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Mazer, Harry.
New York : Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2001.
IL 5-8, RL 8.5
ISBN 0689841612

(3 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

It's December 1940 and 15 year old Adam has just moved to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where his father is a lieutenant on the battleship Arizona.  Needless to say, there's no snow for Christmas here in Hawaii and making friends in another new town can be hard, especially when your father forbids you to associate with anyone who's Japanese.  Disregarding his father's orders, Adam sneaks out of the house for an early morning fishing trip with his Japanese friend.  His is looking across the harbor at his father's ship when his attention is drawn to the sky.  "Just then he became aware of the whine of planes in the air.  He looked up.  High overhead, dozens of planes flew in formation approaching in every direction.  Some planes were coming in low over the water.  It must be some kind of military exercise, Adam thought.  A war game."  When war comes to your home it can take only a few moments for everything in your life to change -- the way you feel about your friends, your family, yourself and your country. A Boy At War is a non-stop story that has plenty of action but leaves you thinking, what would YOU do in Adam's place and how would YOU feel?  Don't miss it!  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #2

It’s a sunny morning in early December. You’re fishing with your buddies in Pearl Harbor . Suddenly there are planes and bombs and guns! You don’t know what to do. You know your father is an officer on the U.S.S. Arizona there in the harbor. What has happened to him? What is happening to you? As the days pass after December 7, 1941, Adam must come to terms with his Japanese-American friends, his father’s possible death and his place in this new and terrible world.

Prepared by: Becky James for The South Carolina Children's Book Award nominees 2005

Booktalk #3

                Teenaged Adam Pelko just moved with his family to Honolulu, Hawaii, where his Dad is a Naval Lieutenant stationed on the USS Arizona. You’d think Adam would enjoy living in “Paradise”, but his Dad is very strict. Early one sunny December morning, Adam sneaks off with his buddies to go fishing in the harbor. Imagine their horror when they hear a whirring sound and look up to see Japanese fighter planes overhead. Soon the bombs are falling on the on the battleships in Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona, with Adam’s Dad on board.
                    “They rowed hard, away from the battleships and the bombs. Water sprayed over them. The rowboat pitched one way and then the other. Then, before his eyes, the Arizona lifted up out of the water. That enormous battleship bounced up in the air like a rubber ball and split apart. Fire burst out of the ship. A geyser of water shot into the air and came crashing down. Adam was almost thrown out of the rowboat. He clung to the seat as it swung around. He saw blue skies and the glittering city. The boat swung back again, and he saw black clouds, and the Arizona, his father's ship, sinking beneath the water.”
                    The boys are stunned and one is hurt. This looks like a war movie…not real life. But as Adam watches the USS Arizona sink, he realizes this isn't make-believe…it’s real. The boys make their way back to the base, which has erupted into total chaos. Adam will never forget December 7, 1941 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He left that morning with a fishing pole and came home that night carrying a gun. Over the next few days Adam desperately searches for answers…about his father, his friends, attitudes toward his Japanese friends, and the escalating World War. Will he find any answers? Find out in A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer.  (Patricia R. Jansen,, Graduate Student at University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science)

SUBJECTS: Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941 -- Fiction.
                        World War, 1939-1945 -- Causes -- Fiction.
                        Hawaii -- History -- 1900-1959 -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.


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