Sue Leatherman's Reviews > On The Wings of Heroes

On The Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck
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Davy Bowman remembers, "Nobody was a stranger before the war."

The Illinois neighborhood rang with the sounds of children playing hide-and-seek, of neighbors sharing stories on their front porch, and of laughter from the delights of successful Halloween antics. Davy Bowman's world is happy and safe because of his heroes, his Dad and his older brother Bill, who always seemed to find time to do things with Davy.

Pearl Harbor is bombed and Davy's world changes. His Dad becomes the local air raid warden and Bill goes off to become a B-17 bombardier, flying missions over Germany. There are air raid drills and endless scrap drives. New kids enroll in Davy's school, "eight-to-five orphans," whose mothers work at the local war plants. Everything is rationed, but the whole community pitches in to do their part for the war effort.

Davy still has his heroes to depend upon but soon he begins to discover that in his neighborhood there are other heroes and during the next few years he learns what sacrifice and courage really means.

In "On the Wings of Heroes," Newberry Medal-winning author Richard Peck's easy-going pace and sly humor captures the sense of community in Middle America before and during World War II. Reading it stirred up millions of memories of my own childhood neighbors and escapades and also helped me to gain a deeper understanding of what my parents and older siblings had to endure during the war.

It is an outstanding example of well written historical fiction that captures the heart and soul of families during war times, not only the wars of the past, but also the wars of the present. I highly recommend this book as a useful tool for teachers and counselors. I sincerely hope that grandparents and grandchildren, fathers and sons will also share this book. It is the beginning of discussion, of understanding, and perhaps even healing.

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