I'm not a fan of reading about war, but the appeal of books set in areas of conflict have undeniable appeal to a huge number of middle school boys. Often, they want to read nothing else, so I am always on the lookout for such books. I was VERY pleased to hear that some John Wilson titles are being republished.
Wilson, John. And in the Morning
October 17th 2014 by Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd.
(first published November 8th 2002)
Paperback received from Lynn Duncan at Heritage House Publishing
I was very pleased to hear from this publisher that they are reissuing some of Wilson's work, and glad that there will be a whole Fields of Conflict series coming out, although I don't have any more information than that. I reviewed this title six years ago, and I know that my library copy is in tatters.
That would be my only complaint about Wilson's books-- they are frequently only available in Canada, and often in paperback. Heritage House is issuing e books, too, so if you have readers who would benefit from those, they can be obtained. Wilson's titles are so heavily used, though, that I really want dust jacketed hard backs!
Wilson, John. Wings of War.
June 24th 2014 by Doubleday Canada
To taunt everyone further, this is a title I would love to have, but again, it's only available in paperback. All my war mongering boys would love this:
"Edward Simpson's uncle builds airplanes in his barn. In exchange for help, he teaches Edward to fly, but as the boy's passion for flight grows, the world is descending into the chaos and horror of the First World War.
Edward finds his dreams of becoming a pilot now impossible to ignore. Despite his mother's protests, he heads to England and joins the Royal Flying Corps.
Edward soon discovers that his love of lying is not enough as he battles for his life in the skies over France. As he learns how to survive, he finds his friendships and beliefs tested in ways he couldn't have imagined.
Timed to coincide with the centenary of World War One, this is a skillful and gripping story of one boy's coming of age in the most extraordinary of circumstances. " From Goodreads.com
Finally, one that will be available in the US, although most likely in paper-over-board.
Lynch, Chris. Alive and Kicking (WWII Book #3)
January 27th 2015 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Theo comes homes on compassionate leave after the events of Dead in the Water, even though he doesn't believe that Hank is dead, just missing. He's grieving, his family is grieving, and he can't get back to his unit in Europe fast enough. He's a gunner in a B-24 aircraft that is sent on missions to blow up German train depots, factories and other key locations. The crew of The Batboy fly a lot of successful missions, but still sustain some casualties. Theo maintains that Hank is missing, and writes entries in his journal to his brother.
Strengths: Lots of details about different kinds of American planes and the German planes they are fighting, and details about what gunners where, what the inside of the planes are like, etc. Theo sees a lot of action. There is less baseball in this book, since he refuses to play until he can throw to Hank again.
Weaknesses: The book starts out really slowly, with all of the grieving in Theo's house. While I appreciate that Lynch is trying to show how horrible war is, and how much it devastates families, he shouldn't then put in this sort of thought from Theo : "I have to kill people. I have to try my hardest and kill as many of those people as I can manage. I understand, that they are aso trying to kill me. People I have never met want to kill me." Well, yes. But doesn't he make the connection that when he kills that German pilot, he's inflicting the same kind of grief on that pilot's family as has been inflicted on his own? Surviving, yes. Killing others? Maybe not.
What I really think: I really think that as long as we, as a country, participate actively in armed combat, we really don't value human life. And, as I say all the time, people die every day. It is unrealistic for people to spend so much time grieving, and it is certainly boring to read about. It's boring to LIVE with grief; no one needs to read about it as well.