QUIET HERO by S.D. Nelson


The Ira Hayes Story
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10
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Object of a hit song, a 1961 film and studies for adults, but not a separate profile for younger readers, Ira Hayes was less a “true American hero,” as Nelson argues, than a tragic figure incapable of handling the fame that was thrust upon him. A shy, lonely lad raised on Arizona’s Gila River Indian Reservation, Hayes found his place serving as “an honorable warrior” in the Pacific battlefield and was one of the WWII marines captured in the famous Iwo Jima photograph. He returned to the States a celebrity, took to drink to help deal with his feelings of isolation and died an alcoholic less than ten years later. Nelson tells the tale twice—once in simple language, accompanying dappled acrylic views of a bronze-skinned lad with downcast eyes, posing in and out of uniform, and again at the end in smaller type, with photos and more background detail. Hayes’s life adds yet another sad chapter to the history of this country’s treatment of Native Americans, but other than his courage as a soldier, this gives children no particular reason to admire, or even care particularly, about him. (source list) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-58430-263-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Lee & Low
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2006


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