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Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two
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Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  3,587 ratings  ·  644 reviews
Throughout World War II, in the conflict fought against Japan, Navajo code talkers were a crucial part of the U.S. effort, sending messages back and forth in an unbreakable code that used their native language. They braved some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and with their code, they saved countless American lives. Yet their story remained classified for more than tw ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 6th 2006 by Speak (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Jan Rice
I read this book back in 2008, before I was online or doing reviews, but I had started keeping lists.

What I remember is the humiliation of the Indians as children before the opportunity to become the code talkers of WWII and serve in the Marines vindicated them. The language for which their mouths had been washed out with soap in boarding schools became a way of saving lives and a source of pride. Also, I remembered the healing ritual the protagonist went through once he finally arrived back ho
...more
Kaethe
Sometimes fiction is better for revealing truth. This novel enables Bruchac to tell much of the story of the pacific theater during WWII through the eyes of one character, now retelling the events to his grandchildren. I'm rather grateful for the framing device, it helps mute the horror somewhat. It's heartbreaking, the discrimination and abuse before the war, the horrors of the war which had to be kept secret until 1969, and the discrimination after the war. But the author manages to distill so ...more
Abby Johnson
All his life Ned Begay has been told that being Navajo is bad. At the mission school, all the Navajos are told to forget their language, to forget everything about being Navajo. Speaking English and emulating the white man is the only way to get ahead, or so they are told. However, when World War II breaks out, Ned learns that the Marines are actively recruiting Navajos. For the first time, Americans are in need of Navajos and their language. An unbreakable code is being developed using the Nava ...more
Jerome
Read this about four years ago in seventh grade. I was starting to get into military history back then, and this book was actually really good for a YA novel about war.

Bruchac has created a terrific historic novel that has enough action for young male adults and enough history and research to appeal to an adult audience. Bruchac does a wonderful job of giving a sense of the complexities of growing up on a Navajo reservation in the first half of the book. The irony of a nation trying to wipe out
...more
Margaret
7/3/11 ** A very interesting novel about a Navajo teen who enlisted in the Marines shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack; he joined a secret unit charged with creating and using a code based on the Navajo language to send messages throughout the Pacific theater. The story touches on issues with the Indian Schools, language extinction, stereotypes & cultural awareness, the irony of a government trying to stamp out a language and then needing it for military security, etc. However, even with t ...more
Tish
3 stars for being informative, especially about an aspect of WWII with which I was unfamiliar. However, as a novel, I would probably only give it 2 stars. The way it was written made it seem like non-fiction, and not very riveting non-fiction at that. I have nothing against non-fiction, but a writer of fiction has the opportunity to enhance the dry facts and really connect the reader to what was going on, the feelings, the action, the impact. Bruchac was not as successful at that as he was at ju ...more
Graham R
This book was very interesting. It really gave me a good idea how much the Navajos helped the americans win world war 2. Also it gave me a really good idea of what the veterans were talking about who were in world war 2.
Carol
I highly recommend! This is really a sensitive, balanced, well researched account of the Navajos who developed a code which the Japanese were unable to crack. The story becomes alive and real through the fictional protanongist. It is ironic that historical fiction can be more real than just dry history. Although it is dealing with a horrendous war, it is not overly morbid nor gruesome, nor does it glorify war or heroism. The author is sentive to the spiritual as well as physical cost of war and ...more
Dorothea
Code Talker is a historical novel for a YA audience, told from the perspective of fictional character Ned Begay as (finally released from U.S. security regulations by the invention of computers that have replaced the Navajo code) he tells his grandchildren about his experience as a code talker in WWII.

