Monday, January 02, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Seiple, Samantha. Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion.
One of the things that the US government didn't want anyone to know was that Alaska had been attacked. The Japanese were trying to distract US intelligence from realizing that Midway was going to be attacked, and so took control of areas of the Aleutian islands. This book covers a huge number of aspects of this occurrence, ranging from the cryptographers who were following what the Japanese were doing, to residents of the village of Attu who were made prisoners of war and shipped to Japan, where many of them died, to members of a military weather unit stationed in Alaska who were also captured. In addition, there was a lengthy battle at Attu that was the most deadly hand-to-hand combat in the entire war; 549 US troops were killed (out of 15,000), and only 29 of the 2680 Japanese survived because the generals ordered a mass suicide, and the Japanese detonated hand grenades while holding them against their chests. All documents about these events were classified for many years, although there were some reparations made in the 1980s for the citizens of Attu.
Strengths: Wow. The middle school boys will LOVE this one. Already had my number one WWII reader request this from the public library.It reads like a fact-filled novel, and there are enough gruesome details as well as espionage and survival stories that this will never be on the shelf.
Weaknesses: The prose seemed a bit wooden to me, and I don't usually notice that.

Bodden, Valerie. Fighter Jets.
ARC from Baker and Taylor; published by Creative Education.
This is one of the Built for Battle series on military equipment that also includes aircraft carriers, armored vehicles, helicopters, and several others. This was very short (24 pages) and contained rudimentary information about how jets operate and are used. There is a glossary in the back, and ample pictures. While these would get checked out in my middle school, they are more suited to the youngest war mongers, probably from first to third grade. I was rather amused by the ARC-- it consisted of the sewn together pages from the inside of the book, and the dust jacket!

There's a new Nonfiction Monday page by Ms. Suen, and today's roundup is hosted at Great Kid Books.

Middle Grade Monday can be found at Shannon Whitney Messenger's blog


  1. Anonymous8:37 AM EST

    Thanks for this round up! One of my goals this year is to read more non-fiction. For the read-a-thon I read Blizzard of Glass by Sally M. Walker. Oh my. Got the ARC from librarian friend-she raved about it. I can see why. The author's ability to weave the human story in with the facts was pretty darn remarkable.

    P.s.I so hear you on the blog ahead thing--as I sit here and type like a mad woman who has to be out the door with her dripping wet hair in twenty mins, lol.

  2. I would have to confess that I usually pass over this books whenever I visit the library - but your review has intrigued me. Would probably check the book out for myself. You had me at "Wow." :) Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Now here's a piece of hiostory I knew nothing about! Thanks for sharing this, my 6th. grade boys (as you predicted) will love this one!

  4. I have so many middle school boys hungry for WWII books, thanks for the review. I've added it to my to-order list. Do you have any fiction titles off the top of your head for middle grade boys and WWII or the Vietnam War, for that matter?

  5. I've always known that Alaska was in the war, but also have heard little about it. Now I know that is partly because the government kept it a secret. Wow.

  6. This looks like such a fascinating read. Thanks for the review and for stopping by my blog.

  7. I bought a copy of THE GHOSTS IN THE FOG. It sounds fantastic! Already have a list of students interested in reading it. Unfortunately, that means I'll have to wait. :( Oh, the sacrifices we make to get kids reading. :)