy Michael and his family which is made up of his mother and two aunts. Through the
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LauraW
I have yet to figure out why, with some books, I read them in fits and starts, but with other books, I just sit down and scarcely look up before I am done. This was a "read straight through" book. It isn't a page-turner, which might be a good reason for reading straight through. And, though there is a mild mystery to it, that wouldn't be compelling enough by itself to explain it. I suppose, with me, it has to do with whether I find the characters and their situation interesting. I figured out th ...more
Roisin
What a moving book from a giant of young people's literature. Keep some tissues handy when reading this.

I won't give too much away, but the story involves a man called Michael who is in a field in Belgium. We don't know why he is there but as time goes by he tells his story and his family's story, relating to his grandfather Leroy. Michael, a mixed-race man grew up with his French mother Christine, but would regularly visit his Aunts Martha and Mary known as Auntie Snowdrop and Auntie Pish. Mic
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Jayne Bauling
Proof that less is more. Short, straightforward and succinctly told.

Morpurgo writes about war as it affects good, ordinary people, in this case both the First and Second World Wars; war as the cruel thief, robbing said people - of so much, and most especially of each other.

This children's novel is also about prejudice, racial and social. We're taken back to a time (is it truly over in the western context?) when black heroism in war went largely unacknowledged, and when for so many classes and cu
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Naeemah Reese
"A Medal for Leroy" was a great story. The chronology of the events of the story grabs the reader’s attention not only to make them think about what is happening in the story but also to help the reader feel just as confused as the main character Michael feels. Michael knows that his father died during World War II, but he is blind to more important facts about his family’s history. Over the years Michael’s maman (mom) and his auntie Pish and auntie Snowdrop tell him numerous things about how su ...more
Ms. Yingling
Growing up in England right after WWII, Leroy frequently goes to visit the aunts who raised his father, Aunt Snowdrop and Aunt Pish. Leroy isn't terribly fond of having to eat bubble and squeak and custard with them, but he likes playing with their dog Jasper. He knows that they miss his father, who was killed in a plane crash during the war, as much as he does. Several years after Aunt Snowdrop dies, he gets a picture of his father in a frame, and finds a long note from his deceased aunt in the ...more
Helen
This is the lowest I have rated a book for a long time, and I hate to do it, but I promised myself I would always be totally honest with my reviews.
There was much to recommend this book, but for me it fell short.
I tried to put my finger on what I found lacking.
I think initially I'd been anticipating another tale of a heroic animal in wartime and this wasn't what this story was about. So from the outset it didn't meet my expectations. Still, I tried to ignore that and look at the book on its own
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Adele Broadbent
Michael doesn't remember his father, an RAF pilot lost in the war. And his French mother, heartbroken and passionate, doesn't like to talk about her husband. But then Auntie Snowdrop gives Michael a medal, followed by a photograph, which begin to reveal a hidden history. A story of love and loss. A story that will change everything - and reveal to Michael who Auntie Snowdrop really is. ...
Another story from the author of War Horse, A Medal for Leroy was inspired by the true story of Walter Tull,
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Bish Denham
I felt like this story could have been better than it was. To me it was a long telling narrative where showing would have made it more poignant and exciting. I didn't feel much of anything for the young main character, Michael. His aunts, particularly Auntie Snowdrop, were more interesting. But even so, I found myself skimming, particularly towards the end. I kind of wish the story had been a YA novel told from Auntie Snowdrop's POV. Telling her story, as an aging aunt to her young nephew, and i ...more
Martha
Mar 02, 2014 Martha rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alice, Librariansteph, Marti, Elissa, Nadine
A biracial boy whose father dies during World War II, lives in London with his French mother. They take frequent visits to Folkestone in the countryside of England. Leroy's favorite part of these trying visits with his aunties, is playing with their dog Jasper. The little dog attaches himself to Leroy keeping the visits more entertaining. After the auntie's pass, Leroy solves a mystery that changes his life. Based on a true story of the first black officer in the British Army, this superb short ...more
Anne
"Inspired by the true story of Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British Army..."

Michael and his mom frequently visit his two elderly aunts. Conversations often revolved around his grandfather, but nothing in great detail except his valor in combat. When Auntie Snowdrop dies, she leaves behind a hidden letter for Michael about his grandfather. This letter reveals much about bravery, identity, and family.
The genealogy is a bit confusing in places, but most of the characters are vivid. W
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Sharon Lawler
July 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW I, and this occasion has been marked by a wide variety of books which tell pieces of the story from different points of view. A Medal For Leroy begins in London during the 40's, but the real story, the story is about Leroy, a black officer in the British Army during WWI. Unwed mothers, racial discrimination, and the truth about one's family heritage are integral plot points, without being preachy. Family secrets are resolved in l ...more
E
Beautiful, sweet, heartfelt, and thought-provoking, about secrets and pasts and war. An extremely fast read. Not much happens aside from some interesting revelations about the narrator's past, but don't take that to mean it's sleep-inducing. I kind of appreciated its brevity in this age of dime-a-dozen 450+ page doorstoppers that have likely never seen an editor.

