“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” ~C.S. Lewis
A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer. Simon & Schuster, c. 2002
Reading Level: 530L
Synopsis: Adam is a young teen living in Hawaii with his family in 1941. His father is in the Navy and Adam enjoys hearing his father’s tales of battle. On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor is bombed and life changes for Adam. Coincidentally he was on base with his friends when the bombs hit. Adam describes many gruesome and horrifying scenes, including the bombing of his father’s ship, the U.S.S. Arizona. What follows is a story of Adam’s journey to find his father and adapt to a new America.
Rationale for Use: Great use of historical information. The book includes well-developed characters and interesting relationships between characters.
Content Area Connections: World War II, Pearl Harbor
Possible Problems or Concerns: Some disturbing, violent descriptions of the bombing and its aftermath.