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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  ·  Rating details ·  9,008 ratings  ·  1,318 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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Pattie Absolutely. This is very clean. A 4th grader could read it!
Anibal NO it is not it just says how his character went through sacrifices to reach his goal as a navajo marine and how he goes to a boarding school and the…moreNO it is not it just says how his character went through sacrifices to reach his goal as a navajo marine and how he goes to a boarding school and the white teachers treat him wrong.. i really recomend this book :)(less)

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3.86  · 
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 ·  9,008 ratings  ·  1,318 reviews

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Jan Rice
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book back in 2008, before I was online or doing reviews, but I had started keeping lists. Reviewed spring/summer 2014

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
Rebecca McNutt
Code Talker is an excellent YA novel about a piece of history that I didn't even know anything about. WWII's major topics are usually Hitler and Pearl Harbour and such, which is an undoubtedly important thing, but this book brings up a topic from the war that isn't in most history textbooks. The story of Navajo soldiers who aided in the war effort with something unique and much more powerful than bullets and grenades, Code Talker is about the sheer mysticism of language, and about how important ...more
Jack Chaucer
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at World War II from a totally unique perspective. Without the proud, brave and capable Navajo code talkers, effective communication among all of the various U.S. military branches would have been for more difficult, if not impossible. The Navajos and their code were crucial to the hard-fought victory in the Pacific theater.
Kaethe Douglas
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
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Abby Johnson
Jun 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
For this review, I decided to borrow an idea from one of my favorite movie bloggers, Nathaniel Rogers. When new trailers debut, he groups his thoughts into three kinds of responses: yes, no, and maybe so. Now, the book that I am reviewing, Joseph Bruchac's Code Talkers, is not a movie, and I am not just now encountering it for the first time. But I am going to apply the yes/no/maybe so format anyway because it gives me something reasonably interesting to say about a book I respected but didn't r ...more
"We were proud to be Marines and even prouder of the role that we had been chosen to play . . ."

Multicultural and historically rich with truth and relevance. Solid engaging storytelling, but with a few editing foibles. Bruchac's engaging novel, told through the voice of a grandfather to his grandchildren, utilizes simplistic and relatively clean language/imagery geared toward upper-middle-grades through young adults. All ages, however, can enjoy and benefit reading of the courageous Navajo Code
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: indigenous-lit
Eeeeh, I hate giving bad reviews. This just read more like a semantic journal of military operations they went on then anything that really explored the critical role of indigenous people during the war, or a substantive history of how this code system was developed. I was so excited to read this because I have forefathers who were themselves code talkers, but I guess I will have to look elsewhere for that. If you’re looking for a book on strategical operations during specific island skirmishes ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
While this is fiction, it is based around historical facts, and that's a big plus for this reviewer. The depressing treatment of Navajo (and many other Native Americans) starts this tale off and acts as a wonderful counterpoint to their work as Code Talkers during World War II. Tales of island hopping are accurate, even if the main character's two friends are caricatures. Especially well told is the accurate tale of the two flag raisings on Mt. Suribachi (Iwo Jima).

Also spot on though depressing
Oct 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Darby Karchut
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The author, Joseph Bruchac, did an outstanding job with voice. I knew a bit about the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII, but I learned even more fascinating details.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, ya, military
This writing is so real.
Multiple times, I felt like I needed to double check that this was really fiction - it felt so much like a transcript of an interview with a real person. I have to give credit to the quality of the writing for that.

I've saved reading Code Talker for years. It's been quite a few years since I booktalked a book that came out more than 10 years ago. But I always try to include an ownvoices book by a Native American, and this was Code Talkers year.

I loved that he went into d
I picked this book up on a whim at Barnes & Noble back at the end of June, because a) it sounded interesting (I mean, how often do you find books about First Peoples' experiences during war?!), and b) it was only $7 so I could afford to take the risk.

And I was pleasantly surprised to find this was a comprehensive and fast paced novel about a subject that I've found intriguing since..........okay, fine. Since I was a total X-Phile and there was that whole arc at the start of season 3 where M
Margaret Boling
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Graham R
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I had heard about the role the Navajo played in WWII, setting up codes using their language to communicate orders and plans that stymied the Japanese, but I knew little else about their contributions. This book was informational and eye-opening to me. Although a bit dry and fact-driven, it was still a good read, delivering good information about a topic that has been continually overlooked.
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A perfect book that not only describes the Ned's life himself, but also describes many of the war tactics that the Japanese had used and the importance of the Navajo code talkers, which gave me more information on how the war between the Americans and the Japanese were fought.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cameron Van Sant
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I learned something new today. I knew about residential schools in Canada and I guess if I had thought about it I would have realized that it's very possible they could be in other places, but I didn't realize how bad it was before World War 2 even. This is a fictionalized version of a true story which helps explain the events but doesn't go into the same detail as a non-fiction telling meaning that the horror and stark contrast to how the world is for the most part now was muted a little bit. I ...more
Emily O
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Here is another book by an award-winning children's author, that must be considered a book for everyone. Although the book is fully accessible to students who are upper middle school or high school students, this book is also an engaging, informative, and worthwhile book for adults as well. By focusing on one main (fictional) character and following his way through World War II in the Pacific Ocean, the enormity of the conflict is condensed to a size that is manageable for a novel. When consider ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I have been wanting to read a book about the code talkers, but the ones I saw seemed to have too much traditional history for me - people, dates, facts. I need story. This one has that. It is a good way for me to learn history, as I tend to be turned off by traditional histories. It isn't perfect, but it held my interest and was informative.
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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
“Strong words outlast the paper they are written upon. ” 50 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.” 22 likes
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