It's very plainly written, but that's not a bad thing because the story of the code talkers is so interesting it doesn't need any help. There are some very effective parts which make a connection b
...more
Ms. Okes
Code Talker is a wonderful book, describing the secret role Navajo Marines played in World War 2 by using their native language to send coded messages to allied forces. Although the narrator is fictional, his experiences are representative of actual Navajos as they were taught and then recruited to the Marines for their important task.
I appreciate that the author chose to begin with the white man's education many Navajo children endured. This education served as a retraining; Indians were taugh
...more
Kathleen
I love, love, love the voice of this novel. It is well written and completely in character. Unfortunately, because this is the story a Navajo man is telling to his grandchildren, I feel like we miss some of the emotional resonance of his experiences in WWII. When someone is wounded, they usually either get better or have the horror of their injuries marginalized and made more palatable. Hardship, suffering, and death are mentioned, but named characters make it through. Practically the only perma ...more
Cameron
The "Code Talker" is a book about Navajo's during World War II. The main character is a Navajo that is fluent in both English and the language of the Navajo's which he calls the sacred or pure language. His younger years are spent at boarding school or on the preservation where the Navajo live in poverty and aren't treated well by other Americans. But after Pearl Harbor he wants to enlist into the Marines and does as soon as it was made possible. To make the code process faster and more effectiv ...more
Tyler

This story is about a United States Marine Navajo radio operator during the second world war in the south pacific.The main characters were Ben Yahzee and Staff Sargent Anders.The main characters ran into many problems with the Imperial Japanese Army.There were no adventures in the book.My favorite character was Ben Yahzee for all of his heroics and ideas.I myself could not relate to any of the characters in the story.I have never done anything the characters in the story have done.I liked the t
...more
Nan
Written for the youth-lit market, but a fast and engaging read for anyone with a craving for an alternative WWII story. This is a good title for reluctant readers I think, because of the narrator's (Ned Begay's) outsider-looking-in perspective on a consuming, harrowing time. Plus, the Navajo cultural info is woven in smoothly--you don't feel lectured.
Andy Theall
An interesting historically accurate novel, this story is great for those who want a good story but also are interested in the non-fiction events of world war two. I chose to read this book because I wanted to read a non-fiction book but for my summer reading at school often it is easier to write about fiction stories, so I chose this. I found it to be a great choice and would definitely read other books like this. This book was an easy, quick read which was perfect for me as I was not looking f ...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Taliah
This book is based on actual events of the how Navajo Marines contributed in WWII. It is told in the voice of a former Navajo Marine telling his story to young Navajos and readers. Kii Yazhi is sent away to boarding school, where he is renamed Ned Begay. Begay's time at the school was traumatic as he was forced to give up his language, in front of white people anyway. Although he was required to give up many Navajo ways, Begay succeeded academically. Due to academic achievement, Begay was able t ...more
Heidi
This historical fiction novel follows the experiences of Ned Begay as told to his grandchildren many years after the fact. He starts by explaining his experiences at a boarding school where the teachers did everything they could to strip the students of their Navajo identity. Ned survives by becoming the model student, on the outside, but sneaking around with some of the other students, he manages to keep his language skills. Later, as he works his way through high school dealing with racist tre ...more
Miz Lizzie
The 2011 OneBookAZ for Kids is Joseph Bruchac's Code Talker about the Navajo Code Talkers during World War II. Though the main character and narrator is fictional, the novel is based on extensive research, including oral histories with the code talkers and their families. As a result, it does sometimes read more like oral history than a novel. That is not a defect; the realistic underpinnings may make the tale less of a page-turner but they do not dampen the intrinsic drama of the actual events. ...more
Hunter Morris
this is a novel about the Navajo marines of world war two. they had a very secret job to talk in navajo to send code messages to soldiers around the world that are fighting war. the acts of world war one made the Japanese study study English and Cherokee so the marines have to use navajo language so that the Japanese cant decode their messages. the story follows ned begay as he is a young boy and enlist into the marines and becomes a code talker on the front lines. the book was done really well ...more
Isaac Braun
In the book Code Talker, I true story of the Navajo Marines living pre and post WWII time and their role in helping the US win the war in Japan. Nobody knew of these men until many years after the war because of the secrecy of the missions and jobs they did. The Author tells the story of a young man by the name of Ned Begay and how he survived WWII as a marine code talker. Navajo men were chosen to pass communications in their non-written language making it unbreakable to the Japanese. It was to ...more
Ron Burgandy
At the beginnig of this book the main character goes into the army because he is of navajo decent and their language is very tough, almost impossible to decode. so, him and the other navajos go through boot camp and do it fairly easy. one of the last things that they have to do is run through the desert with the americans in boot camp. while the americans are getting tired and thirsty, the navajos know a secret that there is water in small cacti. so the navajos are known as super humans. the mai ...more
Pandora
Using a fictional character of a code talker this story tells of the invaluable contibution made by the Navajos who created an unbreakable code using their language. Besides, bringing to light this story that had to remind hidden the novel also balances history by bringing to account the Japanese's horrors by concerating on the Pacfic side of WWII. Joseph Brunchac does an excellent job of bringing the Navajo's concept of the world to light.

