Race Against Death: The Greatest POW Rescue of World War II

Scholastic/Focus. Apr. 2023. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781338746167.
Gr 4-6–Told through oral histories, letters, and firsthand written accounts, the rescue of World War II prisoners of war from the Cabanatuan Camp in the Philippines is a harrowing story of unimaginable hardship, courage, and ingenuity. Beginning with the attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1942, Hopkinson guides readers through the events that lead to tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers and civilians being forced on a 65-mile trek known as the Bataan Death March. Once the survivors arrive at their final destination of Cabanatuan, readers are exposed to the realities of life as prisoners of war. A generous number of black-and-white photographs and maps provide engaging visual aids that assist in bringing this extraordinary account to life. A bibliography is included and extra resources, including links to relevant websites, are shared throughout. Hopkinson also works in stories of the predominantly Latino 200th Coast Artillery from New Mexico along with stories of white and Filipino civilians. All other soldiers mentioned are white and Filipino.
VERDICT Told with great detail and through the perspectives of the individuals who lived the experience firsthand, this is an impactful book that will raise awareness and encourage young readers to seek more information; a must-buy for any public or school library.

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