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WHERE HEROES HIDE by Helen Recorvits


by Helen Recorvits

Pub Date: May 9th, 2002
ISBN: 0-374-33057-3
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Ten-year-old Junior’s summer vacation promises to be as quiet as American suburbia was in 1956. He’s trying to save money for a bike while enjoying outings with his friends, and hoping that his father will stay in a good mood. Junior’s father is a WWII veteran who is carrying the unresolved burden of a traumatic wartime experience. He vents his anger against one of his son’s friends who has polio by forbidding his son to play with him. Never mind that Junior has had his vaccine and that the polio is no longer contagious. When he comes home early from work one day and finds the boys together in the backyard, his anger escalates into violence. Only when Junior accidentally uncovers a box with his father’s war mementos, including a Silver Star, does Dad begin to talk about the death of a close friend in a fiery plane crash. It takes a fire in the town and Dad’s dramatic rescue of a boy trapped on a second-floor porch to cure the post-traumatic stress disorder. It is difficult to accept that this father is so violently intolerant of polio and is able to undergo so quick a cure for his wartime stress. There have not been children’s stories dealing with this degree of PTSD in WWII vets. Perhaps another one will be more successful. (Fiction. 9-11)