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Monday, May 19, 2014

We Remember

In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday, I was given the idea to make a list of my favorite "Fallen Heroes" titles. While compiling the list, I realized that I have many favorite "Soldier Stories" for teens (& tweens).

In fact, I have written on the topic a few times on this blog, including this Favorite 15 post from a few years ago.

But my "favorite" titles are ever-changing as new books are constantly crossing my desk. And I have many favorite soldier/war stories but thought that I would narrow it down to American War Heroes this time.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite American Soldier/War Hero books for teens & tweens:


1) Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the death of NFL star turned Army Ranger hero Pat Tillman. This book will always be included on my list of favorite books, regardless of the topic.

2) Flags of our Fathers by John Bradley. There is an adapted version for younger teens/tweens if you need something slightly shorter, but either version is a look at the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima and became a part of the iconic photograph.

3) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The WWII survival story of Louis Zamperini. The audiobook is phenomenal and would make a perfect listen for summer family road trips! Also, coming to a theater near you in December, 2014.  

4) Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone. A look at the men who made up the Triple Nickles...the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion.

5) Navajo Code Talkers by Nathan Aaseng. There are many books (and movies) about these brave men, but this is the standard that I always come back to. (If you're looking for a fiction story to pair with this, Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac is perfect).

6) Pure Grit by Mary Cronk Farrell. I reviewed this book recently on the blog here.


7) Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. I am a fan of this author and this is an important story about a little recognized group of women who were part of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots).

8) Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Yeah, this book had an American main character so it qualifies for the list! This title (and the author's Code Name Verity) are two books that I require all my friends to read. Amazing books: writing, characters, stories that drawn you in and don't let go. This book is about an American pilot captured and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp.

9) Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt. Always I come back to this book. And recommend it widely to teens and adults alike. I just love this story of two brothers, one a returning soldier, and how they are trying to heal.

10) Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. A new title this year. Nothing less than remarkable.

11) Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie. Another powerful brother story. And one that I never discovered until it made several "best" lists last year. Not sure how it slipped by my radar, but I am glad that I found it.

12 & 13) If you are looking for "series" titles, I have two great recommendations.

Walter Dean Myers writes several companion titles: Fallen Angels (Vietnam); Sunrise over Fallujah (Iraq/Afghanistan); Invasion (WWII).

Chris Lynch has a Vietnam series of four titles, each following one of a group of friends as they enter one branch of the military. You can read them in any order. He just started a WWII series (two titles so far) along the same lines.

Happy Reading!

And when you are celebrating having the day off work or school on Monday, don't forget to thank a soldier!


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