Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fiction Wednesday - A review of I survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941


In just a few days it will be the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When I moved to the United States in 1991, I didn't really know much about this event. Since then I have read a number of books for both adults and young people that describe what took place in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Today's book describes the events of that fateful day through the eyes of a boy, and it also looks at what took place after the attack was over.

Lauren Tarshis
Historical Fiction
For ages 8 to 10
Scholastic, 2011, 978-0-545-20698-3
Not long ago, Danny came to live on the lush and beautiful tropical island of Oahu, and now all he wants to do is to go back to New York City, which is where he used to live. Though his apartment was in a dirty, crowded, ugly, and sometimes dangerous neighborhood in the city, it was his home and his misses it. More than anything he misses Finn, his best friend. Danny’s mother decided that they had to move after Finn had an accident when he and Danny were exploring an abandoned building. She wants her son to have a better life in a new place, but all he wants it to have his old life back, which is why Danny plans on stowing away on a ship.
   Danny is just about to start packing when he hears a horrible squeal and a scream coming from his back yard. When he goes to investigate, he finds a little boy, Aki, who is holding a baby pig. Aki offers to show Danny his “puppy,” which is when the piglet’s mother arrives on the scene. Danny is just able to get Aki out of the way before he is injured by the furious wild boar.
   Danny and Aki go to Aki’s house where the little boy’s mother invites Danny to lunch. She tells Danny that his mother is “lucky to have a boy like you.” The next morning, on December 7th 1941, Danny has a hard time motivating himself to get onto a ship that is bound for San Francisco/ He keeps thinking about how his mother will feel if he abandons her.
   Then Japanese airplanes start to bomb Pearl Harbor and Danny forgets all about trying to get onto that ship. Hickman Field, where his mother works as a nurse, gets hit and Danny runs there to find out if his mother is all right. Suddenly Danny’s dreams of going back to New York City seem ridiculous, and he focuses of surviving and getting to his mother.
   In this excellent I Survived title we see what it might have been like to be in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed in 1941 through the eyes of a young boy. We see how Danny is changed by the experience, and how he learns to have a new appreciation for the life that he has.
   This is one in a series of historical fiction titles.

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