Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sharing Time, Sharing Books

One of the things I’ve learned during the past year is to make double use of time. And to share – with readers and with other authors. So this blog is one that I may repost. But for now it’s all yours. The Class of 2k9 is such a supportive group of good friends now and it’s become habit to share other people’s books while I’m presenting mine. Many librarians have asked me for lists of other books – they love the 2k9 postcard with it's yummy menu of all kinds of reading. So here I’m going to share some books I recommend that, like my book, speak to the experience of war.

Operation Yes, by Sara Lewis Holmes, Scholastic, 2009. I loved this book because, after reading about life on a military base and moving and a mom deployed to Iraq, I ended up feeling like kids have real power over parts of their lives. That they can, with a good plan and a good attitude, impact the world in glorious ways. After reading Operation Yes I imagined kids all over the world posting little green men. (MG)

Heart of a Shepherd, by our own 2k9 Rosanne Perry, Random House, 2009. A quiet gem about the impact of war on one ranch kid, his family, and his community when almost all the adult men in his small Oregon town are called up to the reserves. It speaks as much to family, faith, and finding one's place in the world as it does to war. But if you imagine the wars in the Middle East are far away and are only reminded of them when you see a clip on the news, you need to read this book.(MG)

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick, Balzer and Bray/Harper Collins, 2009. A not so quiet step into the life of a nineteen year old serviceman in Iraq. He has suffered a traumatic brain injury and has lost his memory of an encounter with the enemy which may change his life. A page turner that reads honestly and is enhanced with sensitive details. (YA)

Bull Rider by Suzanne Morgan Williams, Margaret K. McElderry/Simon and Schuster, 2009. Well this is mine so I’ll be short. It’s about a Nevada ranch kid whose older brother suffers a traumatic brain injury and loses an arm in the Iraq War. It’s the story of the brothers – and how they cope with the changes war brings to their lives. (Tween)

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, Penguin Books, 2007. This best seller doesn't need my recommendation but it's a book I give to friends. A look at one man's experience creating and building schools in what was to become a war zone on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. There is a "young readers edition" from Turtleback. (nonfiction, Adult/YA)

On my nightstand that I haven’t finished yet:
Sunrise in Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers, Scholastic 2008 (YA)
100 Days and 99 Nights by Alan Madison, Little Brown, 2008 (young middle grade)
Ghosts of War, The True Story of a 19-Year- Old GI by Ryan Smithson, Collins/Harper Collins, 2009 ( nonfiction, YA/adult)
War Is, Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk About War, edited by Mard Aronson and Patty Campbell, Candlewick Press,2008 (nonfiction, YA/adult)

And Before Iraq and Afghanistan:
Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank ( nonfiction YA)
Red Badge of Courage by Stephan Crane (YA/Adult)
The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemmingway (YA/Adult)
Tistou of the Green Thumbs by Maurice Druon (MG)

This is my list. Do you have books to add? I'd love to have a long annotated list to offer librarians. Thanks, Suzanne Morgan Williams


  1. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brian?

  2. I would second the rec for THE THINGS THEY CARRIED (for high school kids). I taught a Literature of the Holocaust elective some years back (to high school juniors and seniors), and we did SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ by Primo Levi. I'd say that if you were going to read one Holocaust book, this is the one to read, although it's devastating. Of course, there's also NIGHT by Ellie Weisel, which, now that I think more about this, is also a must-read. We did MAUS I and MAUS II by Art Spiegelman with our eighth graders, and it worked very well. (Eighth grade also had a DC trip with a visit to the Holocaust Museum as part of it). All of these books are hard to read but are critical for helping students understand the Holocaust and WWII. I know there are also some books such as NUMBER THE STARS by Lois Lowry, and, of course, Anne Frank's diary, which Susanna already mentioned, for younger readers. Has anyone read ZLATA'S DIARY (not WWII) but supposed to be very good. I haven't read it.

  3. Well, I just HAPPEN to have a WWII book out now...done in scrapbook form. It deals with life on the home front, Japanese Internment, prejudice and nationalism - best for middle school age kids. Has lots of photos, newspaper clippings and 1940s memorabilia. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII SCRAPBOOK:)
    And sounds like I"m going to have to steal PURPLE HEART off my son's nightstand;)

  4. Just finished THE KULAK'S DAUGHTER by Gabrielle Goldstone, about a little girl whose family is sent to a camp under Stalin's rule in the early 30s in Russia - very powerful read. Great for middle grades, 4th through 8th but could easily also be read in high school.
    I know so little Russian history and this was a good intro.
    Highly recommended.

  5. Sorry - the author's name is Gabriele Goldstone - one 'L' not two!