CODE TALKER

A NOVEL ABOUT THE NAVAJO MARINES OF WORLD WAR TWO

Sixteen-year-old Ned Begay detested life in the Navajo mission school where he was sent. There, “anything that belonged to the Navajo way was bad, and our Navajo language was the worst.” However, in one of the greatest ironies in American history, when WWII broke out, Navajos—victims of the US Army effort to destroy them in the 1860s and the harshness of the mission schools in the 20th century—were recruited by the Marine Corps to use their native language to create an unbreakable code. Navajo is one of the hardest of all American Indian languages to learn, and only Navajos can speak it with complete fluency. So, Ned Begay joined a select group of Navajo code talkers to create one code the Japanese couldn’t break. Telling his story to his grandchildren, Ned relates his experiences in school, military training, and across the Pacific, on Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. With its multicultural themes and well-told WWII history, this will appeal to a wide audience. (author’s note, bibliography) (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8037-2921-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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THE BOOK THIEF

When Death tells a story, you pay attention. Liesel Meminger is a young girl growing up outside of Munich in Nazi Germany, and Death tells her story as “an attempt—a flying jump of an attempt—to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.” When her foster father helps her learn to read and she discovers the power of words, Liesel begins stealing books from Nazi book burnings and the mayor’s wife’s library. As she becomes a better reader, she becomes a writer, writing a book about her life in such a miserable time. Liesel’s experiences move Death to say, “I am haunted by humans.” How could the human race be “so ugly and so glorious” at the same time? This big, expansive novel is a leisurely working out of fate, of seemingly chance encounters and events that ultimately touch, like dominoes as they collide. The writing is elegant, philosophical and moving. Even at its length, it’s a work to read slowly and savor. Beautiful and important. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: March 14, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83100-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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