"Although the Japanese said they were liberating the isl
...more
Daniel T.
Apr 06, 2012 Daniel T. added it
Shelves: finished-irp
Code Talker is a novel about the navajo marines that were tasked with translating top secret information into their sacred language. This book is about a young navajo named Khi Yahzee. The book starts off explaining him as an old war veteran telling his story to his grandchildren. Then it cuts back to him as a young child in his village, then being taken to a school. Where he was treated awful, being told his people are all bad and that he would never amount to anything. Then it talked about wh ...more
Roger DeBlanck
Joseph Bruchac is a prolific chronicler of Native American history for young readers. In his YA novel Code Talker, he honors the major contributions of the Navajos to the WWII efforts, as they developed the unbreakable Navajo code to send messages during the great conflict in the South Pacific. Bruchac’s story serves as both an accurate history lesson and an emotional remembrance of the Navajos, whose story remained classified for over twenty-five years after the war. He outlines their recruitme ...more
Sam Richins
Code Talker, by Joseph Bruchac is a Novel about the Navajo Code Talkers enlisted in the army of the United States during World War 2. This book shows the determination and courage of the protagonist. A Navajo, Kii Yazhi (Later Ned Begay) goes through troubles, having his culture beat out of him for ten years, and is then told how special it is. He then joins the U.S. Marines, and becomes a code talker, helping hugely in our success in WWII. He talks about at least half of a dozen battles he was ...more
Deborah Takahashi
Ned Begay has not always be known as Ned. In fact, his name, in Navajo, has always been Kii Yazhi until he was shipped off to the mission to be educated by the White Man. Not only did he learn English, he was told it was wrong to be Navajo and was given the name of Ned Begay, his hair cut, and clothes taken away. Although he felt empty and naked, he made a promise to himself that he would never forget his native language even if the White Man tried to beat it out of him. Not only did Ned excel i ...more
Lucas
In Joseph Bruchac's Code Talker, the protagonist, Ned Begay, joins the U.S. Marines in defense of America in WWII after suffering through boarding school and the abuse of his language that comes with it. Begay fights in various battles although he is a fictitious character with fictitious friends. I, personally, felt I was being told me history by my grandfather. I felt as if I was learning about my family, not about history. I felt like I was on the beaches of Iwo Jima or on the landing crew at ...more
07Austing
My report is on Code Talkers. I liked this book when I read it. It is about a Navajo Indian named Ned Begay and his journey from boarding school to the marines. It takes place around the 1940’s, during world war two. I liked this book.

The story begins when Ned Begay is sent off the reservation that he has grown up on to go to a government run boarding school. He is taken there by his mustached uncle who tells him about the history of the Navajo people, from the Mexicans to the Americans mistre
...more
David
I learned of this book from Anita Silvey's Children's Book A Day Almanac, and my 7 year old grandson thought it sounded interesting. We didn't even get through the first chapter before he announced that he wanted to read something else. Middle grade books often work with him, but this really is for an older reader.

The story is based in solid historical material, though the main character is a grandfather telling his grandchildren his experience as a teenager and a Marine during World War II. Wov
...more
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Joseph Bruchac lives with his wife, Carol, in the Adirondack mountain foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York, in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him. Much of his writing draws on that land and his Abenaki ancestry. Although his American Indian heritage is only one part of an ethnic background that includes Slovak and English blood, those Native roots are the ones by wh ...more
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“Strong words outlast the paper they are written upon. ” 37 likes
“Never think that war is a good thing, grandchildren. Though it may be necessary at times to defend our people, war is a sickness that must be cured. War is a time out of balance. When it is truly over, we must work to restore peace and sacred harmony once again.” 18 likes
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