Jackie's Reviews > A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor

A Boy at War by Harry Mazer
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's review
Apr 01, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: children-fiction, historical, wars-wwii
Recommended to Jackie by: Zack J.
Read in April, 2009

A Boy at War is a portrait of American history during those few, horrifying days before and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Adam Pesko, a Navy brat, goes fishing off Pearl Harbor just before the bombs fall. He and his friends, Davi and Martin, are injured, confused, and terrorized. When Davi and Martin are swept away to hospitals, Adam is left to fend for himself and try to make his way back home amidst terror in war-torn streets. Every man for himself is the watchword, and Adam must grow up in a hurry. Finally, he makes it home, to find his home has become a fortress. In the next few days of worry and hope, his mother and sister, along with Adam, struggle to believe that his father is still alive...even though he was stationed on the U.S.S. Arizona.

A seemingly true portrait of the attack on the United States and what it meant for the lives of American citizens, especially those living in Hawaii. It also mentions the horrific way Japanese-Americans were treated and feared. This historical novel would be a good choice for boys who are reluctant readers. Told in short, concise chapters, it doesn't sugar coat the facts of the war and the toll it took on American lives.
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Julie Suzanne I'm a teacher of grade 7, and have often given it to my "reluctant" readers who actually enjoyed our whole-class read, "My Brother Sam is Dead." I've never had any one of those boys actually read it, however. I tried to finally read it, and I couldn't get into it. Now, I feel that I know enough about it to ask the right questions without having to suffer through it. Thank you! (I hope that my reviews, tailored to teachers, can have the same effect for someone...we can't read EVERY book that comes out for young adults.)

I did get one of my higher level readers to read it after I knew it had a lot of war terminilogy in it. He loved it and read the whole series in a week. Now, if I could only get my lower-level readers.

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