January 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Walter Dean Myers Leads the Charge to War │JLG’s On the Radar Teen

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John F. Kennedy said, “Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” Learning about our history can prevent atrocities from happening again. Veteran writers tackle the impact of war in the following young adult books selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild.

LASKY, Kathryn. The Extra. Candlewick. 2013. ISBN 9780763639723. JLG The ExtraLevel: HH : History – High School (Grades 10 & Up).

The Jewish people were not the only ones imprisoned in World War II concentration camps. Scores of Romani (or Gypsies) were captured, and many were turned into film slaves. Lilo and Django are extras in a Hitler-produced film. Though they don’t build camps or dig ditches, they are kept in barns and pens, fed little, and under dressed for the cold winter months. Yet their servitude keeps them alive as they work to be part of a close-up shot, which would make them critical to the project—extras can be replaced. Being a horseback stand-in secures Lilo’s place, but the horrors of war drive her to escape. Can she hide out long enough for the war to end? Lasky’s fictional account of the victimization of the Romani is eye-opening.

MYERS, Walter Dean. Invasion. Scholastic. 2013. ISBN 9780545384285. JLG Level: HH : History – High School (Grades 10 & Up).

It’s May 1944, off the coast of Normandy Beach, and Woody Wedgewood fights with the Army’s 29th Infantry. These soldiers will be the second wave that crosses the beach in one of the bloodiest clashes of World War II. Facing the enemy without even seeing them is more frightening than these young recruits ever imagined. Death surrounds them and returning safe at home seems to be a dream. In between battles, Woody writes home to his mom and his girl. “I’d sure like to be home reading it,” [says Woody]. “I don’t think the people back home could combine the images. You know, how pretty all of this countryside is and then all the killing.” The horrors of war will make readers want to look away, while hope for the characters’ safety will keep them glued to the pages.

SANDLER, Martin W. Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II. Walker. 2013. ISBN 9780802722782. JLG Level: HH : History – High School (Grades 10 & Up).

ImprisonedAfter the bombing of Pearl Harbor, paranoia quickly mounted against Japanese American citizens. “Their racial characteristics are such that we cannot understand or trust even the citizen Japanese,” said Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. On February 10, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, causing the evacuation of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. In a matter of weeks, they would be shipped to internment camps for the duration of the war. Leaving their old lives and possessions behind, these families gathered their dignity and left under minimal protest. Kept a secret for thirty years, the harsh conditions were finally revealed in photographs taken by acclaimed artists such as Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. Sandler’s narrative of a tragic time in American history is punctuated with primary documents and extensive back matter.

For audio/video versions of these booktalks, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com.

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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

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