I loved how the human side of war and the damage caused by racism were portrayed here, with many fascinating threads linking past and p
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Barbara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Hamilton
Morpurgo's literary framing device — his story within a story — is back. In this instance it works well, maybe because it's so short.

Michael, 'Poodle' to his friends because of his short curly hair, grows up during the Second World War. His mother is French, his father was a pilot who died during the Battle of Britain. His father was brought up by his aunties, after his grandfather died during the First World War.

Auntie Pish is short-tempered, mean and has a tendency to be negative about almost
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Suz
Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, has written a warm, wonderful piece of historical fiction. His story is inspired by the life of Lt. Walter Tull, the only black officer to serve in the British Army during World War I. Leroy is modeled after Lt. Tull in broad strokes; he grows up in a London orphanage, joins a soccer team, then volunteers for military service. Leroy's story is told by Michael who learns about it from a written account left by his great-aunt. Michael's explanation of his fam ...more
NC
In his signature layered storytelling, Michael Morpurgo tells a moving story of a boy who discovers the truth of his family history that spans from WWI to present day.
When Michael’s aunt passes away, she leaves behind a letter entitled, “Who I am, what I’ve done, and who you are.”

It reveals a story that will change everything. It starts with Michael’s grandfather, Leroy, a black officer in WWI who charged into a battle zone not once, but three times to save wounded men. His fellow soldiers insis
...more
Amanda
I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group!

Visiting with Auntie Pish and Auntie Snowdrop has never been Michael's most favorite activity. Auntie Pish is a bit too severe for his taste and Auntie Snowdrop seems to follow Pish's every command. But after Auntie Snowdrop dies, Michael is gifted with a parcel which reveals a most amazing story. It turns out that these two woman have possessed a quiet strength all a
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Pam ☼Ask Me About FrankenKnee☼ Tee
A MEDAL FOR LEROY is a nice story but I have to say that the recommended guidelines given for it are more than a bit skewed.

For 10 year olds. Really?

I mean we have some really horrendous prejudice going on in this book, and there's a mother pretending that her baby belonged to someone else (who was killed), and people lying for decades; and I can't imagine that a 10 year old would be fascinated by this, nor that every parent would want to sit down and have to explain 'how these things happen'.

Th
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Ain  Romeli
Is it a crime to protect your families with secrets and lies? If it's the only thing that can warrant a normal life for your child and comfort your loved ones, why would it be wrong? This is a beautiful story about familial ties. Also, on how love transcends beyond society's ill remarks against the African Americans during the era of WW1. Times when discrimination was close to abusive. I have chosen the perfect book for my sister's first English reading!
Kate
This was a really nice (and very short!) children's novel about the history of black men in the British armed forces, told in three timelines. Easy to read and with some good lessons about black history in Britain (but minus any preachiness), it will appeal to readers who like books about family secrets. Aunt Snowbell was so sweet and easy to identify with, and I always love books where you get to know multiple generations of a family.
Lilly Marie Amenson
I really didn't like this book. While the idea was good... it fell short. I also noted some inconsistencies in cultural details that annoyed me. For example, the British play "football" not "soccer". Though I assume this book was targeted more toward American children, and therefore the use of the more American term would make sense, I feel that if we continue to alter cultures to fit our view, we, and especially our children, will never learn these differences that make us all unique. This book ...more
Maggie
A touching book about the importance of family and how the knowledge of family can help shape you. I liked how Morpurgo tied the father and son together even though neither had known the other. I think that middle schoolers might be less impressed with the book than I was. They probably will not know much, if anything, about the two wars, but they might be able to understand the racial issues.
CKE387
Inspired by the true story of Lieutenant Walter Tull, the sole black officer to serve in the British Army in World War I. Interesting to have the story from the child's point of view, but it would have been more interesting to hear a first person account of Walter Tull and his experiences in Britain.
Isabella
I think this was a good book because Michael never knew anything about his father, and his mother would never tell him about him. But his aunt also never told him that Michaell Aunt was Michael's father , mother. Leroy wanted to know a lot of things before his aunt died , which was really sad.
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Michael Morpurgo ...: A Medal For Leroy 1 1 Feb 01, 2013 11:08AM  
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Michael Morpurgo is the author of many books for children, five of which have been made into films. He also writes his own screenplays and libretti for opera. Born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1943, he was evacuated to Cumberland during the last years of the war, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, he took up teaching and started to ...more
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