Title: Pure Grit
Genre: Non-Fiction; Survival; War
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Grades: 6th and up
From the publisher:
In the early 1940s, young women enlisted for peacetime duty as U.S. Army nurses. But when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 blasted the United States into World War II, 101 American Army and Navy nurses serving in the Philippines were suddenly treating wounded and dying soldiers while bombs exploded all around them. The women served in jerry-rigged jungle hospitals on the Bataan Peninsula and in underground tunnels on Corregidor Island. Later, when most of them were captured by the Japanese as prisoners of war, they suffered disease and near-starvation for three years. The women cared for one another, maintained discipline, and honored their vocation to nurse anyone in need.
I am always on the lookout for the next great non-fiction book that I can recommend to my students. This new title (which I read an advance copy of over Christmas break) has it all: action, adventure, survival. In addition, this is a thoroughly researched narrative with first-person interviews and accounts throughout. This attention to detail and staying true to the telling of these nurses' personal stories brings the reader right into the action and immediacy of what happened.
Much has been written about the Bataan Death March and the battles in the Philippines and on Corregidor Island during WWII. However, the story of these women and how they survived the three year ordeal is a perspective that is often missing from the history books. Credit to the author for her diligent research and well-written account. The numerous archival photographs add much to the entire reading experience.
I will be recommending this to students and teachers alike, especially our 8th graders who study WWII. An excellent example of narrative non-fiction.