STONE, Tanya Lee. Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers. 160p. appendix. bibliog. chron. notes. photos. reprods. Candlewick. Jan. 2013. Tr $24.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5117-6; ebook $24.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6405-3.
Gr 5 Up–A moving, thoughtful history of the United States military’s first black paratrooper unit. During World War II, African American soldiers were mostly relegated to service and security jobs, generally denied the same training and active-combat positions that were available to their white counterparts. Expertly woven together are two narratives: the large, overarching history of rampant racism in the U.S. military and the smaller, tightly focused account of a group of black soldiers determined to serve their country and demonstrate their value as soldiers. Readers are taken along on the emotional journey with the soldiers as they leapt forward from guard duty at The Parachute School into official paratrooper training, the first of its kind for blacks. They faced multiple setbacks as they encountered discrimination, some justified as “policy” and some that was more personal and insidious. Throughout the book, the courage and strength of these men is evidenced in their tireless quest to be the best at what they do, throwing themselves headlong into sometimes dangerous and terrifying training requirements. The photographs and the design of the book as a whole are a gift to readers. Rich with detail, the pictures not only complement the narrative, but also tell a stirring story of their own, chronicling the triumphs and frustrations of the soldiers as they pursued their dreams. Complete accessibility to a wide range of readers, coupled with expert research and meticulous care, makes this a must-have for any library.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
To read an interview with Tanya Lee Stone, see Jennifer M. Brown’s “A Mission Above and Beyond Them.”